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Introducing Audience Data: the newest feature of Bitly Brand Tools that unlocks the value of social data

This was written for the Bitly blog by Vivin Williams, our VP of Product.

Our mission at Bitly is to empower marketers to make better decisions by providing insight into the connected world. We wake up everyday thinking of ways to help our users amplify their brand and drive deeper engagement with their audiences.

We are excited to launch Audience Data, the newest Bitly Brand Tools feature that provides marketers with a better understanding of the value of their social efforts.

Bitly Audience Data

In addition to the standard social engagement metrics that marketers already track, we now provide a view of the audiences brands are building as a result of social activity, across a brand’s owned and earned efforts.

A brand’s Bitly audience is composed of users who have clicked on the brand’s Bitlinks. This includes links:

  • Shared by the brand, whether it is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, any social platform, the brand’s website, or any other owned and paid media efforts, regardless of whether or not it points to content the brand owns.

  • Shared by other Bitly users anywhere across the internet that point to the brand’s owned content.

Brands can now use their audience to optimize marketing ROI and help tailor the right messages to a brand’s audience at the right time, as that audience moves from prospects to customers to advocates.

So, how can marketers take advantage of Audience Data?

Start encoding with Bitly today. By encoding with Bitly today, marketers are building the robust audience profiles that they can activate through the next set of Bitly tools.

What’s next for Bitly

Smart marketers know that the best marketing requires a deep, well-rounded understanding of a user, and the importance of using social media to reach and grow an audience.

Over the coming weeks, we will be rolling out additional tools for brands and publishers that will enable the ownership of audiences and the delivery of targeted messaging across all channels (Owned, Earned or Paid) and platforms (Social Media, Web or Mobile). By encoding Bitlinks now, marketers ensure they will have a robust audience to target in the future.

If you’re interested in learning more about Bitly Audience Data or how Bitly can help your brand unleash the power of the link, visit bitly.is/BuildingAudience. If you’re an existing Bitly Brand Tools customer, contact your Customer Success manager to learn more.

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5 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

In an age where inboxes are constantly flooded with new messages, it can be a challenge to make sure yours rises to the top. That’s why we asked our Senior Director of Digital Marketing, Laura Maiurano, for 5 dos and don’ts to help you become an email marketing superstar. Laura has been working with marketing automation for the last six years and has helped develop email marketing, lead scoring, lead nurturing programs for both small and large organizations. Here are her guidelines to perfecting your email marketing strategy:

Bitly Audience Data

1) DO: Start with a personalized message
DON’T: Use a generic greeting

Great emails start with a personalized message like “Dear Laura.” If you don’t have a name in your marketing automation database, set a default greeting that’s relevant to your audience. You can even take your personalization a step further and add the customer’s name into the subject line.

Personalization doesn’t just include how you greet your customers - it also pertains to how you sign your emails. Whenever possible, include a real email address that customers can reach out to and a personalized signature with contact information.

2) DO: Include a CTA in each email
DON’T: Include multiple CTAs

Emails should always have a prominent call-to-action that’s relevant to the content the CTA is directing to. If you’re sharing a webinar with your customers, then your CTA should be along the lines of “Watch Webinar.” You can include more than one CTA in the email - Laura’s a fan of using one above and below the fold in an email - as long as they direct to the same content. Don’t include different CTAs that a customer can take through an email campaign - it only ends up confusing the recipient and decreasing the likelihood that the will click through.

3) DO: Track what drives conversions
DON’T: Assume open rate is a good measure of success

Be sure to track what in your emails drives conversions. Always track the open rate, click-through rate and conversion rate, as well as who is converting from prospects to customers and why they converted. While open rate is a good way to measure the effectiveness of a subject line, it’s not necessarily an accurate metric to use when measuring conversions. Click-through rates are a stronger indication of interest.

4) DO: Offer the option to unsubscribe
DON’T: Use a global unsubscribe button

It’s mandatory to include an unsubscribe button in all of your emails but instead of using a global unsubscribe button, which unsubscribes your audience from every email you send, give your audience the option to decide what content they want to receive. This way, you give your prospects the option to opt-out of webinar invites but they can still receive product updates. Subscription management allows you to save a relationship that you might have burned using a global unsubscribe button.  

5) DO: Design all emails to be responsive
DON’T: Have inconsistent design between emails and landing pages

Emails should always be branded and match the look and feel of your overall marketing materials. Responsive design ensures that your well-thought out, branded email design renders well across all devices. Be sure to match your email design to the landing page the CTAs within the email direct to - email designs that match landing pages increase conversion rate.

 

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Updates to Our Privacy Policy

The space we operate in has changed a lot since we last updated our privacy policy three years ago. To make sure our privacy guidelines keep pace with best practices and stay aligned with our business goals, we are updating our privacy policy, taking effect on August 8, 2014.

It’s important to know that we are not changing our fundamental beliefs: we are not selling any Bitly customer data and we are not sharing or linking our data to any personally identifiable information. The changes to our privacy policy allow Bitly to provide companies with useful and actionable audience insights that they can use to more fully optimize their marketing strategy.

The highlights of the updates we made to our privacy policy are:

  • A more expansive explanation of the types of data we collect

  • How the data we collect will be shared and with whom  

  • The privacy policy includes a link to the Consumer Choice opt-out page on our website so that you can manage all of your browser opt out preferences

We are committed to keeping Bitly’s free services available to all users. It’s important to continue to offer the services our users love while still being able to grow as a business.

We also took the opportunity to update our Terms of Service to align with the changes outlined above.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to reach out to support@bitly.com or your customer success manager. Thanks for your time and for using Bitly.

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Why We Hack

We’re getting ready for our next Hack Week, where our engineers take a week between sprint cycles to explore ideas, write code and build projects they might not have time to pursue during a product-focused work week.

We’ve been celebrating Hack Week at Bitly for the past three years and each week, it has proven to be a time for exploration and innovation. Many of our Hack Week projects spark ideas for new features that are later incorporated into the Bitly product, or evolve into tools that help our engineers with their day-to-day responsibilities.

Hack Week has become a staple of Bitly engineering. Here are a few more reasons why we love Hack Week:

1) It gives us time to recharge

Hack Week gives our team the chance to take a break from the 150% they give each sprint and allows everyone to work in a more relaxed environment. By slowing down the pace of the work week, we’re able to unwind so that we’re fully focused and recharged before the next product-focused set of sprints.

2) We have an opportunity to be creative

Hack Week gives our team a chance to be creative and raises a question for our engineers; if you have one week to work on whatever you want, how would you use it? Hack Week serves as an outlet for our engineers to explore all of the ideas they think about during their product work. This Hack Week, we’ve seen projects that focus on monitoring site load time, games with gifs and features that track breaking news utilizing the Bitly Story API.

3) We work with new people

This Hack Week, our engineers divided into randomly selected teams of three. Each team was responsible for coming up with an idea that reflected their collective interests and demo it to the company. As we continue to grow our engineering team, Hack Week gives us a chance to get to know our newest hires. It lets each member of our engineering team work with a new group of people instead of the more defined teams they usually work with.

4) We explore new technologies

Our Hack Week teams were made up of engineers from different backgrounds with different skillsets. When they find a project that piques their collective interests, each person can bring forward their individual strengths while exploring new tools and systems they don’t typically interact with. As a company that values learning and growth, we love the learning opportunities that can present themselves through Hack Week projects.

5) We can dedicate time to our community

We’re constantly working to improve our own systems and make those systems available to our community. Hack Week gives our engineers time to build systems they are proud of that can be potentially open sourced and shared. Hack Week provides a break in product updates so our engineers can take time to give back to the community that helped build us, which is a core part of our engineering culture.

 

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A Day with Bitly

Bitlinks may be short, but Bitly is big. With more than 600 million Bitlinks created each month in nearly every country in the world, there is a lot of power behind this platform. Take a look at what goes on at Bitly every 24 hours in the infographic below. 

 

A Day With Bitly

Interested in harnessing the power of the link for your brand? Click here to learn more about Bitly Brand Tools. 

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5 Ways to Create Quick and Easy Content

Content marketing has grown rapidly in the past year - and it’s not going anywhere. In the age where content reigns king, it can be challenging for marketers to keep up with the demand for fresh content. We spoke with Heather MacLean, CMO of marketing and consulting company TaylorMade Solutions, about five quick and easy ways to create great content.

1) Repurpose your larger pieces of content: Ebooks, case studies and white papers are great sources to repurpose content. Take a look at your existing materials and see if they can be used to create a series of blog posts, top 10 lists, or pull quotes to use on social media channels. To make it even easier, start to think about how you want to repurpose these larger projects in their planning stages. An ebook can easily be split up into a series of blog posts, highlighting some of the main takeaways while also serving as early promotion for your larger content projects.

2) Revisit your evergreen pieces: Your evergreen content is a great source for a quick and easy content win. Evergreen content is always relevant and beneficial to your community and can benefit your customers who signed up last year or your prospects currently in the sales funnel. Evergreen content attracts continuous attention on its own but as your community grows, there’s a greater chance they might not have seen it. By revisiting and repurposing your content, you continue to support your customers with a valuable resource without having to start from the research and planning stages.

3) Look for opportunities to “newsjack”: Pay attention to breaking news within your industry. There are always opportunities to “newsjack,” or capitalize on recent events in your space. Use breaking news to create posts for your blog or social media campaigns. Newsjacking can be as easy as curating this news for your community or recapping the news and offering an analysis on it. Not only is this an easy content win, but it also can help build your credibility in the industry and your reputation as a thought leader.

4) Use your personal experiences: We can learn from our past mistakes and chances are, your customers or community can learn from them too. Take your own experiences and identify what worked or didn’t work while trying to solve a problem. Offering advice from your experience can position you as a resource while helping your audience improve upon what they’re doing.

5) Reach out to your community: Identify and reach out to your brand advocates for possible contribution opportunities. Brand advocates are one of the strongest resources a marketer can have because they see and communicate the value of your product or service on their own. Although marketing is evolving, the importance of the customer is only continuing to grow. The relationship between the customer and the brand set quality brands apart from mediocre ones. Acknowledging your brand advocates for their support and offering them opportunities to contribute not only builds your relationships with the community, but adds another perspective to your content pieces.

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Introducing 2-Step Verification for All Users

The post was written for the Bitly Blog by Dan Touchette, our director of product management. 

At Bitly, we’re dedicated to protecting the security of our free users and our Bitly Brand Tools customers. This dedication is the reason why we’re excited to announce the launch of 2-Step Verification as an enhanced security feature. We’ll be joining companies like Google, Twitter, Dropbox and Microsoft, among others, who have introduced 2-Step Verification for their users.

2-Step Verification adds an additional layer of protection to your Bitly account by sending and requesting a one-time security code upon login. With 2-Step Verification enabled, your account cannot be accessed unless someone knows your username, password and has control over your mobile phone.

Interested in setting up 2-Step Verification?

You can find the option to set up 2-Step Verification on the Settings/Security tab.

1) Click the “Enable” link under the 2-Step Verification header

2) Enter the phone number you would like to receive your security codes

3) Upon receiving the security code, enter the code to verify your phone number

If you have any problems accessing your account, you can reach out to your Customer Success manager or to support@bitly.com to disable 2-Step Verification.

When disabling 2-Step Verification, you will be asked to prove you have ownership over the account. For Bitly Brand Tools customers, you can see which sub accounts under your master account have enabled this extra security feature.

As a company committed to constantly improving the security of our products and our service, we’re thrilled to be able to offer this functionality to better help our users and customers.

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Bitly Launches Comprehensive Partner Certification Initiative

We’re thrilled to announce the Bitly Certified Partner Program, a new initiative that highlights platforms that integrate Bitly data and functionality while improving security to better help our customers control, measure and optimize the performance of their links.

The Bitly Certified Partner Program is designed to help marketers identify the best platforms that integrate with Bitly to ensure a consistent and secure experience. We’re excited to announce Buffer, Dynamic Signal, EveryoneSocial, IFTTT, Percolate, Spredfast and Sprinklr as our inaugural partners.

Bitly Certified Partners

“Our clients love what Bitly does for their business and are consistently asking us for recommendations on strategic marketing solutions that integrate well with Bitly,” said Mark Josephson, our CEO. “We created the Bitly Certified Partner Program to ensure that our joint customers can safely and comfortably extend the value of their links and audience across all of their owned, earned and paid channels.”

“We’re excited to be an official Bitly Certified Partner. Beyond the obvious advantages of a massive data set and enterprise-grade link analytics, they make integration a breeze with excellent documentation and bullet-proof reliability,” said Noah Brier, CEO at Percolate.

Joining us to lead the Bitly Certified Partner Program is Jennifer Hanser, our senior director of strategy and partnerships. Jennifer will lead business development as well as other strategic initiatives in data licensing and platform partnerships.

Jennifer has spent her career working with industry and category-defining brands to leverage their assets and craft accretive partnerships. She brings more than a decade of experience in digital strategy, licensing and product development from roles at AOL, MLB Advanced Media and FIFA. Most recently, Jennifer was at SONY Music Entertainment, where she was responsible for precedent setting deal activity in the music industry.

The benefits of becoming a Bitly Certified Partner include participation in Bitly sales and marketing programs, as well as Bitly events, and early access to new Bitly products, services and more.

Interested in joining our new program? Existing partners and other technology providers can learn more about the certification process by visiting bitly.com/partners

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Unleash the power of Custom Bitlinks

We have recently rolled out some changes to Custom Bitlinks, which allow you to customize the back-half of your Bitlinks to extend your branding, tailor your messaging and increase engagement. We understand how valuable this feature is to our users, so we’ve redesigned this feature to make it even easier to create and share Custom Bitlinks.

Since rolling out the change, we’ve seen a 70% increase in the number of Custom Bitlinks created and a significant increase in the number of Custom Bitlinks being created per Bitly account.

Learn how to take advantage of this feature to start creating your own Custom Bitlinks! 

Custom Bitlinks

We’ve had customers and free users capitalize on the ability to customize their Bitlinks to announce deals, incentivize their links with calls-to-action and educate their audience about the content behind the Bitlink. If you’re a Bitly Brand Tools customer, you have your own unique namespace. This means you can use any word to create your Custom Bitlinks.

When you pair Custom Bitlinks with your Branded Short Domain, you have an unlimited number of branded link options for shortening and sharing. With Bitly Brand Tools, Custom Bitlinks are completely customizable: you can redirect your Bitlink to a new long URL or change the keyword associated with your Bitlink. Paired together, these powerful tools allow companies to extend their branding to the entire shortlink.

As a company that is committed to helping everyone unleash the power of the link, we will continue to unveil new product updates dedicated to improving Bitly for all our users. Stay tuned!

Interested in learning more about Branded Short Domains, Custom Bitlinks and Bitly Brand Tools? Click here to learn more.