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3 Tips for QA Testing Your Digital Marketing Efforts

3 tips for QA testing your digital effortsSmart marketers know it’s extremely important to QA test all digital marketing efforts. Since the majority of digital marketing is either customer or prospect facing, it’s essential that all your marketing efforts look their best and function properly. We asked our lead quality assurance engineer, Sammy Shaar, for three items all marketers should be sure to check before launching a new campaign.

  1. Functionality

Before anything goes live, make sure everything is functioning correctly. Check all the channels that your audience uses the most and the channels that are the most valuable to the company. For example, when QA testing your forms, make sure the customer conversion flow - or how you are capturing a prospect’s information - is working properly. Repeat the functionality check for any additional processes.

  1. Copy

Be sure to read through all the copy and check for any grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes. All the messaging for your digital marketing efforts should be clear and consistent with your brand. You wouldn’t want to lose leads or turn off prospects because of confusing or incorrect copy.

  1. Experience

Check to be sure that everything is working properly across the board. When QA testing for experience, check that everything is displaying properly across all devices, browsers and email clients. Consistency in experience is important, so ensure that user experience is the same no matter how your prospect or customer interacts with your marketing efforts.

 

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Why Encoding is More Than Shortening

This was written for the Bitly blog by our CEO, Mark Josephson.

What if I told you that links had the power to do more than just direct someone where to go? Now, what if I told you that you could do more than just learn the click count on each of your links, but you could identify who clicked on your shortened links?

And even more so, that your links contained the key to driving your marketing campaigns?

Well, here at Bitly, we don’t talk about just link shortening, we talk about encoding. We decided early on as a company to do more than just take long URLs and turn them into Bitlinks.

Every time you create a Bitlink, we wrap that link with our proprietary code. That powerful code essentially makes the link act like a “tag,” reporting back to you as it is shared across the web.  When you encode, you gather important insights including how that Bitlink performs across social platforms, device information like mobile vs. desktop, geolocation and even offline campaigns. Encoded links are a very powerful tool that provides you with actionable, secure, first-party data.

We recently released an infographic showing marketers all the insights they can gain by encoding with Bitly, you can take a look at it here.

We encode a lot. We encode more than 500 million links each month for our customers: brands, publishers, non-profits, government organizations, educational institutions and of course, our free users.

Every time someone clicks on a link, we call that a decode. At Bitly, we process more than 8 billion decodes every month across every media site, every brand site, every social profile and from nearly every country in the world. That’s a lot of valuable data!

At Bitly, our mission is to empower marketers to make better decisions by providing them actionable insights.  Encoding and decoding give us the ability to gather those insights into audience behavior on the web; insight that we’re committed to bringing to you because at Bitly, that’s what we do. We strive to help everyone fully unleash the power of the link.



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Bitly Adds Tracking and Analytics Vertical to Partner Program

Bitly Certified Partner Badge

We’re excited to introduce a new tracking and analytics vertical within the Bitly Certified Partner Program. As the newest Bitly Certified Partners, SumALL and Simply Measured have committed to integrating with the Bitly platform, which will enable marketers to easily optimize and measure owned, earned and paid campaign performance.

Marketers are already integrating us across their social media tools to gather data for every click on any encoded asset, including click counts for content shared organically or by the marketer, geolocation, referring domains and audience reach. Now, our joint customers with Simply Measured and SumALL have a holistic view of that data to see how their audience, built with Bitly, is improving their social performance metrics (e.g. likes and fans on Facebook, retweets and followers on Twitter) and site performance metrics, such as Omniture, SiteCatalyst/Adobe, and Google Analytics.

"Bitly doesn’t just shorten; we encode assets with proprietary code that empowers marketers to gather detailed insights on audience reach and engagement. That’s crucial for measuring ROI, especially on social, and understanding performance of owned, earned, and paid marketing initiatives" said Jennifer Hanser, our senior director of strategy and partnerships. "We have keen insight into consumers’ interactions with content across channels, platforms, and networks. Our partnerships with companies like Simply Measured and SumALL will prove invaluable for marketers looking to make data-driven decisions.”

Introduced in June 2014, our Bitly Certified Partner Program helps marketers identify the best partners that integrate with us to ensure a consistent and secure experience. Current members of the program include social publishing platforms Adobe Social, Percolate, Buffer, IFTTT and Sprinklr, and brand advocacy platforms Dynamic Signal and EveryoneSocial. As the program expands, we will continue to add new partners across a broad spectrum of verticals within the marketing technology ecosystem.

"The combination of expanded Bitly data and the insights provided by our cross-channel social measurement capabilities gives marketers a clearer picture of campaign performance," said Adam Schoenfeld, CEO and co-founder of Simply Measured. "That’s something that has both sides of this partnership very excited."

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Bitly Adds Adobe Social to Certified Partner Program

We’re thrilled to announce Adobe Social, a core solution of Adobe Marketing Cloud, as our newest Bitly Certified Partner. Through its new, certified status under the Bitly Certified Partner Program, Adobe Social will integrate our link data, security and functionality into its solution offering to help social marketers increase and optimize social engagements.

Adobe Social enables marketers to scale social marketing across their organizations, listen and respond to customer conversations, and connect the dots between social interactions and real business results. The Bitly Certified Partner Program is designed to help marketers identify the best platform partners that integrate seamlessly with Bitly to ensure a consistent and secure experience. The addition of our data to Adobe Social allows businesses to control, measure and optimize the performance of their links.

“The ability to better understand how social interactions increase site-side conversion is an ongoing challenge for social marketers,” said Craig Stoe, director of product management for Adobe Social. “As a Bitly Certified Partner, we can provide Adobe Social customers with a deeper understanding of how their Bitly links are contributing to impressions, traffic, and conversion on digital properties so they can optimize their social content campaigns.”

As a Certified Partner, Adobe Social will receive early access to new functionality, so integration advances as the product evolves.

“Platform partners like Adobe Social help Bitly customers create hundreds of millions of links every month,” said Jennifer Hanser, our senior director of strategy and partnerships here at Bitly. “Bitly and Adobe Social together can empower marketers to more fully understand the impact of their content across marketing channels.”

Additional Bitly Certified Partners include Spredfast, Percolate, Buffer, Sprinklr, Dynamic Signal, IFTTT and EveryoneSocial. Membership in the Bitly Certified Partner Program is subject to application, review and approval. Existing partners and other technology providers can learn more about the certification process by visiting bitly.com/partners. 

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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.