On Friday, July 11, LeBron James announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers with this tweet:
— LeBron James (@KingJames)July 11, 2014
Since #KingJames made his announcement on Friday, we’ve seen an incredible amount of traffic around this Bitlink. Here are some of the key insights we saw:
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.
Interested in harnessing the power of the link for your brand? Click here to learn more about Bitly Brand Tools.
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.
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 email@example.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.
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.
“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.
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!
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.
Identifying trends in web design is like shooting at a moving target. Technology and audience behavior on the web continue to evolve, forcing the best practices in design to change as well. As we continue to improve the Bitly experience for all of our users, we started thinking about the importance of design in product development and in marketing.
We sat down with John Ashenden, founder of H1 Studios, to discuss trends in web design. Here are some of the key takeaways:
Minimalist design and longform sites will continue to be popular - As screens have become sharper and consumers have a better understanding of interfaces, designers have the freedom to simplify and experiment with design. One result of this is flat or minimalist design, where designers strip out everything unnecessary and focus on key facets that will elevate the message and the content. As technology evolves and devices have sharper screens, users have a greater appreciation for higher resolution assets. Minimalist design incorporates simple vector assets, which scale and shrink nicely, compared to clunky bitmap images or heavy gradients, shadows and other complex styling. Since users are more educated, designers have more freedom in their design. As mobile web usage continues to grow, longform sites grew in popularity because of how easy it is to navigate using a thumb rather than a mouse (but more on that later).
- It’s all about the message - Marketers should always focus on content and the message, allowing the design to compliment rather than compete. It’s important to understand that the message and the design are as much unrelated as they are intertwined in their objectives. With the minimalist design approach, the focus of the site isn’t the animation or the imagery - it’s the message. In the creative community, the priority is always how to highlight the message in the best way possible. In the future, we’ll continue to see an emphasis on content and a continued simplification of design so it will feel clean, sharp and out of the way. Good design gets out of the way and elevates the dialogue.
Marketers must measure - If your business is dependent on your product, make sure you have great metrics in place when introducing a new design or message. People are naturally wary of change and rolling a change out overnight can cause serious backlash, but more importantly, it opens a dialogue for discussion. If you can track how people are interacting with your website and that those measurements have improved over time, you can justify the new design and help your team understand and appreciate the changes.
Mobile has permanently changed design - The surge in popularity of longform website design is partially due to mobile. Mobile web users found it challenging to deal with traditional web navigation on their devices. It feels more natural to the mobile web user to scroll rather that jump tabs to navigate through a website. If you can design a site that doesn’t require a horizontal navigation, you can allow the viewer to see everything by using their thumb. Longform websites translate nicely into the responsive structure.
As audiences become more tech-savvy, designers will have more freedom and room to experiment with their work. Understanding these different design trends and elements can help marketers work hand-in-hand with their design teams to create strong, memorable, design and messaging.
John Ashenden (@ashenden) is the founder of H1 Studios, a web and mobile design, branding and development studio in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2012, H1 Studios has worked with a number of leading companies and growing startups to create unique and engaging digital experiences. Learn more about H1 Studios by visiting their website.
We’re thrilled to announce two new additions to our leadership team; Jason Swetnam as our first Vice President of Sales and Vivin Williams as our new Vice President of Product. We’re confident that Jason and Vivin, with their leading industry experience, will play an integral role as we continue to build products to help users, marketers and developers make better decisions in the connected world.
Jason, who brings more than 15 years of SaaS sales experience to our team, is joining us from Oracle, where he served as Regional Sales Vice President. During his time at Oracle, which he joined through its acquisition of Eloqua, Jason managed enterprise sales teams selling Oracle’s Marketing Cloud Solutions. At Bitly, Jason will oversee our corporate and enterprise sales teams, as well as our customer success team, to drive increased adoption of Bitly products.
Vivin, with his rich experience in analytics, data monetization and advanced media targeting, will be leading our product team. Vivin most recently worked at ShareThis, a leading social sharing platform for publishers, developers and brands, where he built the entire monetization and analytics platform. Prior to his time at ShareThis, Vivin worked at Yahoo, where he built their end-to-end audience analytics platform.
“Marketers face an endless number of options and Bitly is the one constant across their entire marketing suite,” said Mark Josephson, our CEO. “Jason and Vivin understand our mission as a company and have a proven record of successfully overseeing large strategic initiatives. We’re excited to have them as part of the team.”
Everyone has a passion in life. For our CEO, Mark Josephson, that passion is building teams and companies. Mark has spent the last 20 years as an entrepreneur or working with entrepreneurs at technology companies throughout NYC, but he began his career in marketing. He saw firsthand the growth opportunities startup companies offered and was immediately captivated by these fast-paced companies emerging to solve a problem.
In an interview with Eric Siu, CEO at Single Grain and creator of Growth Everywhere, Mark discussed the future of marketing, how his background in marketing has helped his career and what marketers need to pay attention to in order to grow their businesses.
Mark stands behind five key ideas for marketers to grow their business:
1) Know your value
In order to succeed, you must understand your value proposition. When you understand the needs of your customers and what problems you solve for them, it’s easy to communicate why your product is great. By understanding product value, you drive vision, product and momentum. In order to scale and grow, you need to know and communicate your value.
2) Consistency is key
Speak with one voice, understand what you do well and say it consistently. As marketers, we understand how important it is to make every word count. Understanding the value of clear, consistent messaging helps build and protect the integrity of your brand as well as the integrity of your vision, values and company goals.
3) Align yourself with the right people
Align yourself with the goals of the business, the investors and the management teams. Use those goals to build your strategy and prioritize what initiatives your company should focus on. In order to be a strong business, you need to position yourself to do well as your customers do well. The same idea applies for when you’re working with third parties - find people who do better as you do better. The best businesses are aligned with the success of their customers.
4) Master ROI
It is a strategic and moral imperative for every marketer to understand ROI. Understanding page views, impressions, engagement is all irrelevant if you can’t connect it to a metric. In order to scale your business, you need to understand and measure your successes so each success can be repeated. It’s not enough to understand reach and engagement if you don’t understand what it does for your business. The companies and brands that will win in the future are the ones that spend the resources on impacting your business.
5) Prioritize your day-to-day
You can’t accomplish 20 things in one day, but you can definitely accomplish at least three. Continue to track your ongoing projects and each project’s status. Celebrate your accomplishments, but also track your productivity.
Want to hear all of Mark’s advice for marketers? Watch the entire interview here.
While we continue working through our response to the compromise we reported yesterday, we wanted to provide some more insight into the question of how this happened and what we have done to ensure security going forward.
On May 8, the Bitly security team learned of the potential compromise of Bitly user credentials from the security team of another technology company. We immediately began operating under the assumption that we had a breach and started the search for all possible compromise vectors.
Over the course of the next few hours, the Security Team determined with a high degree of confidence that there had been no external connections to our production user database or any unauthorized access of our production network or servers. They observed that we had an unusually high amount of traffic originating from our offsite database backup storage that was not initiated by Bitly. At this point, it was clear that the best path forward was to assume the user database was compromised and immediately initiate our response plan, which included steps to protect our users’ connected Facebook and Twitter accounts.
We audited the security history for our hosted source code repository that contains the credentials for access to the offsite database backup storage and discovered an unauthorized access on an employee’s account. We immediately enabled two-factor authentication for all Bitly accounts on the source code repository and began the process of securing the system against any additional vulnerabilities.
We have a number of projects remaining to continue to add layers of security, but here are some of the things we have done since the breach and are continuing to work on:
Invalidated all Twitter and Facebook credentials
Rotated all credentials for our offsite storage systems
Enabled detailed logging on our offsite storage systems
Rotated all SSL certificates
Reset credentials used for code deployment
GPG encryption of all sensitive credentials
Enforced two-factor authentication on all 3rd party services company-wide
Accelerated development of our work to support two-factor authentication for bitly.com
Accelerated development for email confirmation of password changes
- Added additional audit details to user security pages
Enabled detailed logging on our offsite storage systems
Updated iPhone App to support updated OAuth tokens
In addition, we’ve posted the answers to some frequently asked questions below. We’ll continue to update you here as needed.
Were passwords exposed?
Hashed passwords were exposed but plain text passwords were not. All passwords are salted and hashed. If you registered, logged in or changed your password after January 8th, 2014, your password was converted to be hashed with BCrypt and HMAC using a unique salt. Before that, it was salted MD5.
Were any of my Bitlinks affected or changed?
No. The production database was never compromised nor was there any unauthorized access to our production network or environment. The data was from an offsite static backup. There was no risk of any data, including redirects, being changed.