Over the past few months we have been working on some exciting improvements to the way we show link stats. Your feedback inspired these improvements, and members of the bitly community beta tested them. We are excited to share them with you today.
The improved link stats view — which you can access by adding a “+” to any bitly link or by clicking “view stats” on any link in your history — shows you much more than just the number of times your link has been clicked. You can now compare your bitly link’s performance to that of all bitly links pointing to the same content, find out who else is sharing a bitly link to the same content, and see what social networks and geographic regions are providing traffic easier than ever before.
A better bar graph
The bar graph at the center of the link stats page now lets you visualize your link’s traffic alongside that of all bitly links pointing to the same content. Use the toggles above the graph to turn these data sets on and off. View stats for the past hour, day, week or month by selecting one of the time options listed above the graph on the left.
For links more than a day old, you can see hourly click breakdowns for any day in the bar graph. Simply hover over a bar in the graph, and click ‘view hourly breakdown’. This can help you see the exact pattern of traffic that a link received on a given day.
Other bitly users who shared the same link
Interested in comparing your click stats to those of other bitly users? At the bottom of the page, you can see the other people who shared a bitly link to the same content. You will see up to six people, sorted by the number of clicks their link received. This list will only display people who have publicly saved this link with bitly. (Learn more about the difference between public and private links here.)
Stats at a glance and link insights
At the top of the link stats page, you will see three different numbers: total clicks on your bitly link, total clicks on all bitly links to that same content, and the percentage of the total clicks that came from your bitly link. Below these stats is your bitly shortlink to copy.
Right underneath the header block, you will now see link insights that tells you something interesting about your bitly link, and how it performs compared to other bitly links that direct to the same content.
See which social networks are driving traffic to your link
Below the bar graph, you will see the list of domains where your bitly link was clicked. Clicks from large social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn or Google+ are added up and displayed together. Even better, if you connect your Twitter account to bitly, you can see recent tweets that include a link to the content you saved.
Any clicks on domains that are not part of a major social network, such as a blog or corporate website, will be represented under “other”.
Where in the world your clicks are coming from
You can now gain a better understanding of where your bitly link is being clicked with a heat map that displays countries with higher click rates in red. To the right of the map, you will see a list breakdown of clicks by country, as we ll as the percentage of the total clicks that came from that country.
We’d love to know what you think about these improvements to the link stats page! Please send any questions or comments to support [at] bitly.com, or send a tweet to @bitly. Need a bitly account? Sign up here.
Come join us at bitly HQ in NYC on Friday, May 31st for a free breakfast and panel discussion on what your blog can do for you. We are thrilled to feature Jamila Rowser of Girl Gone Geek, Dave Gustav of Bowery Boogie, Hide Harashima of DumboNYC, and Brandon Gorrell of Thought Catalog on our morning panel.
We will discuss a variety of topics, like how to get involved in blogging, how to build an engaged community, and what positive opportunities can come from managing a blog. The breakfast is open to anyone that is interested in blogging, online content, or those that simply want to enjoy breakfast in the company of other interesting people.
You can register for the breakfast here. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP soon. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to community[at]bitly.com. We look forward to meeting you!
You know what bitly does, but do you know who bitly is?
We’re excited to start a new series highlighting different members of the bitly team. Each month, we’ll feature a different bitly employee and talk about their role here at bitly, as well as their outside interests, projects and goals.
Up first is Matt LeMay, bitly’s Head of Consumer Product. He’s known here for his role as part of the product team, but he’s also a musician, avid writer, teacher and self-proclaimed foodie. We bet you didn’t know he wrote his senior thesis at Brown University about Sex and the City, or that he’s the one stealing all the cashews out of the office container of mixed nuts.
What are your main responsibilities at bitly?
I’ve had a few titles since starting here three years ago, all of which have been some variant on “product manager.” There is a lot of totally fair and reasonable debate over what a product manager does; I feel that it is a fundamentally communicative role. I do my best to make sure we’re all using the same terminology, asking the right questions and talking about things as openly and productively as possible.
It’s been a really humbling experience to work here with such incredibly talented people. I feel like it’s helped rid me of whatever unhelpful overachiever impulses I may have carried around before I got here; now I have no choice but to chill out and learn.
How did you get started at bitly?
I wound up at bitly through Andy Weissman, former COO of Betaworks and current partner at Union Square Ventures. His wife and my mom met at a dance class and it turned out Andy and I knew a lot of the same people and had a lot of the same interests in terms of music. Through our conversations, it dawned on both of us a lot of the work I had done as a musician was, in effect, product management work.
We saw you’re also a senior contributor at Pitchfork, how did you get involved there?
I got started at Pitchfork when I was 16. I was a huge music nerd and a fan of the site. There was an open call for writers, so I sent in a review. For some reason, they liked it. I started writing two reviews a week for them, and kept up that pace for about five years. Nowadays, I contribute occasionally, only when I feel like I really have something to say.
Music sounds like it’s a big part of your interests outside of bitly, what role does it play in your life?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. I started recording music at home when I was 14. My sophomore year of college, I started a band called Get Him Eat Him that toured nationally and opened for a couple well-known bands. We had a real go at it, but it became much harder to sustain that kind of lifestyle once we graduated. I love the dudes I was in that band with, and I’m super-proud of the work we did together.
My last show fronting Get Him Eat Him was actually my first show playing drums with Kleenex Girl Wonder. I still play with them, and produce their records.
I also have a solo musical project, which I started about a year and a half ago. I do a lot of recording and mixing work, which can be a headache for my fiancée, since my recording setup is about three feet away from our bed, and I tend to lose track of time and work late into the night.
Fiancée? That’s exciting. Wedding plans in the future?
We’re working on wedding plans, yes! We just got engaged in November, and the wedding is planned for January. We’ve got the venue locked down, now it’s just a matter of locking down a caterer, rentals and, uh, everything else. My fiancée and my mom have been doing most of the legwork on that!
So, what else do you do in your spare time?
For me, there’s been a lot of difficult learning involved with this job, just in terms of really trying to understand what things mean and what the repercussions of these things are. It’s hard to ask questions - it’s easier to pretend you know the answer than to ask something and risk sounding dumb. It’s great to go into a room where everyone is nervous to ask about something, and to change that; folks at an agency might feel stupid when I mention something like hadoop or MongoDB at first, but it’s super rewarding to walk out of a room where people are no longer afraid to talk about really exciting things.
Food. I like food. For better or worse, I’m a well-researched foodie.
Any favorite spots?
Legend. It’s really interesting - it used to be a Pan-Asian restaurant that was popular with local business folks, then it was taken over by a Chinese family known for their Sichuan cooking. All that Pan-Asian stuff — Pad Thai, Vietnamses sandiwches — it’s all still on the menu. The Sichuan food is mostly in the last couple pages. Michele Humes wrote a great blog post about it.
Between bitly, your music ventures, teaching and an upcoming wedding - you sound pretty busy! How do you manage to do all of this?
I just got started trying to get my life organized via Google docs. Balancing work-work with creative work with true nonwork is always a challenge. Most of my artist and musician friends also have day jobs, and it creates a hierarchy of sorts: things for your day job take first priority, things that involve other people come next, and the work that’s just for you — often the most creatively fulfilling work — comes last. I hope that keeping myself organized will help make sure I’m setting aside time to do the creative work that’s most important me, and also to relax sometimes.
If you’re interested in seeing Matt in his element, you’re in luck. Matt and Kleenex Girl Wonder will be playing at WBAR-B-Q on Saturday, April 27. Or, if you want to learn more about his work at bitly, you can enroll in his class, “The What and Why of APIs” at General Assembly on May 23.
NASA Astronaut Ron Garan stopped by the bitly HQ on Friday while in NYC for the International Space Apps Challenge, a two-day hackathon where citizens from seven continents, 44 countries and 83 cities came together with the aim of making the world a better place.
Ron’s well-known not only for his work at the International Space Station (he’s traveled there twice, first in 2008 for a two-week construction mission and then again in 2011 for a six-month excursion), but as the astronaut who went viral when he started tweeting from the ISS and later answered questions about his experience as part of a few Reddit AMAs.
Ron chatted with us about the importance of international collaboration, his organizations and of course, what a day is like in space.
On international collaboration
I believe we have all the technology and resources to solve the problems we face. The primary reason why we still face so many problems relies primarily on our inabilities to collaborate on a global scale.
I believe it’s possible to live in a world without poverty, where everyone has access to clean water, where no one goes to bed hungry, where we educate all our children. I believe that the power of collaboration will fuel incredible economic growth. We’re all in this together, so the only way we can solve it is all together.
Every truly great accomplishment didn’t just seem impossible - it seemed crazy. It might seem impossible to lift the entire planet out of poverty, impossible to find cures to diseases but the point is if we can fly to the moon and fly there safely, if 15 nations can come together and build a space station, then we can do anything. Nothing is impossible.
On his projects since coming back to Earth
Fragile Oasis is an initiative that uses this perspective we have on [international collaboration] to inspire others to go out, work together, make a difference and make the world a better place.
I realized that there’s probably a lot of efforts that are trying to build universal collaboration, so the first step to do that is to collaborate with those organizations. That’s where Unity Node comes in, it’s an effort to unify those efforts from around the world. We’re trying to connect existing databases and existing groups to build a global community.
I also believe businesses have a tremendous capability to solve problems. There are a lot of groups that want to accomplish some kind of social good and do that in a financially stable manner, but even when startups get funding they can fail because they don’t have the things they need. CoImpact.co is going to be a global community of business development tools that these groups can use.
What is a day like in space?
There are 16 sunrises and 16 sunsets every day. It’s busy - we wake up around 6 a.m. GMT. 80 percent of the day involves picking up with experiments - we do a lot of medical research, try to make new materials, research new medicine, new forms of energy, the list goes on and on. 99.9 percent of what we do is trying to make life better on the planet.
20 percent of the day is maintenance. It does take a lot of work to maintain the space station as well.
Then we have some downtime that we can spend in the cupula taking pictures of the Earth or working out. We have to work out two hours each day to keep bone density and muscle mass, which we do through resistance machines.
A photo Ron tweeted from space when he was at the International Space Station in 2011.
Can you describe a space walk?
It is an amazing experience. I’ve done four spacewalks and logged around 27 hours total in space. The first time I went to space, I did three space walks. We have a long robotic arm that’s about 100 feet long and it locks in your feet. The first time, the arm carried me across in an arc shape about a hundred feet above the space station.
It took about 35 minutes each way. When I went there, it was nighttime and when I came back, it was day. On the way down, I shut off the lights in my suit and it was like the whole universe opened up, I could see the milky way and everything. On the way back the sun rose.
Half of my brain was saying “wow, this is incredible and beautiful,” and the other half was saying “yeah, but it’s not real.” I had nothing to compare it to, floating inside a space suit with all of infinity out there.
Where was the trade-off when you realized you shouldn’t be doing research in space and instead evangelize people about your causes?
Right now, we fly about three or four Americans a year. You stay at the space station for six months, training is two-and-a-half years, that’s a long time. When you’re done with a six-month mission, you have a six-month debrief and then you get back on line. The line is not moving very fast. The way I looked at it, I’ve flown twice and there are a whole bunch who haven’t gotten to fly once. It didn’t make sense to try and get back on that line.
I looked at it from an impact view - what am I going to do that’s going to make more of an impact? I could get in line and train for another six months in space or I could use the experience I already had to make a difference. That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now.
What was your favorite experiment or research you did while in space?
From a fun point of view, we have these flying robots that were pretty cool. There are two robots that go through the air and maneuver around each other.
From a scientific point of view, we discovered a property in our research that went to be used in the vaccine for salmonella. We also did a lot of energy and combustion research and that research is leading to new ways to eliminate hazardous waste and efficiency.
We were so excited to have Ron visit us last week. If you’re interested in learning more about Ron, his career or his projects, be sure to check out our bundle here.
We’re often asked how users can best keep track of all the links they save. There are several different ways to organize your bitly links, bundles being one of them. But we’re also big fans of using notes to help you sort links quickly and easily.
The search tool makes it simple to find links based on link title and keywords. But sometimes you have many links with similar titles, or hundreds of links that all direct to the same domain. In these situations it becomes more difficult to search for a particular link.
This is why notes are a great tool to help you organize all of your links. After you save a link with bitly, you are always given the option to ‘Add note’. Use notes to add context to the link, like “final project ideas” or “link to share with Susan”. The next time you search for these terms in the search bar, all of your links with the notes attached will instantly appear.
You can also use hashtags to attribute keywords to your links. Use #recipe for links to delicious dishes, or #Spring2013 for links to a current project you’re working on. These hashtag keywords will turn into hyperlinks, and you can click on one to automatically see all the other links you’ve saved with that keyword.
So the next time you’d like to organize your links, try adding notes and hashtag keywords. It only takes a few seconds, and it helps you find the link you’re looking for as quickly as possible. Have any questions? Let us know on Twitter, or email support [at] bitly.com. Need a bitly account? Sign up here.
It’s easy to forget what the world looks like from outside your own country, and it can often look quite different. At bitly, we’re reminded of this every day: we see traffic from over 220 countries, with the US accounting for roughly a third of the total. In this country, most of the social sharing happens on facebook and twitter, but what about in the rest of the world?
We answered this question the only way we know how: with data! First, we picked the 16 most popular social networks from around the world. We sampled our data twice per month in 2012, then counted up how many clicks came from each country and social network. Adding all this up gave us a bitly-wide breakdown of the social network traffic we see. Finally, for each country, we scored each social network by the proportion of traffic it represented compared to the proportion bitly-wide. For example, if 10% of country A’s traffic came from a given social network compared to 1% for bitly as a whole, it got a score of 1. If it was only 0.1% vs. 1% for bitly, then it got a score of -1. So positive scores mean that network is more popular in that country than average, and negative means less so.
We chose this scoring since it kept the giants in the room from swamping out signals from the smaller social networks. Given that, we expected to see smaller, foreign networks to be popular in their home countries. Indeed, we see Odnoklassniki and VK are very popular in Russian-speaking Russia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and Belarus; Mixi and Ameba are popular in Japan; and Douban, QQ, Renren, and Weibo are popular in China.
On the other hand, there were some surprises. For example, Hong Kong and Taiwan showed very little usage of some Chinese social networks. Not all former Soviet states or Russian-speaking countries showed strong usage of the Russian ones. Tumblr is surprisingly popular in South Korea. Mongolians love Youtube. LinkedIn and Google+ are impressively popular in Iran.
We encourage you to explore the data in our interactive visualization.
We’re all separated by only a few degrees, and the internet makes those degrees super easy to traverse. But when the degrees span nations, it’s hard to remember to try. We’re offering this little reminder. We hope you’ll enjoy exploring the world’s social network use with us.
At bitly, we’re constantly working to make our platform as developer friendly as possible. So we’re happy to share this quickstart guide that contains sample code for several of our popular API endpoints that power the millions of link shortens, clicks and shares we see every day, per day. Written as a side project by our resident Enstitute fellow and data newbie Jasmine, these simple python scripts are a great way for any programmer, experienced or inexperienced, to skip the setup time and jump straight into the same technology behind our realtime search engine, topic-central twitter bots, bundles and more!
Search for specific keywords and filter by topic, social network, location, domain and language to return related content currently receiving the most attention on the internet.
Power 3rd-party applications to provide constant streams of interesting online content.
Bitly is announcing today that Peter Stern has resigned to pursue other interests.
“Peter has been a key leader and contributor to the Company,” said Bitly Board member Sam Mandel. “In particular he has been instrumental in transforming Bitly into a successful business while growing its unparalleled data set. We are very happy that he will remain a shareholder and supporter.”
The Web does not just connect machines, it connects people.” - Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Since January 2011 we’ve seen nearly 100 billion human clicks on bitly-powered links. Whether it’s the fascination with the russian meteor, Rand Paul’s filibuster, or the cutest of kittens, the social web surprises and gratifies us daily. We’re grateful for the trust and the opportunity to discover and learn about human behavior at the scale of human behavior, and we’re taking a moment to say “wow” before we get back to our regular programming.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, the bitly iPhone app is a great way to access all of your favorite links when away from your desktop, and a great way to share your links via Facebook and Twitter. But did you know you can also connect your iPhone contacts list to the app, making it the ultimate tool for sharing your favorite links with others? You will be able to seamlessly email or text message any of your bitly links to all of your iPhone contacts straight from the app.
When you first install the app you will be prompted to give bitly access to your contacts list. If you said OK, then you are all set and ready to share. If not, you can still give bitly permission to access your contacts. To do this, head to iPhone settings -> Privacy -> Contacts, and turn the bitly switch to ‘on’. (Do not worry- we value your privacy and would never send anything without your permission.)
From there you can head to the bitly app. Simply click on any link in your list, and press the orange share button (with the megaphone icon) on the top right corner of the screen.
When sending an Email the app will immediately retrieve address results from your iPhone contacts list.
Or send your link as a Message; it will include your shortlink and the link title, which you can edit before sending to friends. The message will send as an iMessage or Text Message (depending on the type of phone you recipient has.)
It’s as simple as that! Need to download the iPhone app? You can find it here. Have any questions or ideas? Share the in the comments or reach out to community[at]bitly.com.