What’s a true click? Humans vs. bots.

A common question we get from bitly users is, “Why are my bitly click counts different from those reported by other platforms?” 

Click counts can appear to be substantially higher when bots, crawlers and other automated systems are included in “click” counts. These systems are both ubiquitous and largely invisible on the web, and can account for the majority of click-like events on some links. That’s why our data science team spends lots of time working on classifiers that filter out clicks from non-human agents such as bots and crawlers. What we record on the info page of a link are what we call true clicks which are counted by bitly only when a human clicks on the bitly link. 

This heavy filtering allows for a more accurate understanding of how many times your content was actually viewed. When you look at your click count on a link, you know that bitly clicks represent humans who actively engaged with your content. On the social web, identifying something as basic as a human click can require some heavy lifting. We make a big investment in data science and engineering, so that we create a system that counts clicks accurately and makes the analytics you see more valuable and insightful.