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URL Shortener Analytics to Track Clicks and Collect Data

Have you ever drafted the perfect tweet or YouTube description, and then the second you drop in a link to an article, and you have to share an ugly URL like this:

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/gluten-free-christmas-sugar-cookies/d3ab2026-54a3-4ff5-9c81-3f38b30acd89

Not only is the link ugly, but you could be missing key analytics from people clicking on your link! Enter URL shortening services and URL shortener analytics. Not only can you shorten links like that to a clean and simple “https://geni.us/gfxmas” but you can also derive useful data about who is clicking your links.

If you are an affiliate marketer, URL shorteners can provide you with important information to help you customize your content and improve your marketing tactics for your target audience. URL shortener analytics metrics such as the number of clicks, the time they happened, and the country they are coming from can be important for your marketing.

Benefits of a URL shortener

A URL shortener makes your links much easier to share. The days of ugly, hard to share, URLs are over! A major benefit to affiliate marketers is URL shorteners give you control over the redirect.

Let’s say you tweet the link to a product, and it sells out; many URL shorteners allow you to go in and change the destination of the link without changing the shortened link. This can be useful on Twitter because you cannot edit tweets or already sent emails. It also makes it much easier to remember your URL, which helps content you tend to share frequently.

In addition to strengthening your brand, and perhaps more importantly, URL shorteners can also give you insights into your clicks. Understanding who your target audience is and where they come from is paramount to your marketing strategy. URL shortener analytics can provide you with the data from all the clicks through your links.

Here is a quick look at the Geniuslink dashboard and the information you could derive from our URL shortening service.

Key URL Shortener Analytics for Affiliate Marketers

A URL Shortener can give you information on the following:

IP
User Agent
Browser language
Referrer (sometimes!)

Most of the URL shortener analytics you get is limited to the information you get from the HTTP Header. Sometimes, URL shorteners can run javascript to get even more info about the user. Let’s talk about each of these points and how they are derived.

IP Address

An IP address is typically used to determine the geography of your audience. It is fairly accurate at the country level; however, you lose quickly accuracy the more granular you get. In our recent tests, the downloadable databases were 99.8% accurate on a country level, 80% accurate on a state level in the US, and 68% accurate for cities in the US within a 50-kilometer radius.

IP Addresses can also (sometimes) get some information about the Internet Service Provider/data center handling the request. This is because when you’re at home, at work, or walking around the city on your phone, an IP address is assigned to your computer by your Internet service provider. Since they are the ones giving you access to the Internet, it’s their role to assign an IP address to your computer. Your Internet activity goes through them, and they route it back to you, using your IP address.

Geography is important for optimizing your affiliate revenue. If your traffic is coming from multiple countries, it may be a good idea to look into a URL shortening service that optimizes your affiliate links for an international audience. Geniuslink has localization features that ensure every user gets to the right item in their local storefront, and you get credit for those sales.

User Agent

Other information that a URL shortener can provide is the user agent. User agent often includes information about the device, operating system, and browser. This information is important for sites that optimize to mobile devices and browsers.

If a healthy percentage of your audience is mobile, then you better make sure the landing page that you are directing to looks good on a mobile device. Additionally, it is wise to ensure the buying experience is easy to manage with thumb-typing to ensure maximum conversion rates. If your site is not conducive to the device, someone is viewing it on.

Language

Since HTTP Header can provide information on the user’s browser, they also provide the language that the browser is set to. This provides insight into the user’s language preferences.

Knowing what language your audience is primarily using is also important. If you have more than one language in your audience, there may be an opportunity to optimize your CTA / landing page to increase your commissions. This is important for Amazon Associates because Amazon has a specific storefront optimized for different languages/countries. Routing international users to their respective Amazon storefront is one of the many ways that you can start making more commissions today.

Referrer

Finally, the HTTP Header can provide information on the referrer to your site. This is essentially how someone gets to your site. The referrer is useful for learning which domains or sources are sending traffic to your link, which helps you know which marketing is working and which is not. Unfortunately, there are a couple of scenarios where link shorteners won’t be able to grab the referral domain for you and will instead show “None” or “Unknown” because the information was not passed over when a person clicked on your links. We have more on how to troubleshoot that here.

Now you may be asking, what can you do with this information?

What can you do with this information?

All this information is great for competitive intelligence! We have blogged about this in the past, helping you discover if your competition uses a short URL service. We also compiled a blog on diving deeper into Short URLs.

There is also a lot of value in knowing how your audience gets to you. This can help make marketing efforts more effective and allow you to cut costs where necessary. In the case of language and geography, simply knowing where your audience comes from can help you to send them to a landing page that is more fitted to their needs.

URL shorteners are a true game-changer for affiliate marketers, and I hope this article has helped explain why. Feel free to ask any questions you may still have in the comments below!