Bit.ly is the premier URL shortening service and on Tuesday it overhauled its service. It comes as shock as most observers were just expecting a change of design. The service is now more social network than URL shortener. The ability to shorten a URL is not even on the front page anymore. That requires an additional click to move to a different page. What is on the front page, however, is a list of content shared by the viewer and others in the viewer’s circles. The viewer does have control over FaceBook and Twitter integration, so the network can be quite large.
This is good for the social media agency for a couple of reasons. The first reason is because the new service potentially increases the lifespan of a share. The previous incarnation of Bit.ly created a URL that was then shared over some other channels. Those channels have notoriously short lifespans where the link is no longer discovered and no longer generates clicks. The new service will make seeing older links easier and might increase the lifespan of those links. The social media agency should encourage users to use Bit.ly to drive traffic to those pages where older links are discoverable.
The second reason, and the better reason for optimism, is that Bit.ly will now better allow collection of links. The social media agency will now be able to see users and see what URLs they are shortening. It can be helpful to learn what else a user is interested in this data collection of preferences is what has made FaceBook so powerful and even Bit.ly will not provide that scale of collections, it will be helpful. The usual helpful tools such as a useful analytics package are still in the new format, even if finding them might take some effort the first few times.