To call this a hack isn’t quite right, because really, it’s just a tiny piece of functionality with bit.ly – one of the most common URL shortening utilities. And anyone can use.
Basically, you can see how many clicks your competition are getting if they are using bit.ly link by adding a + at the end of the URL. So simple! If you’re signed in, you get a geographic breakdown and few other stats, too.
You’ve seen bit.ly links, no doubt. For example, there’s one in this tweet: https://twitter.com/digitalps/status/747611734001750016
Equally, you’ve seen bit.ly used with other domains – this might not be so obvious, but here’s another tweet with one from Medibank: https://twitter.com/medibank/status/745375789315723264
First up, it’s super simple to spot a bit.ly link if it’s on the bit.ly domain. Get the link, as above from the @digitalps tweet, and you’ve got bit.ly/1AL4VcC. Add a plus to it, as http://bit.ly/1AL4VcC+, and boom, you’ve got competitive insights.
If it’s not a bit.ly link, there’s a common tell-tail signs it might be using the bit.ly service, just under a branded domain. For example, the @AFL sometimes use afl.to/1RvF8Ze, or as in the second tweet above from Medibank, http://bddy.me/28N1RWJ. Again, add a plus and you’ve got insights. http://bddy.me/28N1RWJ+. Medibank have had 46 clicks. #Hmmm…
If you’re looking to compare how your campaign is running against your competition, it can be pretty handy to get an idea if bit.ly is behind the link.
Equally, if you’re wanting to protect this information, should you be using bit.ly?
Note: This article first appeared on LinkedIn