Tracking URLs - which are often referred to as a shortened URLs - are designed to determine the effectiveness of our marketing campaigns. They will give you more insights into your content by tracking the conversion rate of your content. This is done by converting your URLs into tracking links that can be traced as they redirect the user to the final website URL.
Systems such as Metigy and bit.ly, for example, are good ways to do this tracking and they both give you access to statistics that are hard to get reliably in other ways.
You can see this in action if you are using our new Content Creator. When you type a link into the content area, we detect that link. Then, you can use the URL Manager to choose if you would like that URL tracked or not.
How does link tracking work and what are the benefits?
In their simplest form, they are a 'hashed' representation of the original URL. Then, when a user clicks on that link, they will be sent via that URL which is tracked. We will then invisibly forward that person to the original URL on your site, for example. As it is forwarded, we track the click and feed it into our reports.
We will send the end destination everything about where the user clicked on the link (the referrer). That allows your own analytics system, such as Google Analytics, will get the usual information they require to function.
This also allows social media platforms such as Facebook to get to your pages open graph tags without any problems.
When should I use Tracking URLs
We have designed the tracking links to give you insights into how much your content is being clicked on. And, if possible by whom - this is only possible for known or connected users. Social platforms give you some statistics on the click-through rate you get, but they often miss the whole picture. They are also a sealed box and often don't give you the full picture and can only show you their own platform performance.
This is the point where link tracking comes in. It will allow you to track a piece of content anywhere. On a web page, social media site, email, etc. You can then look at this information in many different ways and allow you to do basic analysis like comparing the performance of different networks.
Metigy is a product designed to help you gain insights from that data which is why link tracking is at the core of the Content Publisher Module.
On a side note, email systems such as have used tracking links for years, as have digital adverts.
Are there any downsides?
The short answer is not really. The single biggest thing that you might notice is that some social networks will show the tracking link as the content URL rather than the end side URL - although at the time of testing they were showing the end URL.
Unfortunately, there is no way around this and affects any URL shortener including u.metigy.com, bit.ly and Hootsuite's ow.ly URLs.
Update: These URLs are previewing correctly again on Facebook.
What are the other benefits of tracking links?
Each platform does slightly different things. But, as part of the Metigy Tracking URLs, we do some extra things to improve your content's performance:
- The Metigy API primes your content in the social platform system where possible. This means that it is there, cached and ready for all users as soon as we post
- Our APIs will validate the end URL and let you know if there are any issues such as incorrect, missing or duplicate Open Graph tags. This can save you headaches later if it doesn't publish as you expected
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