Are bit.ly statistics accurate?
September 10, 2009
I’ve never really looked at the bit.ly stats that you get for every link you shorten using the service (handy tip, add a + to the end of any shortened bit.ly URL to see the stats). So this evening I did a little experiment. I had a need to create four shortened links each directing users to a different page. Each page has Google Analytics tracking installed and also another well known analytics package (not free). To each link I also added a click tracking parameter for the ‘not free’ analytics package. All four links were distributed only via tweets on a Twitter account (not my personal one, and not a well followed one which is why the numbers are low, but it suited the purpose) using the Twitter web interface. So at the end of this little test, I should have three sets of figures. One from bit.ly, another from Google Analytics (counting referrals from Twitter to each page) and a third from the other analytics package.
|bit.ly||Google Analytics||Other analytics|
I’ve always used bit.ly for shortening links, for no reason other than it’s conveniently embedded in tools such as Tweetdeck, but I may consider trying another one of the multitude of services that do the same job. Obviously bit.ly shouldn’t be relied on for your main traffic analytics, it’s not their main business, but should we expect its stats to be more accurate (or at least closer to other analytics packages)? These are low traffic links but on high traffic ones how wide would the gap be then? Would be interested to hear what others think, especially if you know of a reason for the difference.