Marketing story, simple URL click tracking tool ‘Google URL shortener’
There are a lot of URLs that begin with ‘goo.gl/~’. This kind of URL is made by Google URL shortener. Originally, the main purpose of the URL shortener was to simplify complicated URLs. However, there is a hidden feature in the ‘Google URL shortener’.
Is it a good URL shortener?
Google URL shortener is a tool which makes a complex URL into a simple URL starting with ‘goo.gl/~’. It is a very convenient tool, but I think it is not the best URL shortener. The main downside of goo.gl is that the user cannot handle an output URL. It means if I put the URL in Google URL shortener, it just gives a Short URL, regardless of my preference. It is similar to bit.ly. However, in bit.ly, there is a paid plan, which makes it possible for users to control the final URL. Unfortunately, for example, there are some URL shorteners that allow unpaid users to decide the output URL like Is.gd. Therefore, If someone just wants to shorten his URL, I’m certain that other URL shorteners like Is.gd are a better option.
Why should marketers use goo.gl URL shortener?
However, using Google URL shortener is not an option for marketers because it gives them an amazing feature called ‘analytics data for shortened URL’. It can track how many users click the URL and what their platforms are and their web browsers. Because of the feature, if they use other tracking tools like Google analytics or not, they can see the number of clicks and other meaningful data.
How can you track the users?
Tracking the users using Google URL shortener is not difficult. Put the original URL in it. It quickly gives you a simple URL. That’s all. It automatically tracks the users who click the simple URL. However, there is a big condition. You MUST have logged into goo.gl. If you do not login, you will not be able to track the users that have clicked on your URL.
After you make a simple URL, you can see a list below the simple URL making form. There are rows that show all of the clicks to your URL. This page might give you some insight, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. Just click the all click number. It opens a whole new world to you.
Google URL Shortener Dashboard
At the top, there is a click timeline. You can see a change of clicks over time. The timeframe is basically set by all time but, it is changeable. Just click the ‘all time’, and the dropdown menu is shown.
There are four graphs below the click timeline: Referrers, browsers, countries and platforms. Referrer graph shows where the people click this URL. If you posted the URL on only one platform, there is only one source. The browser graph displays the browser used by people who click the URL. The platform graph is similar to the browser graph. It means platforms rather than browsers. If you want to know which country has had biggest clicks, the country map can answer the question. The bluest country on the map is the country.
If you expect a lot from the Google URL Shortener, you might be disappointed. However, if you never knew about its detail analytics like timeline or graphs, it might be surprising. I’m sure that the Google URL shortener is one of the simplest tracking tools. Of course, its analytics are not enough. But it is not needed for inserting any tracking codes and development knowledge. I think it is a huge advantage for marketers.
Just use it! And track the users!