URL Shorteners and Analytics: Which Ones Deliver Results?

by Sherice Jacob

Last updated on March 5th, 2018

Since its humble beginnings in 2002 with the launch of the TinyURL service, the URL shortener has evolved to become more than just a convenient way to save characters and trim unsightly web addresses.

These days, the best URL shorteners come with a full suite of analytics tools so that you can not only redirect users via a more memorable address, but also track where your traffic is coming from and what they’re doing once they get there.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most-used URL shortener analytics and find out which ones live up to the test.


Recently the victim of a firestorm of controversy over its redesign, Bitly, one of the most popular URL shorteners (originally thanks to Twitter) is backpedaling to address its users’ concerns and keep things simple – the way they started.

Focusing on ease of use, Bitly has added several features that allow users to save, customize and update their shortened links to be public and private.

Currently, Bitly only tracks the number of clicks your shortened link gets – not pageviews or any other data beyond referrer and location:

For simple, straightforward analytics distilled into an at-a-glance format,
it’s hard to beat the popularity and user-friendliness of Bitly. 

An enterprise (“Pro”) service is also available, however the blog hasn’t been updated since October 2011 (announcing the Beta launch) and things are eerily quiet on the website.


Bitly may be the  reigning champ of URL shorteners in the Twitterverse (before t.co was launched last year), but Goo.gl has analytics covered.

Like many of its services, if you have a Google account, you can track much more information than Bitly offers through its service, including clicks, referrers (and their relationship to each other), browsers, computer platforms and geographic locations. You can even see which time period brought the most clicks (although there is a 2 hour delay) and get a QR code for the shortened URL.

Keep in mind that all your analytics data for shortened goo.gl URLs is public. To access your analytics for a particular URL, just add .info after it, such as http://goo.gl/l6MS.info.


Goo.gl URL analytics tracks valuable information on clicks and referrers
including what browser and computer platform they’re using.


Rather than being yet another cool URL shortener, awe.sm takes things a step further by concentrating exclusively on social analytics.  With its platform, you can not only track the number of clicks, referrals and other assorted information – but you can see which of those clicks drove conversions according to goals you set in the Awe.sm dashboard.

Awe.sm’s social analytics gives you a variety of ways to track
social engagement through their URL shortener

Techcrunch illustrated the potential of awe.sm by examining one of their users, StockTwits (a service which provides real-time updates on stocks through Twitter.

According to the Techcrunch article, StockTwits uses awe.sm to…

“track how its users react to things like quarterly earnings reports for public companies. Awe.sm can look at any link that contains its tracking code in any tweet or other mention of a company produced by StockTwits users, auto-detecting the link and letting StockTwits track all of the metadata around who is doing sharing and when it happens. StockTwits can then use this data to generate more sophisticated data around reach and engagement for how word spreads out among users, and alter its product accordingly.”

Awe.sm isn’t free like Bitly or Goo.gl, but there is a 30 day trial. Prices start at $15/month per user for one project.

Are URL Shorteners Right for You?

After Twitter introduced default URL wrapping with its own t.co service, many SEO providers have found that using a URL shortener for the sake of just a shorter link doesn’t make much sense – especially when a direct link is viewed as being more trustworthy.   The trust issue rears its ugly head when scammers use URL shorteners to hide spyware or other scummy sites.

But when your direct link is simply too long and cumbersome to remember, and you want a quick, direct way of getting measurable results from your social campaigns – URL shorteners and analytics bundle the best of both worlds.

All of the aforementioned URL shorteners have their own approach to analytics.  Your decision will depend on what type of information you need – whether it’s simple clicks and referrers or more in-depth social sharing statistics.

Overall, you can expect that the best URL shorteners will continue their gradual shift to becoming more of a social analytics platform rather than a service to promote a more memorable URL.

Do You Use a URL Shortener?

Which services have you tried? Do you have a service I’ve missed? Tell me about it in the comments below:



Get updates on new articles, webinars and other opportunities:

Sherice Jacob

Sherice Jacob helps website owners improve conversion rates with custom design, copywriting and website reviews.  Get your free conversion checklist and web copy tune-up by visiting iElectrify.com.


Comment Policy

Please join the conversation! We like long and thoughtful communication.
Abrupt comments and gibberish will not be approved. Please, only use your real name, not your business name or keywords. We rarely allow links in your comment.
Finally, please use your favorite personal social media profile for the website field.


Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Akshay Chughi says:
    September 14, 2017 at 2:46 am


    I didn’t know that Google’s URL shortner service would deliver such analytics. I was using Google URL builder to track my campaigns, but I think it’s time to choose google url shortening service too!

    Akshay Chugh

  2. Aditi sawant says:
    April 5, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Hey Sherice

    It’s a great article thanks for share with us

  3. Anonymous says:
    December 17, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Peculkiar article, totally ᴡhat I was lоoking

  4. Magento 2 Layered Navigation says:
    December 16, 2016 at 2:36 am

    I believe everything posted made a ton of sense.
    But, what about this? what if you were to create a awesome
    title? I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however what if you added a post title that makes
    people desire more? I mean URL Shorteners and Analytics: Which Ones
    Deliver Results? is a little vanilla. You ought to glance at Yahoo’s front page
    and watch how they create news headlines to get people interested.
    You might add a related video or a related picture or two to
    grab readers interested about everything’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it could make your blog a little livelier.

  5. Anuj says:
    June 15, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Hi Sherice Jacob, thanks for sharing the useful information. I am using Goo.gl url shortener also getting many click but I am not able to see that data in my Google analytic account even not in direct traffic

  6. Anonymous says:
    May 10, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    It’s hard to come by experienced people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  7. Aleksandar says:
    May 1, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    First, I’ve used Bitly than later Googl because it was available anytime anywhere with Gmail logon. But recently I’ve noticed that Googl shortener sometimes has very inaccurate clickthroughs count. I’ve notice that problem while I tried to measure impact of some channels.

  8. Anonymous says:
    March 16, 2016 at 6:35 am

    Very good information. Luckiy me I came across your website by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have book marked it for later!

  9. Olivia says:
    February 5, 2016 at 5:30 am

    It’s not my first time to go to see this site, i am browsing his web page dailly aand
    obtain pleasant data from here all the time.

  10. Anonymous says:
    January 20, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Good post. I definitely love this site. Keep it up!

  11. Anonymous says:
    January 9, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I love what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work
    and coverage! Keep up the superb works guys I’ve incorporated
    you guys to blogroll.

  12. Rose says:
    January 2, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    It’s the best time to make some plans for the long run and it is
    time to be happy. I have read this post and if I may
    I wish to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write subsequent articles relating to this article.

    I desire to learn more things approximately it!

  13. Anonymous says:
    December 21, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    You’re so awesome! I don’t suppose I’ve read through something
    like this before. So nice to find someone with some genuine thoughts
    on this topic. Seriously.. many thanks for starting
    this up. This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with a
    bit of originality!

  14. Anonymous says:
    November 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    you are in reality a excellent webmaster. The web site loading
    pace iss amazing. It kind of feels that you are doing any
    distinctive trick. In addition, The contents are masterpiece.
    you’ve performed a wonderful task in this subject!

  15. Shreyans says:
    May 11, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Hi Sherice,

    Thanks for the informative article. We can surely explore more URL shortners and see which can garner the better results.

    I am currently using bitly and I’m finding huge difference(70% at times) between the number of clicks in bitly analytics and the number of sessions in GA. How much can I trust the data via bitly analytics?

  16. Albert says:
    March 27, 2015 at 4:07 am

    Is it any services which helps you to make url longer?..

    • March 27, 2015 at 9:27 am

      Not that I know of… unless you want to add UTM parameters through Google.

  17. James says:
    March 27, 2015 at 3:16 am

    I like this service:
    Majo.Club Short URL Service
    Especially url analytics system. Plus there is possibility to show your own offers when the person using your short URL.

    • March 27, 2015 at 9:31 am

      I’ve never seen that one. Thanks for sharing, James.

  18. Alex says:
    March 15, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I’m using this site http: //n.et , it’s new and it has a lot of things. Statistics for each url, custom alias, geotargeting, custom description, multiple url’s. And for each link it has a live preview for you to know on what site are you going to. + makes money

    • March 16, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Looks like a nice tool, Alex. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Mario says:
    March 8, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    I’m using this site http:// ssurl.in , it’s new and it has a lot of things. Statistics for each url, custom alias, geotargeting, custom description, multiple url’s. And for each link it has a live preview for you to know on what site are you going to.

  20. Parth Kheni says:
    February 26, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I want to ask you that how you get traffic to your goo.gl link from google.com?
    Where did you submit or post your url, so that you got traffic from google.com.

  21. February 19, 2015 at 10:50 am

    Try snipac.com. This is a new service but great for all and it’s FREE. It has a lot of features like link life duration, password protection, Custom Alias, Description, Geotargeting, QR Code and more.

  22. Blackstar says:
    February 11, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    The Fastest and Shortest one I have found is zap.cu.cc and it has a lot of features like time restriction, password protection, api, several domain names to choose for links, and more.

  23. November 16, 2014 at 1:31 am

    The one I like is meto.in, where you can get short links generated for any text you share, any file you upload/share, or any URL your share.

  24. Vikrant says:
    June 3, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    Hey every i just tried a new product recently: tuq.in

    It’s surprisingly simple and the analytics it showed was way too awsome. Also it was offering URL control along with overall stats for all the links shared too which no one gives yet.

    • neil says:
      June 4, 2014 at 11:53 am

      Vikrant, we’ll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up 🙂

  25. Andrew Weisman says:
    December 15, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    I am using yam.im , they provide API for integration and their site is responsive so i can use it easily on my mobile phone or tablet

  26. Dean Suther says:
    September 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

    bitly and owly are some of the best goo.gl great for SEO,but there are many others useful… This tool reveals almost all the url shortenrs besturlshortener.net

  27. July 7, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    I use both ow.ly and goo.gl – Different sharing platforms for differnet implementations.

  28. July 6, 2013 at 8:13 am

    I am using both goo.ly and bit.ly Both seems great to me. But bit.ly offer custom url but google don’t


  29. Alessandro says:
    December 28, 2012 at 7:13 am

    I use glurl.co which is the best in my opinion. They have browsers addon, an efficient API that allows integration with your website to create shorts permalinks, tracking, QR code, statistical analysis, page previews without having to access it and others reliable security mechanisms.

  30. Brad says:
    October 15, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I use ttwi.st which is a premium URL shortener made for Internet Marketers. They are Clickbank friendly, have great tracking and have their own API. Your stats are also your own rather than having links shared with other people like some other URL shorteners.

  31. Dan says:
    August 4, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I’m using a heavily modded version of “YOURLS” to run my own service on my own branded domain (thedan1984 is my name domain, my shortern is db84.us) – I can track total number of hits, hits by time, hits by phsical location, and hits by virtual location (referrer)

    I’m big on self-hosted whenever possible because it gives you total control. You never know when a third party service is going to up and change it’s policy or flat out close. Google is notorious for closing services and I’d have to have 100s of URLs saved in Goo.gl if and when they decide to shut it down.

  32. Sherice Jacob says:
    June 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Bit.ly seems like it’s miles ahead of the others in terms of use, although I wonder how the redesign is affecting their conversions…

  33. Avinash D'Souza says:
    June 16, 2012 at 4:02 am

    I currently use Bit.ly and I’m really happy with it. It does what it’s supposed to do and ties in with other services I use like timely.is and Buffer. Awe.sm seems like a winner for a dev who’s willing to integrate it into his/her product like Timely has…

  34. Brandon Line says:
    June 15, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I’ve been using gu.ma – they have a bunch of useful features.
    Regarding traffic monitoring – they simply let you paste your own tracking code (taken from Google Analytics for example).

  35. Sherice Jacob says:
    June 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve used su.pr myself in the past (never underestimate the power of share-happy Stumblers!) but mostly, I’m like David – using Bit.ly for the sheer convenience and easy integration with Tweetdeck.

    Hootsuite has a great set of tools for monitoring but it’s a little weak on the analytics side of things.

  36. Robin Cannon says:
    June 14, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Excellent piece. Have to admit that I just tend to use bit.ly by default (and particularly because of the easy link with Twitter clients such as TweetDeck). But this article definitely opened my eyes to some of the more in-depth analytics available from some of the other services. Suppose at that point it’s a case of immediate convenience (I don’t even have to *think* about using bit.ly) versus additional information. Definitely bears extra investigation on my part.

    • Russ Henneberry says:
      June 14, 2012 at 12:44 pm

      I use ow.ly which is generated by Hootsuite.

  37. David Gadarian says:
    June 14, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I use both Bit.ly and on occasion goo.gl but I think the one I’ve seen the most results from is the Stumble Upon URL shortener Su.pr – which hooks directly into Stumble Upon – if I have a post that I think their audience will enjoy that is usually the way I’ll go.

Show Me My Heatmap

literally addicted to the stuff I'm seeing in @CrazyEgg. Such a fantastic piece of software! #Marketing #Content #Digital

Chris Vella-Bone


What makes people leave your website?