Does Bit.ly convert for B2B Marketing - a case study

The short answer – heck yeah!

On December 19, 2009 Avaya completed the acquisition of Nortel Enterprise Services. We announced on that day we would hold a virtual event that would introduce our new roadmap for the combined enterprise in exactly 30 days. This would prove to be a seminal event for Avaya and on January 19, 2010 we did released the roadmap to a staggering crowd of 24,000 people.

Potentially one of the largest virtual events ever held it was important to us to be sure we got the word out to as many people as possible. So the idea of using Social Media and tapping into my Social Media team here at Avaya became key.

Our plan was simple – to blog, tweet and post content leading up to the event that used only a single customize bit.ly link (http://bit.ly/NewAvaya) so we could track the response from the social sphere. What we saw in the first few days was a what I considered to be a huge spike in traffic approximately 10% of the traffic was coming to the site from social and 50% of it had converted. Leading up to the day of the event and even on the day of the event we again saw huge traffic coming to the site from social again approximately 10% of the traffic and 50% of the conversions were from social. What you see in the image is the actual graph from Bit.ly that looks like an “inverted bell curve” with the front and back tails getting most of the play.

I thought you would be interested in the consistency of this data and the net positive effect this had on our event. Hopefully it will inspire you to use similar tactics for you upcoming events.

9 comments to Does Bit.ly convert for B2B Marketing – a case study

  • Interesting results. Do you ever wonder whether a shortened URL is a turn-off to the reader? Sometimes I find myself NOT wanting to click something that has tracking on it. Initially a large percentage of recipients were oblivious to what shortened URLs did. But now I feel like everyone knows about them, uses them, etc. And I wonder if users are perhaps more guarded about clicking shortened URLs than longer URLs. I’m not saying they are – I’m saying that I just wonder about it (and how it might affect click-through rates).

    One reason why I am suspicious of shortened URLs is that I’ve heard there are ways to create unique shortened URLs for each recipient. This allows the sender to track which individual person they sent the email to who clicked it, so they can then follow up with precisely that person. This accomplishes the same sort of track-ability that was previously only doable via HTML newsletters. So clicking through on a shortened URL may be effectively raising one’s hand to be badgered by a salesperson in follow-up.

    The foo behind email marketing and what people do / do not open is so nuanced – always interesting to hear what other people are doing and what’s working. Thanks for sharing.

  • Err… I meant, “only doable via HTML” (not “HTML newsletters”).

  • @Travis – thanks for commenting – you raise a great issue that frankly I hadn’t factored it

    I think early on (like last year 😉 maybe folks new to social would think that but now there are some many shortened URLs that its hard to imagine life without them.

    In our case specifically it was more about taking a long complex URL and making it short and branding it with our name (in this case NewAvaya) which worked really well.

    And you raise a great point that HTML emails have been going this for years – just we enormously long URLs 😉

  • Tracey

    Travis, I think you can track individual clicks in HTML emails even using long URLs. I’ve done that in MailChimp, for example.

    Paul, really interesting to see your real-world example. Thanks!

  • @Tracey – glad you liked it!

  • this is an informative post!i have already started using bit.ly for my own plan.

  • @Tim – Bravo! Glad I could help …

  • @Paul, this is very nice info. Thanks for sharing it. I agree with @Travis – people are (especially socialmedia mavins) becoming more knowledgeable about traceable URLs, but I don’t think that stops them from clicking on it. Infact they are likely to click on it knowing that it is not a spam URL.

    Moreover, if one is really interested there are ways to get details info about these links.

  • @Jijesh – would love more detail on what you are suggesting as a way to get more info on these links – I have read about folks who are using Google analytics to get more data on them – is that what you are suggesting?

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