Common Ad Tracking Mistake: URL Shorteners (i.e. bit.ly, etc.)

 

One of the most common mistakes we see with Ad tracking is the use of "Shorteners" in the URL for the Ad.  This goes for Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.  Most URL "Shorteners" strip tracking parameters off of a link when doing the redirect.
 
This is important because if an ad is clicked and the tracking parameters are gone, those clicks won't be tracked by Wicked Reports and your attribution for that ad will look terrible.
 
Here's a quick example:
 
 
Compared to 
 
 
Notice when you clicked the shortened link, when you ended up at that landing page, the tracking parameters were gone?

For bit.ly specifically, here's what we've seen:

If bit.ly/link1 redirects to http://www.wickedreports.com, then bit.ly/link1?UTM_Source=Facebook will drop the URL parameters and redirect to http://www.wickedreports.com
If bit.ly/link2 redirects to http://www.wickedreports.com?UTM_Source=Facebook, then bit.ly/link2 will redirect to http://www.wickedreports.com?UTM_Source=Facebook with the UTM parameters.

The catch is that they'd need a unique bit.ly link for each UTM set they want to track. AND in the case of a FB ad, they have to be the same URL tracking parameters out auto-updater would use.
 
Note: This example only applies to bit.ly and the way it handles UTM parameters. Other shortener services should be specifically tested.
 

Here's a video to explain in more detail, what happens.