On Twitter, Who Clicks On What? — DataSift Signs bitly Partnership To Finally Find Out

DataSift – which provides developers and third parties with a platform to access realtime data from Twitter, Facebook and other social sources – is on a bit of a roll. This week it announced it had raised $15.25 million in a Series B funding taking its funding to date to $30 million. Today it announces a strategic partnership with URL shortener and data platform bitly. The upshot is that you will be able to see not just what’s been shared on Twitter and the number of shares, but also see what’s is actually getting clicked.

bitly is used to share more than 80 million new links every day, with more than 200 million clicks per day on a bitty link. Datasift will now be able to take bitly data and do what it does with Twitter’s data, ie.e, look at all the activity across it.

The move is quite significant, because social media marketers are always going on about ‘engagement’. The trouble is, they have no way of measuring what that engagement actually amounts so. You can see, for instance, that Obama’s victory tweet had a record number of retweets. But you can’t tell how many people actually saw the Retweets in their stream and whether they then clicked on the picture. This partnership holds out the possibility of really being able to understand that.

Until now bitly has never given their data out as, Datasift’s founder Nick Halstead tells me. They’ve never had a partner big enough to take their firehouse and also be able to filter it. Datasift sole partnership with Twitter sealed the deal.

“Monitoring companies talk about engagement. But just because people are sharing links on Facebook and Twitter doesn’t mean they click on them. Retweets don’t indicate if followers are clicking on links either. 100,000 people might have ‘seen’ a tweeted link but not clicked on it or retweeted it themselves,” says Halstead.

A Tweet with a link might have the a potential ‘reach’ (in advertising terms) of a 1,000 users but, but only two clicks. And remember, spam accounts pushes up the potential reach.

But with the Datasift and bitly combination, it will be possible to see who’s clicking on what.

Peter Stern, CEO, bitty said “Thanks to our partnership with DataSift, we are helping companies find actionable insights from social media based on the best metric of engagement: a click.”

The partnership is also symbiotic. Bitly gets revenue from Datasift every time they sell a feed. But there’s more incentive to use bitly as a service bacause of the potential you can pull out of it from Datasift’s platform.

“We hope to see a slew of new product offerings because this bitly data has not been available in this form before,” says Halstead.

Lastly, there is a potential upside for publishers. Because they wil be able to tell what headlines get the most clicks on Twitter, they will be able to engage in content optimization.

Some publishers get 50% of their traffic from Facebook and Twitter – so it makes sense that they will spend money on social media optimisation services like the Bitly/Datasift combination.