Bitly Signs Data Licensing Deal With SEO Giant

Link shortening service starts selling insights into social media behavior.

Bitly's seen most of its revenue from taking advantage of its own data set for brand management services.

Bitly’s seen most of its revenue from taking advantage of its own data set for brand management services.

Bitly is entering the data licensing business, announcing today that it will partner with SEO marketer Moz to provide insight into social marketing data. Bitly CEO Mark Josephson told Betabeat today that this is the first deal of its kind for Bitly, who will now start providing Moz “limited” access to their user database.

Through its service, which shortens links and tracks their detailed engagement data over time, Bitly processes half a billion links and 6 billion clicks each month. “On those 6 billion clicks, we see over 600 million active users,” said Mr. Josephson, “We’re looking selectively for the right partners to leverage that data.”

Twitter and other social media platforms sell their user activity data to marketers, but Bitly’s analytics aren’t limited to Twitter, and have insight beyond shares, into what’s actually being clicked. These detailed reports on engagement make Bitly’s analytics uniquely insightful to a company like Moz, which does SEO consulting and analytics.

“Marketers need to understand link popularity, and the velocity of a link,” Mr. Josephson said, “For example, we know that there’s no such thing as a slow climb of content. Links become popular in bursts, and then there’s a fade. For companies who are interested in SEO, being able to get that kind of information fast and on more broad scale is essential.”

Bitly’s premium product until now has been branding tools – allowing companies like ESPN and The New York Times to monitor who is clicking through to their content (think: “”). Licensing broader access to their data isn’t so much a business pivot as it is a new way to leverage Bitly’s database for a different kind of client, allowing the Bitly database to become viable outside of in-house brand tools.

“It’s about maximizing the asset,” Mr. Josephson said.