Driving Innovation at Bitly- A Conversation with Senior Director Dee Dee de Kenessey banner

URL shortener services reduce the length of links while maintaining a connection between the original and new links. These services minimize the web page address into something which is easier to track and remember.

Bitly is an indispensable tool for digital marketing. Bitly’s services are backed with analytics and simplicity. It is a comprehensive platform that offers multiple services along with link shortening. These include QR codes, Link-in-bio, and more. Initially, Bitly was introduced to shorten the length of Tweets so that users could mix links without exceeding the character limits. With increasing advancements, the tool became more sophisticated and versatile. Bitly is now used for different platforms like YouTube. 

To gain further insights into Bitly and its drive for digital innovation, we interviewed Dee Dee de Kenessey, senior director of product marketing at Bitly. Let’s learn more about her. 

Who is Dee Dee de Kenessey?

Dee Dee de Kenessey is the Senior Director of the Product Marketing team at Bitly. She has previously worked with top companies such as GTM Strategy, Spotify, Shopify Plus, and others. Dee Dee was also an Inbound Professor at Hubspot. She covered multiple topics ranging from blogging, SEO, and contextual marketing.
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1) Can you explain your role in developing Bitly’s products and services?

 Yes! I work on the product marketing team here at Bitly, where we are responsible for driving the products to the market. We help with adoption and growth beyond the initial product launch and work to find unique expansion opportunities for the company. We are responsible for everything from market research and pricing and packaging to partnering with marketing to create messaging and internal enablement.

We guide and support Bitly’s evolution. Our roots started as a single link-shortening tool and have now evolved into Bitly’s Connections Platform. This multi-product platform helps brands and businesses of all sizes build meaningful connections with their audiences. We have millions of global users and hundreds of thousands of customers who use our branded links, QR Codes, and link-in-bio solutions. 

Some of the ways we are growing Bitly’s offerings can be seen through our recently launched updates, including a new Customizable Dashboard for Bitly Analytics and our new API for 2D Barcodes. The new Bitly API is revolutionizing the retail and CPG industry in innovative ways. 

2D Barcodes help retailers, and CPG companies create countless 2D Barcodes to scale hundreds of thousands of codes for seamless integration and efficiency across all operations.

2) How has your experience at Bitly now been?

Fantastic. Bitly is one of the most unique places I’ve ever worked. The culture here is extremely inclusive, which is evident as the people at Bitly truly care about one another. We strive together to create the absolute best experience we can for our customers. That’s apparent from every interaction and decision made - it’s perhaps the friendliest, smartest, most down-to-earth group of individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Plus, Bitly is at a pivotal point in its evolution as a company, so being part of such rapid growth while helping drive the company's expansion is incredible. 

3) Most people know Bitly as a URL shortener. Can you share more about how Bitly has evolved into a Connections Platform?

Bitly will always offer link-shortening services. However, our Connected Platform has expanded to include even more products and services that our customers need to evolve their businesses. 

Our roots in link shortening have led us to evolve into a multi-product platform that encompasses a broad range of tools to improve our user's online and offline connection needs. From QR Codes and 2D Barcodes to Link-in-Bio pages and our own Analytics tools, Bitly has a breadth of products that are all intricately woven together to provide meaningful connections and outcomes for our customers.

4) Can you share use cases of boosting marketing efforts using link shorteners and QR Code creators?

Absolutely! Bitly has been working closely with partners across all types of industries, including retail and CPG, as well as large and small businesses. Our goal is to help create the right products that anyone can use to build stronger connections with audiences everywhere by using our unified Connections Platform. 

As consumers become more conscious of the brands that they engage with, there has been a clear shift towards the importance of utilizing the phygital world. You might be wondering what phygital means, and to provide a bit of context, it is the blending of physical and digital realms, really showing how consumers interact with and remember the brands they engage with. Bitly’s customer, Rad Power Bikes, took that notion in stride. 

Rad Power Bikes use Bitly QR Codes, which are a scannable version of short links, throughout its retail locations to connect in-person purchases with online engagement. By using Bitly QR Codes, Rad Power Bikes can gain valuable insights into customer behavior, enhancing consistency in in-store interactions and digital touchpoints. 

For example, Rad Power Bikes placed Bitly QR codes directly on products in stores and tracked which placements attracted the highest number of QR Code scans in each retail location. By analyzing insights gathered from these QR Codes, Rad Power Bikes was able to discover valuable trends and insights to refine their in-store and digital experiences better to drive traffic appropriately. 

Bitly QR Codes enable Rad Power bikes to deepen their understanding of each rider’s journey with the brand, fostering more meaningful connections with their customers and extending in-person retail experiences to their digital channels.

5) You recently introduced a customizable analytics dashboard. Can you explain what its capabilities are?

Yes! We are very excited to introduce our new Customizable Dashboard for Analytics. It helps our customers better understand the high-level and specific activities of their click and scan performance in one place. Analyzing link and QR code data should be as easy as making them. Our goal is to help our customers streamline their analysis so that they can make decisions faster and confidently optimize their campaigns and performances. 

Currently, four different modules allow users to understand their data. This includes clicks and scans over time, clicks and scans by referrer, top performing by clicks and scans, and clicks and scans by location. These allow customers to know when, where, and how their audience engages with their brand and products. 

For example, let’s say you’re running an advertising campaign in key markets nationwide using Bitly QR Codes to drive traffic to your website from each advertisement. Users can use real-time scan data by location to uncover where your most engaged audience is geographically. Then, they can tailor campaigns based on these insights and explore how you can encourage action in less-engaged areas. 

6) Analytics have become the core of business intelligence, which requires data professionals to process big data. How is Bitly’s new analytics dashboard useful for them?

Data is shared, collected, and processed everywhere. There is a big appetite and demand for analyzing and using data. However, understanding and utilizing data can be challenging and often reserved for the experts. The primary goal behind developing analytics was to make data accessible to all. 

We’ve intentionally created intuitive and user-friendly dashboards that make data analysis as easy as possible. Through the dashboards, professionals of all experiences are able to understand and use the data they’ve collected. To minimize any learning curve and adoption time, a first-time user can see default modules as soon as they open their dashboard. All of the modules within Bitly Analytics are customizable by metric, chart, or visualization type. This means users can adapt their dashboard to fit their needs best.

7) Can you share the top 3 KPIs your new dashboard provides to digital and offline marketers?

The 3 key KPIs that our new dashboard offers for digital and offline marketers are explained below. 

  • Site (website or landing page) traffic metrics help measure total visits, top sources, and location. For digital and offline marketers alike, it’s important to understand how your audience finds your brand, where they are, and how many are engaging. Offline marketers can look at QR Code traffic to understand which placements are working and which are not. 
  • Content engagement metrics measure total clicks and downloads, allowing marketers to better understand how effectively the brand’s content resonates with their audience. It also shows how engaged they are with the material provided. Knowing where audiences are most engaged helps marketers allocate resources and investments better. 
  • Email and social engagement can be verified by measuring links clicked to websites, landing pages, or promotions. These also show marketers how their messages resonate with their audiences. Marketers can access this tool both online and offline. Offline marketers can measure things like social media follows, coupon or promotion claims, and app downloads based on the placement of their QR codes. 

8) Does your dashboard come free with all premium user plans?

Yes, our analytics dashboard is included in all our premium plans. Depending on the plan a customer chooses, they’ll have access to additional features tailored to meet their specific needs.

9) The hype of AI is reaching every business. Do you have AI integrated into your business? How do you think AI can help enhance your product?

Bitly leverages the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across multiple facets of our organization, including sales, support, engineering, and trust and safety. Furthermore, we are engaged in continuous experimentation to uncover innovative methods to harness the potential of this emerging technology. 

Our approach is guided by a commitment to thoughtful implementation, with an emphasis on governance, education, and ethical considerations. Additionally, our product team is actively exploring the potential of AI to enhance the value of our offerings.

10) How do you think AI can help enhance marketing efforts and results?

There is an incredible opportunity for AI to evolve the marketing landscape, creating even more powerful brand campaigns coupled with strategies that will yield more impactful, result-driven outcomes.

I believe that AI will be a poignant player in these three key areas: 

  • Conversion: Businesses will have the opportunity to more accurately predict and identify potential customers while also optimizing resource allocation. 
  • Customer Segmentation: With the use of AI, marketers will be able to create even more tailored marketing messaging and narratives for each audience segment that they are targeting.
  • Churn-Prediction Analyses: As customers become more nuanced and particular about the brands that they engage with, AI will provide marketers with the knowledge and education to create better predictive models, which will inform how they approach strategies for customer retention while also gaining insights into more effective targeting for each customer base. 

Overall, I believe that AI Is poised to make marketers’ data-driven efforts even more simplified but also more insightful, improving campaign performance and results. 

11) Anyone can use Bitly. Does Bitly have security measures in place to prevent supporting such activities? How so?

As a company, we feel a deep sense of responsibility to ensure the safety of our users as they shorten, click, and engage with URLs and QR Codes daily. Our mission is to foster a safe, transparent, and trustworthy Internet experience for our users worldwide. 

We built a Trust and Safety team who are tasked to ensure that our users can safely and confidently engage with links and QR Codes that are created on the Bitly Connections Platform. 

Our three-part approach includes: 

1. Safety

We want to make the Internet a safer place. We have developed a proprietary approach using our patent-pending Bitly Abuse Prevention System. Our system is designed to monitor and remove URLs that could harm our users. 

2. Partnerships

Trust forms the foundation of meaningful connections. The Internet is an incredible place to learn, connect, and communicate. However, some elements are used for nefarious purposes. Bitly has created strong relationships with NGOs to help with the disruption of nefarious activities online as well as combating phishing campaigns at scale. We engage with many trust and safety organizations to stay proactive in adopting best practices and to contribute to and leverage the growing knowledge base of the community. 

3. Support

We developed easy-to-use tools and resources to give our users more confidence when they engage with and create Bitly links and QR Codes. The Bitly Trust Center is a dedicated system that can check the destination of a Bitly link, a form that anyone can use to report abuse or a link that points to harmful content, as well as an appeals process if a user believes a link was blocked incorrectly. We have a dedicated team that reviews the abuse reports we receive and blocks the link so harmful content can no longer be reached via Bitly. 

12) Your brand actively works on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Has it grown into your product as well?

With the growing awareness of the importance of web accessibility, we have recently focused on making Bitly usable to the widest possible audience, including those using assistive devices.

While it is a work in progress, we are increasingly adopting inclusive design principles and accessibility checks throughout our design and development process to make sure we’re meeting the needs of our wide spectrum of users.

13) Many companies that provide link shortening have come and gone. What’s your secret sauce for sustaining and growing your business for 12 years?

We are dedicated to constantly evolving and attentively listening to our customers. We understand that in today’s world, adaptability is key, which is why our journey has naturally evolved into a versatile multi-product platform tailored to help brands and businesses create meaningful connections with their audiences.

The company also knows that the best brands can create unique customer experiences. In fact, according to a study by Wunderman, 79% of consumers said that “brands have to demonstrate that they understand and care about me before they are going to consider purchasing.” 

We know that people are growing an appetite for more timely information and interactive experiences with brands. And there’s a desire for those interactions to happen both online and offline, to connect with people wherever they happen to be. In an information-dense world, it’s up to companies to break through the noise and form meaningful connections with their audiences, both in the physical and digital worlds.

Bitly’s Connections Platform empowers Bitly users to not only create these connections but also carefully track and analyze their impact. From link management to QR Code creation, all of Bitly’s features work together to simplify what can otherwise be a disjointed process. 

Our “secret sauce” truly is our ability to listen to and prioritize the needs our customers vocalize above everything else. We always place their interests at the front of our decision-making process so that we can make sure that every enhancement, update, and feature addition also aligns with their business needs. That helps us foster a culture of innovation and long-lasting partnerships that are built on trust and mutual growth. 

14) As one of the most useful marketing tools today, what can we expect from Bitly in the next 5 years?

Short links and QR Codes are the conduits for deeper digital and physical connections. But what happens on the other side matters just as much. Once a link or QR Code is created and shared, I always ask questions like “Where are people being sent?”, “What experience are they having?” and “Are they taking the next step and making a purchase or deepening their engagement with the brand?” 

Companies need to create unique, personalized destinations for their audiences, making it easy for people to discover relevant content and take action that leads to meaningful results for the business. As we continue to build out the Bitly Connections Platform, we want to make all of this as simple and seamless as possible for our users.

Key Takeaway

  • Bitly has expanded into a comprehensive Connections Platform that offers a suite of products. These products include Branded links, QR code solutions, customizable analytics dashboards, and more. 
  • Bitly caters to the needs of multiple industries by enabling strong connections through short links and QR codes. This is clearly illustrated by the success story of Rad Power Bikes improving customer engagement. 
  • Digital campaigns can be optimized with real-time data on clicks, scans, and audience engagement. All this can effectively be done through the customizable analytics dashboard. 
  • The company has successfully integrated AI to better its products and operations. Artificial intelligence has impacted key areas, including marketing strategies, customer segmentation, and conversion optimization. 
  • Bitly is committed to ensuring web accessibility and user inclusivity. The platform strives to become accessible to all, irrespective of their abilities. 
  • In the future, Bitly will thrive on creating more personalized and meaningful digital and physical connections. The company will continue to adapt and modify to customer needs and technological advancements. 

Follow the pioneering journey of Dee Dee de Kenessey and connect with her on Linkedin. Read our existing interviews with the top leaders at MobileAppDaily interviews. Furthermore, to stay updated with our latest interviews subscribe to MobileAppDaily


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