Bitly, the world’s first and leading Link Management Platform, announced that it received a $63 million majority investment from Spectrum Equity, a leading growth equity firm. The investment enables Bitly to expand its link management capabilities from a strong foothold in enterprise marketing to an increasingly diverse set of customers and teams. Founded in 2008, Bitly is used by millions of customers, including close to three quarters of the Fortune 500, who have collectively created over 32 billion links.
Businesses use Bitly’s intelligent links to gain greater transparency, control and data ownership across diverse and fragmented user experiences. This partnership with Spectrum, experienced builders of SaaS companies like Ancestry.com, SurveyMonkey, Lucid Software, and lynda.com, will help the company expand its tools and services. As part of this transaction, Pete Jensen and Parag Khandelwal from Spectrum Equity will join CEO Mark Josephson on the Board of Directors.
“Links exist in every single digital channel and are core to how businesses connect and communicate with their customers,” said Josephson. “There is an increasing opportunity to improve every click, tap, swipe, scroll and button-press and Spectrum is the perfect partner for Bitly at this stage.”
“This deal with Spectrum underscores Bitly’s emergence as the leader of link management, a new category that connects the customer experience and insights across product lines and departments,” Josephson continued. “We see a future where companies have more brand visibility in every channel, real time data access, and control over the customer journey because they have made link management a central part of all business units. Today’s announcement marks an important step towards this.”
“Bitly is one of the strongest brands on the internet and has achieved a level of ubiquity rarely seen,” said Jensen. “Mark and the leadership team at Bitly have done a great job turning the company from ‘free only’ to a fast growing and profitable freemium SaaS company. We’re excited to provide the capital, support and experience to help scale the business to the next level.”
Bitly was advised by GCA Global and Fenwick & West. Spectrum Equity was advised by Kirkland & Ellis. We caught up Bitly CEO, Mark Josephson to understand where these new funds might serve Bitly right away.
Will there be a new round of hiring after this announcement? If yes, what departments will see an increase in workforce?
Making Bitly better and stronger involves every team here. We already have open positions in all departments and expect to gradually add some more. We are always looking for talented individuals to join our team!
Where (internal/external) does Bitly plan on allocating this new round of investment?
Bitly is already the leading link management platform with three fourths of the Fortune 500 as our valued customers. The investment will help Bitly achieve our goal of empowering the best companies in the world to manage their links across all business units, which will lead to better digital experiences for all.
Marketers are and will continue to be core users of our offering, but building a great customer experience is a cross-departmental effort by nature. We think martech should bridge silos, not contribute to them, and given its simplicity, link management is a piece of the stack than can bring multiple teams’ efforts together. Therefore, we want to hear from and make sure we cater to each and every person within an organization who leverages links and plays a part in delivering CX, including customer service, mobile UX, even HR and recruiting.
Lastly, with 60% of Bitly’s clicks coming from outside the US, we’ll be exploring ways to expand our international footprint.
Would you tell us a bit about the new updates to Mobile Optimizer?
Apple, Google and Facebook are all striving to radically streamline their mobile experiences, which is great news for end users. Yet these updates also tighten the tech giants’ grip on their platforms and make it harder for brands to control how they engage with customers on mobile.
Moreover, each ecosystem has its own rules and protocols, and each of those rules is constantly changing. It’s difficult for marketers to keep up. Luckily deep links, which route directly to in-app content, can cut across these mobile walled gardens.
Bitly’s update to Mobile Optimizer lets customers “set and forget” their domain to automatically generate customizable links for mobile. In addition to making the links work with the latest iOS, Android and Facebook updates and standards, Bitly Enterprise users are now able to get a breakdown of all their mobile metrics, including device OS, app opens, app store visits, and app downloads, within the platform. This gives them a full view into how and when their customers are interacting with their content on mobile.
Here are some more details about the release:
– Facebook App Link Support: Facebook traditionally makes it hard to leave Facebook. For mobile users especially, there are broken experiences, long loading times, and mobile web mazes. For brands, it can be hard to configure links that match the deep linking tags required by Facebook. Now, in addition to supporting Apple’s Universal Links and Google’s App Links, Mobile Optimizer offers robust support for Facebook App Links. That means every Bitlink you create can bring Facebook mobile users right to your app.
– Mobile Metrics: Now, you can get a detailed breakdown of all your mobile metrics. In your Bitlink details, you’ll see that each deep link will track device operating system, app opens, app store visits, and app downloads.
– Link-Level Behavior: Mobile Optimizer now allows you to customize the deep linking destination of an individual link, so that the link sends people to a specific place within an app. You can customize what that journey looks like, whether you take users to your mobile website or to the app store on a specific link.