In addition to providing sports business commentary and unique analyses, the Online Sports Marketing Guy Blog is dedicated to bringing you reviews and announcements of the freshest and most noteworthy tools available in online marketing. This month, the Bread URL Shortener moved out of its beta stage and became available to the public.
Bread is a new URL shortener with a unique twist that will add value to your online marketing efforts. Much like other URL shorteners such as bit.ly or tinyurl, you can convert a URL of any length, including links with web analytics code, into a much shorter, condensed URL that leads to the same place. The benefits of these services are obvious, particularly for Twitter, where a URL with tracking has potential to consume all 140 of the characters you have to work with.
What differentiates Bread is its ability to deliver user-designed five-second advertisements while the visitor’s page loads. We were fortunate enough to be invited to Bread’s beta test along with the likes of Lady Gaga and Britney Spears (but I’m sure a couple of other people were also invited). So if you have clicked on a headline from OSM Guy on Twitter, or followed a link from us to this post, you got a sample of Bread on your way over.
Bread calls their five-second ads “toasts”, and they are essentially digital billboards that can be designed however an online marketer wants. You can create multiple toasts and they are rotated to keep your ads fresh. Take a look at our first two toasts:
We chose to rotate our toasts between a cross-sell to our Facebook page for our Twitter followers and information about our favorite non-profit organization, Hope For Stanley. The possibilities of what your team or organization can toast are endless, and the billboards are clickable and fully customizable. Sports teams would be savvy to cross-sell ticket or merchandise promotions from their social media links. Athletes could also improve their brand by simply saying hello to a fan through a toast or providing information about their next community appearance.
What makes the Bread URL shortener so great is that it gives online marketers of any sophistication or size the chance to deliver a professional branding experience. Bread also features a simple, elegant interface with only three links in the navigation: create link, my toasts, and explore. If you’re in a hurry, there is a one-click “Bread It” option that allows users to quickly shorten a URL and move on. In addition, the URL shortening service comes equipped with a free analytics package that tracks how many clicks each link has received over a 24 hour, 7 day, and 30 day period.
I will resist closing this post by stating that Bread is the best thing to come along since sliced bread, but it is an exciting new tool and the most innovative approach to URL shortening available.