The 4 Stages of Customer Experience

The average customer is connected to five different devices and constantly switching channels to research, discover, and purchase a product. So the average customer experience is anything but predictable.

There are a million places the customer could be, which means there are a million places marketers have to keep checking, updating, and measuring.    

Meanwhile, organic engagement on social media is becoming a thing of the past. Facebook wants brands to publish directly to the social platform. Google dominates search and mobile browsing. Apple controls the app experience for every customer using an iPhone, an iPad, or an Apple Watch.  

Marketers can’t own what they can’t see and, among so many walled gardens, brands are ceding control of relationships with customers to giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple.

Complexity stands in the way of owning the customer’s experience, because data is trapped across devices and channels, systems and teams are siloed, and resources are limited. 


That’s why we’ve worked hard to give marketers a way to see clearly across the Internet… and it all starts with the link.

When you use trackable Bitlinks in every customer touchpoint, you have a holistic, unbiased view across all of the ecosystems, channels, and platforms that make up a marketer’s day-to-day. 

This is important – today, Customer Experience is the lifecycle of a potential customer as he or she researches options, discovers your brand, purchases your solution, and becomes loyal to your brand. If you can’t clearly see your customer journey, you’ll never be able to create an unforgettable experience wherever he or she is next.

A great customer experience is built from four different stages:

Brand Integrity

Frictionless Experience

Multichannel Experience


Here’s how you can get started with each stage and how Bitly can help:

1. Brand Integrity

A truly great customer experience starts before someone is even a customer. Rather than trying to sell right away, marketers need to build brand integrity beyond the website.

By becoming a go-to resource for entertainment, expertise, or advice, marketers can elevate the profile of the brand… especially by ensuring that your branded content is consistent across every channel.

Bitly’s Branded Short Domains build strong relationships with your audience by ensuring that every touchpoint shows a branded link. Redbull uses the branded short domain of (echoing “Red Bull Gives You Wings”) to create that sense of brand identity on digital channels:


Ecommerce shop Vissla uses branded links to build brand awareness and create compelling calls-to-action:

Branded Link with a Custom Back-Half

Customers trust branded short domains more – on average, a branded short domain sees a 34% higher click-through rate than an unbranded domain.  Thanks to auto-branding, Branded Short Domains also allows you to brand all of your content as it gest shared across social networks, too. 

When you choose a branded domain, you’re branding the single most visible element of your marketing: the link.

2. Multi-Channel Experience

According to Adweek, a quarter of US consumers will consult social media sites before making a purchase and 40% of millennials use social media just to ask for gift ideas. If their experience is good on a social channel, 71% of consumers are likely to recommend the brand to others.

There’s no telling what device these customers will use for these searches. Two-thirds of web traffic to online retail is mobile and Google announced last year that more than half of the search giant’s traffic is mobile now. That’s important, too, considering that research shows 44% of consumers start looking for products by a search engine.

The customer experience multi-channel and Bitly’s Campaign Builder can map out your customer’s journey like never before. Campaign Builder allows you to aggregate all of your links in one powerful, easy-to-use dashboard. If you use Bitlinks for every customer touchpoint, this gives you visibility into every channel your customers are using as they interact with your brand.

Ecommerce surf shop Vissla uses Campaign Builder to track content performance across media placements, Instagram, and email in one place:

multichannel customer experience

Or maybe you’re trying to drill down into different markets around the country.

One streaming music service used Bitlinks within the app and across affiliate programs with partners. Each Campaign in Campaign Builder was categorized by region, then divided into channels by affiliate or in-app notifications. When the team delved deeper into channels, they could tell, for example, which artists were most popular in which cities and who was most likely to sell out a venue.  

Enterprises with franchises or brands can use Campaign Builder to track engagement across different locations as well. As long as each location has one specific set of links, this valuable customer data can be integrated into a broader picture of how people interact with your brand.




You can also track the performance of paid ads all in one place, which is crucial when trying to compare metrics from Google, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels.

Since links can be used in offline promotions like magazine ads, surveys, business cards, and direct mail, Campaign Builder can bridge silos between teams and let you see every step of the nonlinear customer journey, allowing you to optimize content, investments, and even future product planning.  

3. Frictionless Experience


Want to convert more customers? Make the experience frictionless. 

Research from KISSMetrics found that nearly half (40%) of web visitors will abandon a page if it takes three or more seconds to load… and 51% of mobile visitors say they’ve been on a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.

You never know what kind of device a customer is going to use to access your content. With Bitly Mobile Optimizer, you can enable all of your links to immediately detect the device type, simplifying the experience so each customer is sent to exactly the right place each time.

Trying to re-engage app users? Get more people to install the app? Send people to a specific page within an app?

With Mobile Optimizer’s deep links, you can create a seamless customer experience for everyone who engages with your branded content, no matter which link they click or what channel they use.

You can use a single Bitlink with Mobile Optimizer and deploy it across email, social, and partner channels, then track where the most app opens and store visits are taking place. The Bitlink will automatically detect device type and operating system, simplifying the customer experience and giving marketers the insights they need.

Deep links customer experience

Making the customer experience frictionless pays off.

By using Mobile Optimizer to integrate Bitly deep links with social sharing buttons, the Associated Press is able to drive 500,000 app opens and 3,000 app store visits each month… without having to pay to promote the apps.  

4. Personalization

If you know your audience, personalization begins with the content and offers you know they want. If you measure where your content is resonating, which segments of your audience respond the best, and their preferred devices and channels, then you can easily create a personalized customer experience.

That’s where Bitly’s Audience Intel comes into play. Audience Intel shows how customers are engaging wherever you put a link, drilling down into:

– Total uniques across all channels

– Geolocation by country & city

– Referring social networks, websites, blogs, influencers

– Device type, time of day, day of week, and more

Here’s a glimpse of an Audience Intel report when drilling into the behavior of a publisher’s mobile Facebook audience, specifically those who are using iPhones and iPads:




With Audience Intel, you can gauge exactly which customer touchpoints are performing best – whether you want to know which social network is the best investment, which city is most interested in your latest product release, or how your mobile audience interacts on Facebook.

Audience Intel provides unrivaled insights into performance at a franchise, geo, individual or brand-level, too, with user seats that can be managed and adjusted as needed.
Cox Media Group, for example, uses Bitlinks to gauge performance of 70+ brands from an organization-wide level, publication level, and journalist level.

Seeing Everywhere at Once

Bitly Enterprise empowers organizations to understand the customer experience across the customer lifecycle. By building brand integrity with Branded Short Domains, using the powerful cross-channel analytics of Campaign Builder, creating seamless mobile journeys of Mobile Optimizer, and delivering data-driven personalization with Audience Intel, you can see across all of the channels, tools, and platforms you use in your day-to-day.

When you aren’t trapped in walled gardens, you can own the customer experience without relying on third parties. And that’s how you build relationships that last a lifetime.  


Want to see how Bitly Enterprise can help build a great customer experience? Watch the demo!

Blaise Lucey @BlaiseLucey00
Director of Product & Content Marketing