What's an API?
An API is a way to pass data from one system or app to another. Hundreds of thousands of people send information through Bitly's API every day.
We've updated our API to v4 (version 4), and it's important that you're connecting to Bitly using this latest version, because all old versions will stop working when we shut them off on March 1, 2020.
So how do you know if you're using Bitly's API?
The short answer: If you create a Bitly link or view your click data without logging in to Bitly's web page, then you're using our API.
Start with checking your settings to see if your account is connected via the API. This won't show you what you're connected to or which version you're using, but you can rule out if API changes affect you at all.
- Go to your profile menu and select Profile Settings.
- Select Security.
- Look for any entries that are listed as Bitly API.
Here are some other clues. You might be an API user if ...
... you've used the words "Bitly" and "integration" in the same sentence.
When you, your administrator, or a technical contact changes another app's settings to set up an integration with Bitly, it indicates that the app is using the API to connect the two systems. We have a list that includes many apps with built-in integrations to Bitly.
... you're using a tool to create social posts or messages that automatically shorten your links with Bitly.
Whether you use a social media platform or a messaging system for email or SMS, if you add a link to a message and it's automatically shortened with your Bitly account, that means the platform is sending the link to Bitly and then retrieving the shortened link through the API.
... you can view your click metrics and analytics without logging in at bitly.com.
Some platforms will display how many clicks your shortened links are getting. They may show you the data in a report or inline with each link. This is often a way to display the click metrics and social engagement side by side. To retrieve that click data from Bitly, those systems are using the API.
... you shorten links without going to bitly.com.
There are apps and extensions for mobile devices and browsers that allow you to shorten a link for a page right when you’re viewing it. The best examples are Bitly's own Chrome extension, Firefox extension, and mobile app. All of these use the API to connect to Bitly and create your links.
How do you know if you're using the latest version of the API, v4?
The biggest clue would be if you’re asked to enter a Bitly API key to connect to Bitly. API keys are a method used in the old versions of the API and are no longer supported in v4. Instead, v4 uses OAuth access tokens.
To know which version of the API you’re using, you'd have to ask the people who built the integration. You don't want your digital marketing efforts to come to a halt when we shut down the old API on March 1, so please do take action if you have any doubts.
What to do if you've built your own integration
If you worked with a developer to build your own integration with an in-house database or analytics system, work with your technical contacts to make sure you're using API v4. Up-to-date information about our API is available on our developer site at dev.bitly.com.
You can also view our Bitly Expert Webinar, Migrating to API v4.
What to do if you use a product with its own Bitly integration
Maybe you're using a product like Dynamic Signal, Pardot, or Sprinklr (check the list at the bottom of this page). In this case, check in with the vendor if you don't see them on the list below.
When a product updates to API v4, the vendor will put your existing connection through an OAuth flow, which will give them an access token to use for all future calls. That's tech talk for: You shouldn't have to do a thing.
Companies who are updating their integrations
While Bitly can't update an integration managed by someone else, we've been advocating for our customers by reaching out and asking other companies to ensure their products are updated.
Companies with the following products have notified Bitly that their integrations will continue to be operational on March 1. If you are using a product that's not listed here, please contact your vendor directly and ask if they've updated their Bitly integration to v4.
We will update this list as we receive confirmations. As of February 13, 2020:
Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Salesforce Social Studio