An Introduction to Using UTM Parameters

2018/10/19 08:00

utm parameters

The benefits of UTM parameters and how to use them to track your marketing campaigns.

A key part of being successful online is knowing where your website traffic is coming from as well as which of your campaigns are delivering the best results.

Your website analytics will tell you exactly where your traffic is coming from but how do you know which guest blog posts, Facebook campaigns or Tweets are driving the most traffic to your site? The answer lies in UTM parameters.  

UTM Parameters: A Recap

Simply put, UTM parameters are the tags that you add to the end of a URL that will give you specific details about where your website traffic is coming from.

When you know which campaigns are bringing you the best results, it becomes clearer where you should be focusing your marketing efforts and your budget.

UTM parameters will not only track the platforms that are driving the most traffic but the content that is making the biggest contribution too. From social media to newsletters, you can add UTM parameters to absolutely any URL.

Generating UTM Parameters

Now that you understand what UTM parameters can do for your website, this is how you can create them yourself.

Google’s Campaign URL builder is the best tool to use to generate tags for your website and campaign URLs.

Once you’ve navigated to this website, you will be presented with a form that you will need to fill in for every UTM parameter that you want to create. Here are the fields that you will need to complete:

  • Website URL: This is the URL of the landing page that you will be sending visitors to
  • Campaign Source: This is the website or platform that your traffic will originate from. Twitter or MailChimp are examples.
  • Campaign Medium: This will help you identify the type of campaign that you will be running. Examples include social media, CPC and affiliate campaigns.
  • Campaign Name: This is the specific name of your marketing campaign. Winter Sale being an example.
  • Campaign Term: This field isn’t necessary unless you want to track specific keywords if you’re running AdWords campaigns.
  • Campaign Content: This field can be used to track details about an ad or campaign. It’s mostly used in the case of A/B testing to differentiate ads or content.

As you begin completing these fields, your campaign URL will begin to take shape. You can now use this URL to track a specific ad or marketing campaign.

UTM Parameter Best Practices

To keep the UTM process as simple as possible and ensure that you can easily analyze your data, there are a few best practices that should be followed.

  • Stick to one naming convention. This is particularly important if you’re working with multiple campaign URLs. When it comes to using UTM parameters, you need to be consistent to avoid confusion during the reporting stage of your campaigns. This means using all of the same parameters for all campaigns and being aware of capitalization, spaces, and symbols. By being consistent and keeping your parameters as simple and straightforward as possible, you won’t run into any problems later on.
  • Be organized. Keep a record of all of your tagged URLs in one spreadsheet so that everyone on your team has access to them. If multiple people will be creating UTM parameters, be sure to create a guide to your naming conventions to ensure that everyone is following the same guidelines.
  • Connect your data to your CRM. Doing so will help link your campaigns to revenue so that you can see how your marketing efforts are affecting your bottom line. The other option is to use Google Analytics to track your results.

Using Google Analytics to Track Your Campaign URLs

As you begin using your tagged URLs, you will also begin to see the results of your campaigns in Google Analytics.

To track your URLs, login to Google Analytics, click on Acquisition and Campaigns. Here will see the names of each of your campaigns and how much traffic reached your site from each of them. By clicking on the individual campaigns, you’ll be able to access additional data on the campaign source and medium.

Use this data to pull regular reports on your campaigns so that you can optimize your marketing budget and your efforts.