UTM Parameters Guide & Free UTM Link Builder
I still get surprised when I come across businesses that don't have campaign tracking in place, nevertheless this is not that uncommon.
If you have been struggling on how to track the performance of your campaigns and find it difficult to understand what are UTM parameters, keep reading!
What are UTM Parameters?
UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are tags that you add to the end of a URL. When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking.
There are 5 parameters you can add to your URLs:
utm_source: the place users are before seeing your content. Used to identify the platform, advertiser, search engine, site, publication, etc. For example: google, facebook, twitter, mailchimp.
utm_medium: describes how users arrived at your content, for example: cpc, email, social.
utm_campaign: the campaign name - unique campaign identifier.
utm_term: used for paid search keywords to specify the keyword.
utm_content: used to identify an ad, button or link. For example, if you have two call-to-action links within the same email, you can use utm_content to differentiate them and therefore analyse which one had the best performance.
UTM parameters example:
This is the URL we used to publish our How to Perform an On-Page SEO Audit blog post on LinkedIn.
As you can see, the utm_source is LinkedIn, the utm_medium is organic-social (because this was an organic post, in case this was an ad we would use paid-social) and the utm_campaign is seo-audit. This is the campaign name we used across all channels where we published this blog post URL.
Why is it important to add UTM parameters to your campaign's URLs?
By adding UTM parameters to your campaign's destination URLs, you can gather information about the performance of your campaigns, and therefore understand what campaigns and channels were the most effective.
To analyse campaign performance go to your Google Analytics account under Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns.
If you haven't yet installed a Google Analytics account for your website, learn how to do it here.
UTM parameters best practices
1. Define a naming convention for your UTMs
It is important that you define a naming convention for your UTM parameters, so you'll avoid confusion and ensure your information is properly organised.
UTM parameters are case sensitive, so it matters if your source is Facebook or facebook, for example.
Be consistent, use dashes or underscores instead of spaces, keep your campaigns' name simple but descriptive and make sure you use the same campaign name if you're promoting your campaign across different channels.
2. Don't tag your destination URLs in Google Ads
As long as your Analytics account is linked to your Google Ads account and you have auto-tagging
enabled, you don't need to tag your destination URLs in Google Ads. Analytics automatically tracks all Google Ads campaigns.
If you run paid search campaigns on search engines other than Google, then you'll need to tag the destination URLs for those ads.
3. Keep track of your UTM URLs
The best way to ensure that you and your team are aligned is to keep track of your UTM URLs. At Strategy Pixel we want to help you do that, so we created this free UTM Link Builder spreadsheet for you.
Use the UTM Parameters tab to define your naming conversion, it is pre-filled with some examples but you can change it and adapt it to your business needs. In the UTM Link Builder tab you'll be able to place the URL you'd like to tag, select the UTM parameters and it's ready to copy and paste to your campaigns.
To avoid long tagged URLs, which may be not user friendly, you should shorten them. For that, I recommend using tools such as bit.ly.
Tracking your campaign's URLs will allow you to gather information about the performance of your campaigns, and therefore understand what campaigns and channels were the most effective.
To ensure your information is properly organised and understandably, make sure you define a naming convention for your UTM parameters and share it with your team, so everyone is on the same page.
Use our free UTM Link Builder spreadsheet to get started!
If you need any help with your Google Analytics or campaign tracking setup, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team will be glad to help you!