Running a successful campaign that delivers business results is the primary goal for any digital marketer. To show those results and to assess your return on investment (ROI), you need to track the strategy and execution of your campaigns. UTM parameters can help you do that by giving you the information you need to measure the success of your campaigns.
UTM parameters are customizable pieces of text that allow analytics software such as Google Analytics to track people who visit your website from specific marketing campaigns. You apply UTMs to the end of a URL to track it so when a user clicks on the link, the UTMs reach Google Analytics.
There are five UTM parameters you can add to your URLs:
- utm_source: The source sending traffic your website such as a publication, social media channel or advertiser
- utm_medium: The marketing medium where the link appears
- utm_campaign: The promotion or campaign name
Additional optional parameters include:
- utm_term: Used if you are manually tagging a paid keyword campaign to specify the keyword you are using
- utm_content: Used to differentiate links used in the same ad or similar content
To illustrate how you would use UTM parameters, let’s assume you want to run a campaign called “Spring Promotion” and want to track any link to your website from emails sent about this promotion.
Your UTM parameters would be assigned the following values:
utm_source: spring-mailer (to identify website visitors that come from your Spring Promotion emails)
utm_medium: email (to identify traffic from the email campaign)
utm_campaign: spring-promotion (to identify the overall marketing campaign)
Your URLs with UTM parameters would look like this:
How We Use UTM Parameters for Our Clients
At Velir, we help clients optimize their UTM parameters and consistently tag campaign URLs with the correct parameters. This allows them to gain valuable insights about how their campaigns are performing and make impactful improvements to them. We also help our clients understand the results of their marketing campaigns and get the most out of their reporting. This measurement strategy and execution empowers our clients to make data-driven decisions that put them on the path to achieving their business goals.
Some benefits of UTM parameters include:
- Capturing vital data on all your marketing efforts so you know the most effective places to spend your marketing budget
- Learning about campaign visitors through reports in Google Analytics that show you how they navigate your website
- Providing historical data that can be used to inform future campaigns, and increase your ROI
Tips on How to Use UTM Parameters
UTM parameters should be applied to any links that need to be tracked, such as links from:
- Social media campaigns
- Email campaigns
- Press releases
- Banner/display ads (not through Google Display Network)
Do not use UTM parameters in conjunction with Google Ads or Display Network activities. Instead use auto-tagging, which Google automatically generated. If UTM parameters are manually added, visits in Google Analytics will be double counted so it is important to be very careful when using them.
Use consistent campaign naming conventions for the utm_campaign field and follow these guidelines:
- Keep the name as short as possible, but unique and descriptive
- You can use abbreviations, if they are easy to understand
- Make all letters lowercase (UTMs are case-sensitive)
- Do not use spaces
In short, UTM parameters are key to seeing the full return on investment for your marketing campaigns. They are easy to implement and give you data that can transform the way you market to your audiences. Once you start using them and seeing the power of data that comes from them, you will never look back.