Improve Your Campaign Tracking with UTM Parameters
Updated: Aug 30
Are you running marketing activities?
Are you tracking the success of these activities?
We work with many people in the marketing industry, and surprisingly, we find that a lot of them are not aware of the importance of tracking their marketing activities.
So, we decided to share some of our best practices regarding the tracking of marketing activities through the use of UTM parameters in order to show how easy it can be, and how it can maximize your marketing efforts. Using these parameters optimally will allow you to make the most of your marketing budget.
Measuring your marketing activities with UTM parameters allows you to track the traffic you send to your landing pages and overall website. With proper usage, you will learn which traffic sources bring you the best return on investment (ROI), which will then give you the information you need to decide where to invest your budget.
UTM parameters are parameters that you add to the query string of the website’s URL. You can add any parameter to a URL by adding a question mark - “?” - at the end of a URL, and then the parameter.
For example, let’s take a look at our own website . Its URL is www.SRPro.marketing.
If we had wanted to add the parameter “year” to the URL, we would type:
To each parameter, you can add a value. In order to enter a value, use an equal sign after the parameter: www.SRPro.marketing?year=2017
To add more than one parameter to the URL, use the sign “&” to separate between the two parameters. For example: www.SRPro.marketing?year=2017&month=March. Now we have two parameters: year and month, and each of them will return a value.
If you need to use more than one word for value, enter an underscore sign to separate between the words, like this:
Now we can advance to effective parameters for measuring success. The common tracking link parameter method is “UTM”, so every link should include “UTM” parameters. Adding these parameters will help you track traffic with the Google Analytics tool. There are three main UTM parameters:
- The source of the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_source
- The medium of the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_medium
- The marketing campaign name that brought the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_campaign
There are two more UTM parameters that can be added. They are mostly added to paid campaigns in order to differentiate the keyword or term used in the paid ad:
The term/keyword that brought the traffic can be added to a query string of utm_term
The content that was used in the paid ad can be added to a query string of utm_content
There’s no right or wrong with UTM parameters’ structure or content, as long as you stay consistent in all your links.
Before we continue, let’s look at a final example that summarizes what we’ve learned so far:
We wanted this article to include three main parameters. It was posted in a LinkedIn pulse blog, so we chose the following UTM parameters: www.SRPro.marketing?utm_source=pulse_blog&utm_medium=LinkedIn&utm_campaign=Measuring_Marketing_Effectiveness_with_UTM_Parameters.
You can create your URL manually, or use Google URL Builder. Here’s how we added the above query strings to it:
- Please note that in the above link, Google changed the order of the parameters (because the medium is not always too clear). However, as mentioned above, it’s not critical if you are consistent, as you can always change the order back according to your needs.
So now that we all know what UTM parameters are, how can we maximize the benefits of this knowledge?
Using the UTM parameters to track marketing activity
As was mentioned above, EVERY link that brings traffic to your website/landing pages should include the UTM parameters, including paid ads, social media links, email links, and so on.
Make sure you have a Google Analytics (GA) tag on your landing/website pages in order to track each visit (you’d be surprised to know how many times we found them missing).
The easiest way to find whether you have the GA code on your site is as so:
1. Enter to your website/landing page.
2. Right-click on it and click “view source” on the menu.
3. On the new window click “ctrl + F” and search for “UA-“.
4. You should see a script that looks like this:
If you don’t see this code, ask your IT to add it to every page on your site.
Once all is set, it’s easy to see the various sources that bring traffic to your landing/ website pages, and you can compare the bounce rate of different pages, the conversion rate, and so on.
You can also add conversion tracking on your Google Analytics, so you will not only be able to track how many leads came from a specific source/ campaign, but also track how many of that source/ campaign leads actually converted (A dedicated post about Google Analytics will be featured in this blog in the near future).
In the following examples you can see that if you’re using the UTM parameters properly, you can get the relevant information in your Google Analytics:
If you have a benchmark of how much a new lead is worth to you, then it’s possible to add a “value” for each conversion. By doing so, you’ll eventually be able to see how many leads came from this source/ campaign and how much they’re worth (a sample is below, in the right column).
If you are using paid channels such as LinkedIn or Facebook ads, you will be able to compare the efficiency of each channel, and, in the long run, determine what portion of your marketing budget to invest in each channel.
We hope you found this article useful.
Feel free to contact us with any questions, ideas or marketing consulting inquiries at – firstname.lastname@example.org.