The easiest and best way to use UTM Parameters

Today I will be writing about UTM parameters. I will share my experience of using them as well as the easiest and best way to use them. But before that, if you do not know what UTM Parameters are and why are they used please click here to learn about the Urchin Tracking Module and its Parameters.

A brief introduction, UTM parameters are small tags added at the end of a URL which helps analytics to track your website traffic up to 5 levels – the source, medium, campaign, term and content.

When a link with UTM tags is clicked, Google Analytics reads it and tracks the campaign source.

Easy and Best Practices

It’s best to follow certain guidelines and standard practices while creating UTM parameters. These guidelines must be customized for your business. One of the general ones is to use lower case letters always while creating UTM tags as UTM tags are case sensitive.

Please follow the steps below to create customized guidelines for your business:

  1. List down all the sources which send the traffic to your website. Sources can be Google, Facebook, Instagram, Email, Twitter, influencers, etc.
  2. List down all the mediums you use to send traffic to your website like – cpc (for all paid traffic), social, affiliate, partner etc.
  3. List down all the Campaign objectives which you use to create campaigns. For most cases, we only have 3 campaign objectives – Conversion, Brand Awareness, Traffic. If there are any other, please add them to the list.

Here is a sample list of the same.

Defining these standards will help you create buckets under source, medium and campaigns. These buckets will help you see how all the different sources and mediums are performing. And with the help of buckets under the campaign, you can see information like the cumulative conversion rate for all your conversion campaigns, traffic sent by conversion, brand awareness and traffic campaigns. The bounce rate of campaigns with all these campaign goals can also be monitored.

The other 2 parameters are optional and can have a different set of information for different platforms.

Platform-wise UTM parameters

Facebook and Instagram

UTM source will obviously be “facebook”, UTM medium is usually either “social” or “cpc”. The goal of a Facebook campaign will be under the UTM campaign. This might be “conversion”, “traffic” etc.

Here is an example of the common possible combinations.

Facebook gives us 4 different types of bid strategies for budget optimization. For my business I run campaigns with all the different bid strategies, hence, I use the bid strategy (i.e. “lc” for the lowest cost, “cc” for cost cap etc.) of the campaign under the UTM Term tag.

And UTM Content tag consists of the target audience used in that campaign. This makes it easy to analyse the data in google analytics and derive action points.

Example: http://marketingpostbox.com?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=lc&utm_content=past-visitors&utm_campaign=traffic

Google Ads

Google Ads will have UTM source and medium as “google” and “cpc” respectively. For all the google ads I use the type of ad (i.e. search ads, display ads etc.) as the UTM Term. If I am using any audience in google ads then I put the audience name under UTM Content else I leave it blank.

Example: http://marketingpostbox.com?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=search-ads&utm_content=&utm_campaign=traffic

Email Marketing

UTM Source, of course, will always be “email”, the UTM Medium must be defined as the category of an email campaign. For example, an automated email campaign can have “automated”, newsletters can have “newsletters” and “offer” can be used for the emails which are sent for giving specific offers to the customers. This makes clear the purpose with which the email was sent.

UTM Term can then have the newsletter campaign name. For example, if I run 2 newsletter campaigns – one for industry updates and other for company updates, then I will use that campaign name under the UTM term. Similarly for automatic emails, we can use the reason we created automatic emails – “abandon-cart”, etc.

UTM content tag contains the audience used in the email campaign. For example, newsletters are sent to all the subscribers hence UTM Content will be “subscribers”, emails for new product launches/ updates are sent to all the existing customers so UTM content can be “customers” or it can also contain the title of communication message “product-launch”. It’s completely up to your businesses requirement and what you want to measure.

If you are testing the communication message of your campaign then you can include the title of your communication message title under UTM Content. And if you are testing the audience, then you can include the audience. But remember one thing that following a standard practice throughout is good for your business. Try not to change it.

Example: http://marketingpostbox.com?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_term=industry-trends&utm_content=subscribers&utm_campaign=traffic

Influencer Marketing

The two types of influencer marketing – collaboration, paid partnership, which will be UTM medium. Campaign name can have the objective of influencer marketing which can mostly be brand awareness or traffic.

Normally brands work with various bloggers like food bloggers, TV celebrities, sports celebrities, lifestyle bloggers etc. UTM term should consider the blogger category for this particular campaign. This will help you identify the results from all the blogger categories and help you find action points. If there is any agency associated with influencer marketing then their name can also be used here. For example, if your food bloggers are not giving good traffic then you might consider updating the list and reach out to different food bloggers.

UTM Content will have the communication message of your influencer marketing campaign. If you want to use blogger category in UTM term, then the agency name can be used here.

Example: http://marketingpostbox.com?utm_source=influencer&utm_medium=collaboration&utm_term=seo-bloggers&utm_content=new-blog-on-utm&utm_campaign=brand-awareness

Affiliate Marketing

If you are using any other site to redirect traffic to your website then that website’s name will be the UTM source. UTM medium will be “affiliate” and the UTM campaign will no doubt be the objective (mostly traffic in this case). The UTM term and content will be the same as influencer marketing – can be the audience and communication message or offer respectively.

Always remember, standardizing UTM completely depends on your business and must be customized to suit your business and its goals and processes.

Once you standardise the UTM parameters for your business, start creating them here. If you want to create UTM parameters in bulk please download our UTM creator, specially created for your ease. You can simply open this link then click on “file” and then “make a copy” to create your own editable copy.

Credits: Feature Photo by Lukas from Pexels

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Palka Kejriwal

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