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Social Media Marketing

How to Track Social Media Analytics with UTM Parameters in 3 Steps

When you first start rolling out content on your chosen social media platforms, you’ll have some idea of your campaigns’ performance based on basic metrics like the number of views, likes, and shares a given post has.

However, this will only give you a surface-level idea of your social media engagement, rather than a detailed view of how your social media marketing is feeding into your wider business objectives.

Learning how to track social media analytics with a UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) will help you attribute website traffic and conversions starting on social media, accurately measure your marketing performance, and make more informed marketing decisions in the future.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to track social media analytics with UTM parameters in three steps.

1. Learn the Anatomy of a UTM

UTM parameters are text strings attached to the end of links, used to communicate information about the link’s placement, purpose, and other information. 

If you go to any branded social media account now and click on a link pointing to the business’s website, you’ll see the link’s UTM code at the end of the URL, starting with “?utm_source=”.

Before you start implementing UTM tracking code, it’s important to understand the elements that make up this code and what they mean for your social media analytics.

These elements are:

Campaign source: This element tracks the source of the click, e.g LinkedIn, Instagram, or Twitter.

Campaign medium: This specifies the channel of the link placement, for example organic social media posts or pay per click ads.

Campaign name: The name of the campaign as set by you.

Campaign term: Generally only used for paid campaigns, the campaign term is used to track the keyword through which the user came into contact with the link, e.g “free forex tool”.

Campaign content: When you’re running multiple varied ads or posts pointing to the same target URL, the campaign content parameter can be used to distinguish content types within a single ad set, e.g different colored banners or video content vs images.

When these elements are combined in a complete UTM code, it might look something like this:

“http://www.examplesite.com/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=freedemo&utm_term=free_forex_tool&utm_content=green_banner”

2. Create Your UTM Parameter

The sight of a complete UTM can feel a little intimidating if you’re not familiar with URL structures and what they mean. However, creating one for your campaigns isn’t as hard as you might think. There are a range of tools that will walk you through the process and generate a functional UTM, one element at a time.

Here’s how to create a UTM code using one of the most popular tools, Google Campaign URL Builder:

  1. First, make sure that the switch under “Demos & Tools” on the left-hand side of the screen is toggled to GA4 (Google Analytics 4), as this will allow you to combine the analytics data from both web browsing and social media apps.
  1. Fill in the form under the heading “Enter the website URL and campaign information”. This will cover your website URL, campaign, and content details which will allow you to differentiate your social media traffic later.
  1. Copy and save the complete UTM tracking code which is generated at the bottom.

3. Set Up Your Analytics

If you want to focus on your social media marketing in isolation, and see additional details such as how engagement is affected by post time, account engagement, and the most popular topics you’ve posted on, then you can get all of this from a purpose-built tool like our own Highperformr analytics suite.

However, once the traffic moves off of a social media platform and onto your website, things can get a little more confusing among all your other sources of traffic.

Here’s how to track social media analytics on Google Analytics once you have your UTM set up and ready to deploy:

  1. In the Google Analytics “Reports” tab in the left-hand panel, navigate to Acquisition, and then Traffic Acquisition.
  1.  Click the “Session default channel group” dropdown in the main report table to show website sessions by medium, source, and campaign.
  1. Choose the channel group you want to analyze. If, for example, you want to compare activity from different social platforms, you can click “Session source”.
  1. You’ll now be able to see a table showing different sources, including social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter, as well as sources outside of social media completely, such as Google or (direct).
  1. To drill down your analysis further, you can click the plus symbol next to “Session source” and add additional dimensions, for example “Landing page”, which will amend the report to show you exactly where your social media campaigns are sending traffic on your site.
  1. Play around with different session sources to compare your website traffic and engagement metrics depending on campaigns, keywords, content variations, and more.

How to Track Social Media Analytics Like a Pro

When you start to integrate UTM parameters in your social media analytics, you’ll be able to gain a much clearer view of how social media users are discovering your brand, and how this affects their behavior once they land on your website.

Once you’ve made UTM tracking a part of your analytics, there are various best practices you should bear in mind in order to keep your analytics clear and well-organized, such as:

  • Making sure UTMs aren’t used on internal links.
  • Having set naming conventions for easier collaboration with your marketing team.
  • Keeping formatting consistent by using lowercase characters and specific separators.
  • Keeping track of UTM codes in a shared spreadsheet, along with details about the corresponding campaign and content, so team members can reference them quickly and easily.

By making your analytics more granular with these URL strings, you’ll enjoy a much clearer picture of how your audience is discovering you, and the relationship between your social media marketing and conversions on your website. An AI-powered marketing campaign URL builder streamlines the creation of trackable URLs for your marketing campaigns, enhancing analytics precision.

To support this with helpful analytics highlighting your most popular posts, most engaged followers, and most effective posting times, sign up to Highperformr for free today!

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