What are UTM parameters / UTM tags / UTM codes?
UTM parameters, also known as UTM tags or UTM codes, are short text snippets added to the end of a URL to track the source of website traffic. These parameters are used to measure the effectiveness of a marketing campaign by identifying the specific source, medium, and campaign name that led a visitor to a website.
Components of UTM Parameters
UTM parameters consist of five different components:
- Campaign Name: This is the marketing campaign name you want to track. It can be any name you choose, but it should be descriptive enough to help you quickly identify the specific campaign.
- Values: These are the specific values you assign to each UTM parameter. For example, if you're tracking a campaign running on Facebook, the value for the "source" parameter would be "Facebook."
- UTM Code: This combines all the UTM parameters you use to create a unique tracking code for each campaign. The UTM code is added to the end of the URL that you want to track.
- UTM Naming Convention: This is the naming convention you use to create your UTM codes. It's essential to have a consistent naming convention to quickly identify each UTM code's source, medium, and campaign name.
- Custom UTM Parameters: In addition to the standard UTM parameters, you can also create custom UTM parameters to track additional information about your campaigns. For example, follow the specific ad a visitor clicked on or the keyword used to find your website.
Role of UTM Parameters in Tracking
UTM parameters play a crucial role in tracking the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Utilizing UTM parameters allows you to discern the campaigns that generate the highest website traffic and those that may be underperforming. This information can help you make better decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget and how to optimize your campaigns for better results.
Several tools available online can help you generate UTM codes, including the Campaign URL Builder by Google and the UTM Builder. These tools make it easy to create UTM codes that are consistent with your naming conventions and include all the necessary parameters for tracking your campaigns.
What does a UTM link look like?
When you create a UTM link, additional parameters will be added to the end of your URL. These parameters are known as UTM codes or UTM parameters. They help Google Analytics track and analyze traffic coming to your website from various sources.
A typical UTM link will look like this:
Let's break down the different parts of this UTM link:
Examples for each URL parameter
- Source (utm_source): This parameter indicates the source of your traffic. For example, if you're running a Facebook ad campaign, the source will be "Facebook." You can also use this parameter to track traffic from email, referral, or organic search sources. Using consistent naming conventions for your sources is essential to ensure accurate tracking.
- Medium (utm_medium): This parameter indicates the medium of your traffic. For example, if you're running a cost-per-click (CPC) campaign, the medium will be "CPC." You can also use this parameter to track traffic from other mediums, such as banner ads, email newsletters, or social media posts. Again, consistent naming conventions for your mediums are essential to ensure accurate tracking.
- Campaign Name (utm_campaign): This parameter indicates the name of your campaign. For example, if you're running a summer sale campaign, the campaign name will be "summer_sale." You can use this parameter to track traffic from different campaigns and compare their performance.
- Term (utm_term): This parameter indicates the keyword or search term associated with your traffic. For example, if you're running a Google Ads campaign, the term will be the keyword you're bidding on. Utilize this parameter to monitor the effectiveness of various keywords and adjust your campaigns for optimization.
- Content (utm_content): This parameter indicates the specific content of your traffic. For example, if you're running an image ad, the content will be "image_ad." Utilize this parameter to monitor the effectiveness of diverse ad creatives and optimize your campaigns accordingly.
You can use a UTM builder or campaign URL builder tool to generate UTM links with custom UTM parameters. Follow the naming conventions for your UTM parameters to ensure accurate tracking in Google Analytics.
What should you consider when building UTM codes?
When building UTM codes, it's essential to keep a few things in mind to ensure your tracking is accurate and effective. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:
- Consistency: When building UTM codes, it's essential to be consistent in your naming conventions. This includes capitalizing your parameters, using underscores or dashes, and the order in which your parameters appear. By keeping your naming conventions consistent, you'll make it easier to track and analyze your data.
- Relevance: When building UTM codes, ensuring your parameters are relevant to the campaign you're tracking is essential. For example, suppose you're running a social media campaign. In that case, include parameters identifying the social network and the specific post or ad the visitor clicked on.
- Accuracy: It's essential to ensure your parameters are accurate when building UTM codes. This means double-checking your spelling and ensuring you're using the correct values for your parameters. For example, if you're using the "utm_campaign" parameter to track your campaign's name, ensure that you're using the correct spelling and not accidentally using a different parameter name.
- Use a UTM Builder: It's a good idea to use a UTM builder tool to ensure that you're building UTM codes correctly and consistently. These tools allow you to easily create UTM codes by entering your parameters and values into a form.
By considering these considerations when building UTM codes, you'll be able to track and analyze your campaigns more effectively and make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing efforts.
Best Practices for UTM Naming Conventions
When creating UTM parameters, it is essential to have a consistent naming convention to ensure accurate tracking and analysis of your campaigns. Here are some best practices to follow when naming your UTM parameters:
- Use Descriptive and Consistent Names: Make sure your UTM parameters are descriptive and consistent across all your campaigns. Use a straightforward naming convention that reflects the type of content or campaign you're tracking, making it easy to understand. For example, if you run a Facebook ad campaign, you can use "Facebook" as the source and "ad" as the medium.
- Keep It Simple: Avoid using long and complicated names for your UTM parameters. Keep your naming convention simple and easy to remember. Also, avoid incorporating special characters or spaces in your UTM parameters, which may lead to tracking complications.
- Use Lowercase Letters: Always use lowercase letters when naming your UTM parameters. This is because Google Analytics is case-sensitive, and using uppercase letters can cause tracking issues.
- Use Consistent Capitalization: While using lowercase letters is important, it's also essential to use consistent capitalization throughout your UTM parameters. For example, if you are using "source" as a parameter, always use "source" instead of "Source" or "SOURCE."
- Don't Overuse UTM Parameters: Use only a few UTM parameters in your URLs, as it can make them look cluttered and confusing. Stick to the basics, such as source, medium, and campaign, and only add additional parameters if necessary.
By following these best practices, you can establish a consistent and easily understandable naming convention for your UTM parameters. This streamlines the tracking and analysis process in Google Analytics, enabling data-driven decisions and enhancing your overall marketing strategy.