UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are URL parameters used by marketers and website owners to better track the performance of online marketing campaigns. While the source of visits to a certain landing page can also be tracked by looking at referral sources, UTM parameters can provide additional information about the source of the traffic coming from a certain link.
They can simply be added after the URL intended for tracking, after which they are interpreted and “understood” by analytics tools, which will process the information for the user. The app has a distinct feature named “URL campaigns” where marketing campaign results are displayed based on UTM parameters.
There are 5 standard parameters that can be added to any URL. The first 3 are required and the last 2 are optional.
· utm_source (required parameter)– you can use this to define which site is sending the traffic through the URL (ex: utm_source=Google or utm_source=Mashable). Note that this is a required parameter. You can’t use UTM without defining the source.
· utm_medium (required parameter) – it can give more details about the link within the utm_source, describing the type of link (ex: utm_medium=cpc or utm_medium=blog_article)
· utm_campaign (required parameter) – the user can choose a name that defines the strategic campaign that the URL is part of (ex: utm_campaign=May_50%_sale or utm_campaign= link_building_reputation)
· utm_content (optional parameter) – it can be used to identify exactly what element of the utm_medium was clicked (ex: utm_content=cta_button_blue or utm_content=paragraph_link)
· utm_term (optional parameter) – defines the type of audience or the search term used in an ad campaign. You could also use it to identify the anchor of the link (ex: utm_term=summer_dress)
1. IMPORTANT: Using UTM parameters is possible only when you have control over the editing of the links on a third party website/source. For example, when you do a guest post or you run a campaign on social media or on Google and you can insert hyperlinks yourself.
2. In the content (guest post, social media, ad campaign etc.), carefully decide where you want to place links to your own website.
3. Decide what the destination URL(s) should be (where users should land after clicking on the link)
4. Copy the URL(s) of the destination page(s), add a “?” after, then add the UTM parameters in such a way that you will be able to understand later what the codes represent. Don’t forget to separate the parameters using a “&” sign. See the examples below. Use these hyperlinks in the content, instead of the initial URL(s). Clicking on them will still lead to the initial URL, so user experience will not be affected.
This UTM tells us that the website visit came from a blog article on Mashable, which is part of our May sales campaign with 50% off for some products. We also know it came from a link in a paragraph within the text, with the anchor “sale”.
This UTM tells us that the website visit came from a paid ads campaign (CPC) in Google, which is part of our May sales campaign with 50% off for some products. We also know it came from our first text ad, which was promoting a “summer dress”.
5. Open your dashboard and go to Statistics – URL Campaigns for a breakdown of the visitors who reached your site through one of your strategic campaigns. See which sources, mediums and terms brought you the most traffic.
6. Compare results for several campaigns, medium, content and terms in order to understand which link performed best. Adjust your campaigns or create new ones to improve performance. For example, if you notice 3x more visits from utm_content=cta_button_blue than from utm_content=cta_button_green, it may be a good idea to make all of your CTA buttons blue.
If you find it difficult to manually generate a URL with added UTM parameters, feel free to use the UTM Campaign URL builder tool. Just insert your data and the URL will be generated automatically. You can just copy and paste it.