What Are UTM Parameters, Why Are They Important & How to Use Them

Today, nearly 81% of shoppers do online research before buying anything.

If your business has a website, it is significant to understand how people find your content. One of the main ways to do is doing through UTM parameters.

If you have used tools like Google Analytics, probably you have come across this term before. But what is a UTM parameter, and how it helps you know about your online audience?

Understanding the basics of UTM parameters and the right time to use them can help you enjoy the maximum benefits from your tracking tools.

What is a UTM parameter?

Simply put, UTM parameters are five tags that can be added to the end of the URL. When a user visits the appended URL, it allows the analytics software to track the info, like how visitors are coming to your website, and if they are interacting with any content related with a campaign. This can be useful, mainly if there are several ways to access your online assets and you are trying to recognize which are the channels to focus on.

If you have certain social media goals, you might be publishing thousands of new links every day. UTM codes help you track the performance of each of those links so that you can see where your traffic comes from. UTM codes should be able to help you answer these queries regarding web traffic:

• From where does the traffic come?
• How it is reaching you?
• Why is it reaching you?

For getting answers to these, you will need to determine what UTM parameters to use. You must include the below-mentioned elements in each tagged URL:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Content
  • Campaign

The UTM parameters inform Google Analytics on how to sort the incoming traffic. There are different ways to divide this traffic in analytics.

Components of UTM parameters

An average URL consists of various components. First, there the protocol: HTTP’s or HTTP. The “S” at the end of HTTP stands for “Secure”. This means that whatever follows that protocol has been protected for data transmission, unlike the standard HTTP://.

Next, is the domain. Following the domain is the path. This specifies to the server where to collect your desired info from. It is how you navigate to certain pages within a specific domain.

Ultimately, after all, that comes to the UTM parameters. These additional bits of textual info are totally customizable, allowing the marketers to track and optimize the campaigns. There are five types of tag, each tracking a different kind of information:

1) Utm_source: When you add the “utm_source” to a URL, you can track the source of your traffic. Consider “source” as the “site.” Which site brought the visitor to the page? Some of the examples include Twitter, Facebook, Bing, Google, etc.

2) Utm_medium: When you add “utm_medium” at the end of the URL, you are recognizing the channel that drives your traffic. If “Google” were our utm_source then, our utm_medium would be “search.” If the utm_source was Facebook then, the utm_medium will be social.

3) Utm_campaign: When the end of your URL consists of a “utm_campaign tag, it specifies the exact campaign that ultimately generated the visit. This would be the name of your campaign.
4) Utm_content: The utm_content shows how detailed you can be with the UTM parameters. Beyond medium and source, you can even differentiate when one link in content is clicked over another.

4) Utm_term: This tag plays a vital role in paid search campaigns. It shows the advertisers those keywords that are getting clicks.

Best practices for UTM tagging

While tagging your links seem to be simple, it is not at all easy. A beginner can fall into the trap if he or she does not have proper knowledge about tagging. Here are a few things that one should be aware of while tagging the URL.

 Create consistent naming conventions. A marketer may tag their campaigns one way, while the other marketer will do it totally in a different way. That is fine if they are not on the same team. Using different conventions make UTM parameters hard to read, to find and to remain organized throughout every campaign. It can also affect the way your tools read the tags.

 Use lowercase letters. Say you have added the tag, utm_source= Facebook at the end of the URL, so you will come to know that the traffic coming to that specific page is Facebook. Next, do the same thing for another URL that will attract traffic from Facebook: utm_source=facebook. Facebook and Facebook will be registered as two different sources in Google Analytics. Instead of worrying about the mistakes that involve capitalization, it is best to use lowercase letters while creating these tags.

 Be as much descriptive as you can without repeating. These tags are used for tracking, optimization, and analytics. So, more you tell about your traffic, better it is. However, that is only true if the information you are getting from them is unique. This means that if you are using several UTM parameters, you should make sure that each of them gives you a new piece of info that the other tag does not. Never use utm_source = Facebook and utm_medium=Facebook. This is not going to help you at all. It is not mandatory to use every parameter while managing the campaigns.

 Use UTM parameters only with the outbound content. The more you become comfortable with UTM parameters, the more you will use them- in social media posts, email, and in internal links also.

It is time to track

Knowing the advantages of UTM parameters and practising them is good, but how to create them? It is not as difficult as it seems to be. In fact, you can use a simple URL builder to make the process fast and simple. Put the original URL, add information for each parameter as required and the tool will attach the link with UTM parameters for you. It’s as simple as this.

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