Jay Matthews
May 12, 2022

A Simple Guide To UTM Parameters Basics

Do you actually know where your website traffic is coming from? Can you identify what marketing campaigns are funneling visitors to your website month in and month out? The solution is none other than UTM parameters.

UTM Parameters: The Basics

Leveraging UTM parameters is an important tool for businesses to use to pinpoint the root of their website traffic. If you have previously used tools such as Google Analytics you have likely encountered this term before. 

But what exactly are UTM parameters? 

How can these UTM parameters help you understand more about your online audience? Understanding the basics of UTM parameters can help you get the best results from your tracking tools. In this simple guide to UTM parameters basics, you can discover exactly what UTM parameters are and how to effectively use them to better run your business and reach success.

UTM Parameters: A Definition

Simply put, UTM parameters (or UTM codes) are five tags you can add to the end of the URLs of your marketing efforts. The appended URL makes it possible for analytics software to track data such as how visitors arrive at your site and whether they interact with campaign-related content.

This can be very useful when there are multiple ways to access online assets and you are trying to identify which channels to specifically focus on. The addition of UTM parameters does not change the content of actual the post. It allows for the analytics to clarify the origin and engagement information about the visitor(s).

Types of UTM Parameters

UTM parameters directly correspond to the five available tags you can use for tracking. Below is an example to help you better understand. 

  • utm_campaign

This identifies the specific campaign and the link was a part of. For example, you could use opening_day_deals or black_friday_sale. 

For example, utm_campaign=black_friday_sale utm_source

You can use this to identify exactly where the traffic comes from including sources that include search engines, newsletters, or other referrals. 

For example, utm_source=facebook

  • utm_medium

This shows exactly which marketing channel(s) direct a visitor to your website, including email, PPC ads, social media, and guest blogs

For example, utm_medium=social

  • utm_content: 

This highlights your call to action that actually worked. 

For example, CTAs include buy_now, click_here, learn_more, shop_now, or try_demo.

  • utm_term

This identifies keywords used in PPC ads so you can see what most people are looking for when they find your ads. 

For example, utm_term=tennis_shoes or utm_term=utm_builder

What Exactly Do UTM Parameters Do?

If you decide to use the unadulterated power of UTM codes in Google Analytics, you can paint a more accurate picture of various data points that will assist you in tracking your marketing efforts.

You will get basic engagement information about visitors, such as their average session, bounce rate, and conversion rates. Combining the five tags can help you and your team gain valuable insights into the promotional efforts that drive traffic to your site. This type of information allows you to see which types of campaigns are working and which are not.

Why Are UTM Parameters Important?

Here is why UTM parameters form a solid foundation for marketing campaigns:

Reduces Trial & Error

UTM parameters help you find your footing in new markets and allow you to focus on what is working and eliminate what is not working within these markets. When you know what works, you can focus on one area and save both time and money. Campaign tracking allows you to understand your progress and to adapt so your campaigns are always in peak performance.

Funnel Optimization

Funnels don't necessarily cost just money, time is of essence as well. These may involve using specific social media channels. For example, it may surprise some companies to learn that Instagram may still provide most of their website traffic even though the Instagram URLs don't appear clickable in captions, this can also apply to guest blogs. In a nutshell, you can use UTM tags to discover which funnels deliver the best results and dedicate more time to them.

Reporting and Analytics

Professional marketers ought to report on the effectiveness of specific campaigns. It’s required to prove their effectiveness. In addition to allowing marketers to figure out which campaigns work and which do not, UTM parameters can also be used to compare ROI or growth over a specific amount of time.

Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever hired a social media influencer to showcase your brand online? Do you actually know if potential customers used the associated links to reach your business? Typically, businesses provide social media influencers with special codes, which they then remind their followers to use when making a purchase.

A UTM parameter can provide a direct link to a specific brand influencer so commissions can be paid accurately while at the same time identifying the most valuable influencers.

UTM Parameters For Testing

A/B testing allows you to test and confirm what works for your audience. UTM codes help you measure how well two identical posts perform in terms of driving traffic to your site, with or without videos. Simply tag both posts with the appropriate UTM code for your campaign content and you will find out which post drove the most traffic.

In Conclusion

Now that you know how to use UTM tags you’re ready to keep track of all your traffic.  UTM parameters tags may be complex to use and can have you a little overwhelmed. As long as you understand the basics of how they work, they are fairly easy to implement. All in all, you should be using this data to better run your business and make the most of your social media campaigns.

Can't do it on your own? Or does your in-house team need some help? Veza Digital can offer your business world-class social media marketing solutions and growth marketing opportunities that deliver a tangible ROI.

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