How To Use UTM Parameters – The beginner’s guide

If you have used ‘goals’ in Google Analytics you will be familiar with how easy it can be to track when certain events occur on your website or mobile apps. Where things can get a little trickier is when you want to analyse data on where a user came from or what piece of creative they engaged with before completing a goal. This is where UTM Parameters come in handy.

This introduction to UTM parameters shows what can be accomplished by expanding on the links you add to your e-mails, newsletters, and online advertising.

The quick and easy explanation is that UTM parameters are specific terms added to URL links. Each parameter you add gives you different information, and allows you to pinpoint exactly where the user was when they selected your link to your information. With UTM parameters, you will know whether advertising or any other communication is effective, right down to whether your logo or your call to action was most successful in garnering response, and which ad campaign was most successful.

The tracking is added on to the end of the destination URL following a ‘?’ symbol. First you add a description of the parameter you want to track, then a ‘=’ sign and finally the value that describes the item the user clicked on. It looks like this:

http://hyphen.co.uk/?utm_campign=blog_clicks

As you can see, adding the ‘?’ symbol means that your destination is not altered by the additional characters that are added to the URL. In Google Analytics or alternatives like Heap Analytics, the UTM naming convention is supported so that your results will integrate directly into the interface.

channels_-_google_analytics.jpg

 

There are five supported parameters:

  • utm_source – where the traffic is coming from, such as search engine traffic, referral placed on another website*
  • utm_medium – the type of media where the link was placed, such cost-per-click advertising, e-mail, or other medium*
  • utm_campaign – your identification of a specific advertising or public relations campaign*
  • utm_content – if you’ve put together a newsletter with three links back to your catalog, you can differentiate each link with this parameter
  • utm_term – if you’re paying for search, this will help you identify the keywords from the ad

* mandatory

Example:

http://www.myamazingblog.com/landingpage1?utm_source=facebookads&utm_medium=paidads&utm_content=logoimage&utm_campaign=campaign1

Translation:

  • myamazingblog.com/landingpage1Your destination URL.
  • utm_source=facebookads: The source of the link was Facebook Advertising.
  • utm_medium=paidads: You are using paid ads.
  • utm_content=logoimage: Identifies which advert creative you used.
  • utm_campaign=campaign1: Identifies exactly which advertising campaign, so you can check on effectiveness.
     

To practice building UTM links, try Google’s URL builder. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Hyphen.

Paul Davis

Hyphen Technology Ltd, 7 Albert Mews, Albert Road, , London