What is UTM Parameter and How to Use Them Wisely ?

What is UTM Parameter and How to Use Them Wisely ?

Have you ever clicked on a short URL you see on any social media posts or pages? And when you visit the page the URL looks really long in your browser’s address bar?

Sometimes, the end of this URL does not even make any sense?

If you have come across such scenario, then you should keep reading this. We will assure you that you would have a better understanding about UTM Parameters by the end of this article.

Long URLs could be shown because of multiple reasons, but one of them is use of UTM parameters for tracking purpose.

What is UTM Parameter?

It is elaborated as Urchin Tracking Module. It is nothing but a string of ID that you append to your main URL so that, your analytics tool can track it.

Why do you need UTM Parameters?

You would have a question now, “Why do I need to add UTM Parameter when Google Analytics shows me data under Referral Menu?

GA - Navigation Menu

Yes. That is correct. You could certainly see visitors to your website who has come from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other source.

That would look something like this.

Source - Medium Report

But how would you know which post or page in particular has given you this traffic?

That is when this UTM Parameters comes in to help. You can create unique parameters to each social media posts according to your need so that you can understand which post is performing better. Hence optimise it or spend more on it.

Before I start explaining the technical part of UTM Parameter, Let’s see how does an URL with UTM Parameter looks like.

https://www.hootinsight.com/What-is-utm-parameter/?utm_source=webiste&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=blog-publishing

Now let’s break down the above URL.

https://www.hootinsight.com/What-is-utm-parameter 

above one is the actual URL. The strings which comes after this are UTM Parameters.

Now coming to technical part of UTM Parameters.

There are 3 mandatory UTM Parameters and few optional ones.

*utm_source – Source of the visitor or traffic. Visitors who are coming from Search Engine Results, Social medias i.e.: Google, Facebook, Bing, Instagram

*utm_medium – Where have seen this ad or URL to visit your website. If could be from Ads you have listed on Search Engines, Social Media Posts or the Email you have sent them. i.e.: CPC, Social, Email

*utm_campaign – The name of the campaign or purpose of the campaign. i.e.: Big Billion Day Sale, Independence Day Offer Sale

 utm_content – The name of the Call to action button can be given here. i.e.: Visit Us, Book A Tour, Call Now

 utm_term – Custom parameters can be used here according to your need. These are used in paid campaigns.

If you are worried about building this URLs with UTM Parameters, do not worry. We have multiple UTM Parameter builders available online.

However, the best one is Google’s Campaign URL Builder

 

https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/

Campaign URL Builder

As you keep adding the parameter, you can see your final URL keep adding the parameters you have chosen.

UTM URL

If you think the URL looks pretty big to use it in any of the Posts, Ads, Documents or anywhere else, you can always shorten it using URL shortener. There are plenty such tools are available online.

One of such shortener is https://bitly.com/

All you need is enter your Campaign URL Builder generated URL and paste it in Bitly.com. 

It will give you shortened URL instantly. 

Shortened URL - Bitly

Use of Dynamic Parameter Insertion

Apart from the above given UTM Parameters, we can use Google’s Auto tagging feature to insert few parameters to our Landing pages.

The below ones can be used only in Google Ads.

{Keyword} = The keyword which triggered that ad

{MatchType} = Keyword Match type

{Creative} = Ad ID

{Placement} = Placement name / URL

{Adposition} = Position of your ad for that search

If I set my UTM URL as below,

https://www.hootinsight.com/What-is-utm-parameter/?utm_source=webiste&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=blog-publishing&Keyword={Keyword}&Matchtype={MatchType}&Adposition={Adposition}

I will get the report in Google Analytics as something like this,

https://www.hootinsight.com/What-is-utm-parameter/?utm_source=webiste&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=blog-publishing&Keyword=utmparameters&Matchtype=exact&Adposition=2

 

Where to check the Tracked data.

You can do it either by going to Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages and by adding a secondary Dimension as Source/Medium

Or by going to 

Acquisition > Source/Medium and then adding secondary dimension as Landing Pages

UTM Landing page with Source - Medium Report

Now, if you look at the Landing pages and Source/Medium, you would understand which URL has done better.

Things to avoid while creating UTM Parameters

  • Use sensible descriptive tags

When you have multiple Campaigns, Posts, Source, Mediums it is always good to choose the tags which makes sense to not only you but others too. It is common tendency of humans to use something which comes to mind at the moment and forget it later.

To avoid confusion, use the title of the content, goal of the content would be a better idea

  • Never repeat same UTM Parameters again

What is the need of having UTM parameters to create unique URLs if repeat them?

Repeating the same UTM Parameters would lead to inaccurate tracking

  • Never use UTM Parameters in Internal Linking

If some of your traffic has come from Facebook post and you have set your internal link with some utm_source as twitter. Now the traffic will be attributed to twitter traffic not to Facebook.

Hope we have helped you understand UTM Parameters now. You can use them in your Ads, Social Media Posts and other places where you want to track the traffic. Once you understand them real well you can even create them in Excel sheets.

If you still have any question or queries, don’t forget to shoot them in the comment section.

This Post Has 2 Comments

    1. Thank you Surej. 🙂

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