Marketing With UTM Parameters

What is a UTM?

Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters are five variants of URL parameters used by marketers to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns across traffic sources and publishing platforms.

How are UTMs Used?

UTMs are used to send information to Google Analytics that contain data about external links that you are wanting to report on. You will use UTMs to track social, banner ads, traditional marketing collateral, emails, directory listings, audio/video platforms, and more.

How to Create a UTM

To create a trackable UTM you must first identify how you will report on the link you are building. The first rule of thumb is to be consistent with the way you are setting up your UTMs. This requires proper naming conventions and case sensitivity. You can find examples of setting up UTMs specific to the media throughout the next few pages.

Keep it Consistent:

Source (Correct)/MediumIncorrectDifference
Facebook/Postfacebook / postLowercase
Twitter/TweetTwitter / socialMixed Case
TripAdvisor/BannerTrip Advisor / BannerNo Spacing between
Google My Business/ProfileGoogleMyBusiness / ProfileNeeds Spacing

Here is a template example of how to track and generate UTMs:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A5HdtDfC6JSBo7Ep0aK2iYyzUtVC_2K_lQEMLGdokgU/


How to Use UTMs Effectively

Once you have created the UTM link make sure that you copy it from the spreadsheet and past it in the browser to confirm that the UTM is generating properly. After the URL has been generated, copy the URL directly from the browser to be shared socially (see below).

Copied link below

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Post&utm_campaign=PAA&utm_content=Content Strategy

Compared to rendered link below

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Post&utm_campaign=PAA&utm_content=Content%20Strategy

If the url doesn’t have a self preview in the platform you are sharing it in then you must not compromise the user experience of that link for the direct social signal. In other words, share the link but not in the original UTM format. Process the url and its UTM parameters through a URL shortner such as bit.ly or goo.gl

Customer facing links with UTMs in them look spammy, unrelatable, and not very inviting. Shorten them as a fallback if there is no other way to present them to your viewers/audience.


Facebook Post Example:

Campaign Sourceutm_sourceUse utm_source to identify a newsletter name, or social platform.
Example: Facebook
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumUse utm_medium to identify the delivery method of your source
Example: Post
Campaign Nameutm_campaignUse utm_campaign to identify a specific product or service
Example: PAA
Campaign Termutm_termUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example:
Campaign Contentutm_contentUse utm_content to differentiate ads or links.
Examples: Content Strategy

Original link:

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/

UTM Link:

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Post&utm_campaign=PAA&utm_content=Content%20Strategy


Twitter Post Example:

Campaign Sourceutm_sourceUse utm_source to identify a newsletter name, or social platform.
Example: Twitter
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumUse utm_medium to identify the delivery method of your source
Example: Tweet
Campaign Nameutm_campaignUse utm_campaign to identify a specific product or service
Example: PAA
Campaign Termutm_termUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example:
Campaign Contentutm_contentUse utm_content to differentiate ads or links.
Examples: Content Strategy

Original link:

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/

UTM Link:

https://megamikejr.com/blog/seo/google-people-also-ask-paa-content-discovery/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Tweet&utm_campaign=PAA&utm_content=Content%20Strategy


TripAdvisor Banner Link Example:

Campaign Sourceutm_sourceUse utm_source to identify a newsletter name, or social platform.
Example: TripAdvisor
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumUse utm_medium to identify the delivery method of your source
Example: Banner
Campaign Nameutm_campaignUse utm_campaign to identify a specific product or service
Example: Maui
Campaign Termutm_termUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example:
Campaign Contentutm_contentUse utm_content to differentiate ads or links.
Examples: Domestic Bookings

Original link:

https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/hawaii/maui

UTM Link:

https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/hawaii/maui?utm_source=Trip%20Advisor&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=Maui&utm_content=Domestic%20Bookings


Radio Spot Link Example:

Campaign Sourceutm_sourceUse utm_source to identify a newsletter name, or social platform.
Example: Clear Channel
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumUse utm_medium to identify the delivery method of your source
Example: Radio
Campaign Nameutm_campaignUse utm_campaign to identify a specific product or service
Example: One Month
Campaign Termutm_termUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example:
Campaign Contentutm_contentUse utm_content to differentiate ads or links.
Examples: 30 Sec Spot

Original link:

wordcamp.info

Forwards to UTM Link:

https://wordcamp.info/?utm_source=Clear%20Channel&utm_medium=Radio&utm_campaign=One%20Month&utm_content=30%20Sec%20Spot


Billboard Link Example:

Campaign Sourceutm_sourceUse utm_source to identify a newsletter name, or social platform.
Example: Clear Channel
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumUse utm_medium to identify the delivery method of your source
Example: Billboard
Campaign Nameutm_campaignUse utm_campaign to identify a specific product or service
Example: Four Months
Campaign Termutm_termUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example:
Campaign Contentutm_contentUse utm_content to differentiate ads or links.
Examples: Free Quote   

Original link:

housing.info

Forwards to UTM Link:

https://housing.info/?utm_source=Clear%20Channel&utm_medium=Billboard&utm_campaign=Four%20Months&utm_content=New%20Free%20Quote


All the example UTMs above are simple iterations of how a UTM can be implemented for different mediums. There are many online tools you can use for setting up UTMs for your site but I have found it to be a lot easier if you track them within a document. This is partially the reason why I created a spreadsheet that auto generates UTMs and keeps them stored.

If you leverage UTMs personally or professionally and have a best practice to share feel free to leave a comment below. There is more than one way to skin a UTM and everyone uses them differently for their marketing efforts.