Use UTM Parameters to Improve Your Marketing

UTM Parameters Improve Marketing

One of the wonders of modern marketing is the ability to measure the performance of your marketing campaigns across all the channels that you use. This allows you to prove the value of marketing as well as continually improve marketing performance. Google Analytics can be used to measure the response rates of your offline channels like direct mail and out of home signage by customizing the URLs used to drive traffic to your website.

As described in the blog post Analytics Help Chart Your Marketing Course, you can get great actionable information just by installing analytics on your website. But by getting more sophisticated with Google Analytics you can answer questions like:

What Are UTM Parameters?

UTM Parameters are extra information you can add to URLs that tell Google Analytics which campaigns, source, and channel that drove a visitor to your website. This extra information does make the URL complicated and ugly, but there are ways to hide this.

Here’s an example of a URL with link tagging:

To get these benefits you need to add a campaign name, the medium used, and source. There is also an optional content tag. Google Analytics uses a term tag when tracking online advertising, but you can ignore this as it is handled automatically by advertising platforms like Google Adwords.

Here are the five tags you can use to measure your campaigns.

Campaign name
A marketing campaign is the theme that commonly spreads across multiple channels. It can be a specific campaign, such as “Summer Sale”, or be an ongoing marketing program, such as “Analytics_whitepaper”.
Medium
The channel used to communicate the campaign message. “Email”, “display_ads”, “social_media”, and “radio” are examples of different mediums.
Source
This is more specific than the source where the visitor comes from. Examples include:
  • Identify the social media channel, such as “Twitter”, “Facebook”, or “LinkedIn”.
  • For ads in newsletters, websites, or magazines, identify the source with terms like “NW_Food_Processors_Assn” or “Sunset_mag”.
  • If you are sending out a series of emails in a “drip” campaign, change the source for each email, something like “email01”, “email02”, etc. The campaign name and medium would stay the same.
Content
Identifies the version of something that compelled the visitor to take action. If you have an image and clickable text in an ad, you can tag the content as “image” or “text”. Knowing exactly what people are clicking on is very useful when deciding to do a redesign. The content tag can also be used for “A/B testing” to distinguish which versions is driving more traffic.
Term
This identifies the keywords used when buying online advertising. You can ignore it if you’re not buying online ads.

Adding this information to your URLs allows you to see what is working, what isn’t, and make changes to improve your marketing performance. 

Be Consistent with Your Tag Terms

You need to be consistent with your terms to be able to measure campaign results. Capitalization matters. Avoid spaces, either use underscores “Winter_Sale” or camelcase like “WinterSale”. Google doesn’t care how you do it, just be consistent for each campaign and each term.

spreadsheet maintains consistent UTM terms

The easiest way to stay consistent is to create a spreadsheet that is used by all members of your marketing team. This serves as a common point of reference for your strategists, marketing creatives and technical specialists.


Create consistent UTM tags with the Moderno Campaign URL Builder. There’s both Google Drive and Microsoft Excel versions.