The UTM Parameters

Learn what UTM parameters are and how they help digital marketers track and optimize their campaigns with AnyTrack.io.

In this article, we cover every aspects of UTM parameters so you can fully leverage one of the oldest and most effecting tracking method to improve your data driven marketing journey.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are tags that are added to a URL in order to track website traffic and marketing campaign performance. UTM parameters consist of five different parameters that can be added to a URL to track specific information about the traffic source, such as the source, medium, campaign, content, and term.

Here are the five UTM parameters and their definitions:

  1. utm_source: The source parameter tracks where the traffic is coming from, such as a search engine, social media platform, or referring website.
  2. utm_medium: The medium parameter tracks how the traffic is arriving at your website, such as through a paid ad, email, or organic search.
  3. utm_campaign: The campaign parameter tracks the specific campaign that is driving the traffic, such as a holiday sale or a product launch.
  4. utm_content: The content parameter tracks the specific content that is driving the traffic, such as a banner ad or a specific link within an email.
  5. utm_term: The term parameter is used specifically for paid search campaigns and tracks the keywords that were used to trigger the ad.

By adding UTM parameters to your URLs, you can track the performance of your marketing campaigns and website traffic. By aggregating marketing data according to campaigns and sources, you can gain valuable insights into your performances and optimize your marketing accordingly.

UTM parameters definitions by Google Analytics

NameParameterRequiredExampleDescription
Campaign IDutm_idNoabc.123Used to identify which ads campaign this referral references. Use utm_id to identify a specific ads campaign.
Campaign Sourceutm_sourceYesgoogleUse utm_source to identify a search engine, newsletter name, or other source.
Campaign Mediumutm_mediumYescpcUse utm_medium to identify a medium such as email or cost-per-click.
Campaign Nameutm_campaignNospring_saleUsed for keyword analysis. Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.
Campaign Termutm_termNorunning+shoesUsed for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Campaign Contentutm_contentNologolinkUsed for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.

UTM_ID: The forgotten UTM parameter

UTM ID is a UTM parameter that can be used to track a unique identifier for a marketing campaign. This can be useful for tracking the performance of a specific campaign across multiple traffic sources and platforms, not just Google Ads.

For example, if you launch a summer_campaign across all marketing channels, you will want to get an aggregated report on all marketing channels, but also build custom audiences in order to retarget your TOF engaged users from Facebook Ads, in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads.

Your UTM Parameters will look like:

  • Facebook Ads:

https://example.com/summer?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=summerpromo&utm_id=656433d221

  • Google Ads:

https://example.com/summer?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=summerpromo&utm_id=123123123123

  • Microsoft Ads:

https://example.com/summer?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=summerpromo&utm_id=8987676655

In AnyTrack as well as Google Analytics you'll be able to get an aggregated report on your summerpromo campaign and then break it down by specific campaign and ad platforms.

In FB, Google and Microsoft Ads: You'll be able to build your custom audiences in each ad platforms according to the same campaigns and improve your targeting accordingly.

For example: Include users who triggered an AddToCart but didn't make a Purchase event from any traffic source, but exclusively for the summerpromo campaign.

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About the utm_id tracking parameter

The utm_id parameter was introduced by Urchin, the company that was acquired by Google and that became Google Analytics.

While the utm_id parameter is never mentioned by any platform, you can see it now on the Google Analytics public UTM builder.

It is used to track the unique campaign ID of any campaigns - not only Google Ads.

For example, using utm_id={{campaign.id}} when tagging your Facebook Ads url, will let you report on your facebook ads campaign.

Attribution Reporting with UTM parameters

There are many benefits of tracking with UTM parameters, but attribution reporting is the main reason you want to use UTM parameters.

Most conversion tracking platforms have default attribution settings. For example, Google Analytics GA4 recommends the Data Driven Attribution model.

Yet, because analytics platforms use first party data (cookies) as well as utm parameters to attribute conversions, they are able to tie a visitor's identity with it's journey.

For example, a visitor might have 5 interaction before making a purchase, and each interaction can start with different utm parameters.

By tracking each interaction's utm parameters, Anytrack can feed Google Analytics with each interaction and in return GA is able to create the customer journey showing each traffic source interaction.

  1. Source Tracking: UTM parameters can help you track the source of your website traffic, including which websites, search engines, or social media platforms are driving the most traffic to your website. By identifying which sources are driving the most traffic, you can optimize your marketing campaigns accordingly.
  2. Medium Tracking: UTM parameters can also help you track the medium of your website traffic, including whether the traffic is coming from organic search, paid search, social media, email, or other sources. This can help you identify which marketing channels are most effective in driving traffic and conversions.
  3. Campaign Tracking: UTM parameters allow you to track the effectiveness of specific marketing campaigns by assigning a unique campaign name to each campaign. This can help you measure the ROI of your marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions about where to invest your marketing budget.
  4. Accuracy and Consistency: By using UTM parameters, you can ensure that your website traffic data is accurate and consistent across different marketing channels and campaigns. This can help you avoid data discrepancies and make more informed marketing decisions.
  5. Customization: UTM parameters can be customized to include additional information, such as the content or placement of a specific ad or link. This can help you track the performance of individual ads or links and optimize your campaigns accordingly.

What else can I do with utm parameters?

In addition to tracking the source, medium, and campaign name of website traffic, there are several other ways you can use UTM parameters to gain valuable insights into your marketing efforts:

  1. Track specific content: You can use UTM parameters to track the performance of specific content on your website, such as blog posts or landing pages. By including a content parameter in your URL, you can track which pieces of content are driving the most traffic and conversions.
  2. Track keywords: If you are running a paid search campaign, you can use UTM parameters to track which keywords are driving the most traffic and conversions. By including a keyword parameter in your URL, you can identify which keywords are the most effective and optimize your bidding strategy accordingly.
  3. Track audience segments: If you are targeting different audience segments with different campaigns or content, you can use UTM parameters to track the performance of each segment. By including an audience parameter in your URL, you can identify which segments are the most engaged and tailor your messaging accordingly.
  4. A/B testing: You can use UTM parameters in conjunction with AnyTrack AB Testing feature to track the performance of different variations of your marketing campaigns or content. By including a variation parameter in your URL, you can compare the performance of different variations and optimize your campaigns accordingly.

Build custom audience segments with utm parameters

You can build audience segments with UTM parameters by tagging the URLs of your marketing campaigns or content with specific UTM parameters that correspond to different audience segments. Here are the steps to build audience segments with UTM parameters:

  1. Define your audience segments: Before you can build audience segments with UTM parameters, you need to define your audience segments. This could include demographic information (such as age, gender, or location), psychographic information (such as interests or behaviors), or other criteria that you use to target your marketing campaigns.
  2. Tag your URLs with UTM parameters: Once you have defined your audience segments, you can tag your URLs with UTM parameters that correspond to each segment. For example, you could use the "utm_content" parameter to tag your URLs with different messaging for each segment, or use the "utm_campaign" parameter to tag your URLs with different campaigns for each segment.
  3. Use a UTM tracking tool: To track the performance of your audience segments, you can use a UTM tracking builder tool, such as Google Analytics or a third-party tracking tool like AnyTrack. These tools allow you to see how each audience segment is performing in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions, and help you identify which segments are the most valuable.
  4. Analyze your data and optimize your campaigns: Once you have tracked the performance of your audience segments, you can analyze your data and optimize your campaigns accordingly. This could include adjusting your messaging or targeting to better appeal to certain segments, or reallocating your budget to focus on the segments that are driving the most value.

How AnyTrack helps you leverage UTM tracking parameters

Perfect Tracking templates for your paid ads

Anytrack provides you with prebuilt UTM tracking templates for the integrated ad networks (facebook, Google Ads, Microsoft, Taboola, Outbrain and Tiktok).

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Facebook Ads UTM Tracking Parameters

The template includes all dynamic parameters available in Facebook and will be substituted by Facebook at run time.

utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content={{adset.name}}&utm_campaign=
{{campaign.name}}&utm_term={{ad.name}}&utm_id={{campaign.id}}&ad_id={{ad.id}}&
adset_id={{adset.id}}&placement={{placement}}&site_source_name={{site_source_name}}

Build Dynamic Audiences

Leverage every possible parameter to build dynamic custom audiences across all ad platforms, and according to each and every possible values available.

UTM parameters key takeaways

Overall, UTM parameters are a versatile tool that can be used to track a wide range of marketing metrics and gain valuable insights into your marketing efforts.

Building audience segments with UTM parameters to correlate your performance of your marketing campaigns with audience targeting, and optimize your targeting and messaging.

Provide insights into the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and help you make data-driven decisions to improve your website traffic and conversions.

UTM Parameters Common mistakes

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UTM in Internal Links

Never, ever use UTM parameters on internal links. It will make your Google Analytics data meaningless and mislead any stakeholder trying to make sense of your marketing data.

Are you struggling to effectively track your marketing campaigns? Many marketers face issues with UTM tracking parameters, leading to inaccurate and misleading data. To improve your tracking efforts and ensure reliable insights, it's crucial to avoid these common mistakes.

  • Naming Conventions: Use a consistent, standardized format for all campaigns, sources, and mediums. This makes comparing data and drawing insights easier.
  • Case Consistency: Remember that UTM parameters are case-sensitive. Always use a consistent case, such as lowercase, for accurate tracking.

Imagine being able to analyze your marketing campaigns with confidence, knowing that the data you're working with is accurate and reliable. By avoiding common UTM parameter mistakes, you can make better-informed decisions and optimize your marketing efforts. Implement these best practices to achieve better results:

  • Simplify Parameters: Focus on essential information to avoid confusion and mistakes.
  • Include Necessary Parameters: Always use utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign to ensure complete tracking data.
  • Avoid Spaces and Special Characters: Use dashes, underscores, or plus signs instead to prevent URL encoding issues.
  • Use a URL Builder: Tools like Google's Campaign URL Builder can help ensure accuracy and consistency.
  • Test URLs: Always test your URLs to make sure they work correctly and track data as intended.

Don't wait any longer to improve your UTM tracking efforts. Start by implementing these best practices and documenting your UTM strategy for better collaboration within your team. By doing so, you'll gain a clearer understanding of your marketing campaign performances, empowering you to make data driven decisions.