Knowledge Base

UTM TRACKING: Best Practices

So, you’ve decided you are going to use UTM tracking for your campaigns. Now, you want to make sure that you are using the UTM tracking appropriately to make the most of the web source analytics.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating and tracking URLs.

Be consistent.

It’s important to keep the naming conventions for each parameter consistent throughout the marketing department and all campaigns. This is to ensure the source traffic is reported correctly. It is best to set standards for capitalization and phrasing. If there are variations, Google Analytics splits them into different sources.

Keep URLs Direct & To The Point

When utilizing all the available parameters, UTM tracking URLs can be quite long. To avoid confusion, make sure the URLs are direct and not redundant.

For example, avoid using “social” for both the source and the medium. Instead, distinguish between the two fields by using Twitter for source and post for the medium.

While being direct and succinct is important, you also want to make sure you use the UTM tracking to its fullest potential by specifying particular links. An effectively tracked URL will help you identify which campaigns and links are generating the most traffic.

Be sure you can identify the various images or links being tracked on your site and promotions through the UTM parameters.

utm_urls

The example above specifies a Cyber Monday 2016 Facebook campaign and the medium specifies the first carousel image. Easily identify which content gets the best response by creating unique parameters per link.

Store UTM Parameters

Stay organized with your various UTM parameters by using a spreadsheet. Then, reference the UTM spreadsheet for future campaigns to avoid creating separate referring sources when it’s not necessary.

Avoid Using Spaces

Use underscores (_) as spaces between words in your parameters and hyphens (-) to separate values.

Use UTM Tracking For Social and Email Campaigns

These are the areas where UTM tracking is most informative.

It is NOT recommended to use tracking URLs for internal links. When people arrive to your site and click an internal link with UTM parameters,  Google Analytics attributes the traffic to the internal parameter rather than the original external referring site.

UTM parameters are also not necessary for Google AdWords destination URLs because AdWords and Analytics are linked.

Use Time Stamps

Include the date of launch in the campaign name or content. This makes it easier to distinguish between campaigns, especially email newsletters.

utm_timestamp

The example above distinguishes the campaign with “holiday_guide-20162811”. The time stamp also allows you to reuse the same terms such as “holiday_guide” year after year to track the effectiveness of each year’s campaign.

Monitor Your Traffic

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of implementing specific UTM parameters for all of your campaigns, make sure to use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic. Use this valuable information to decide on placement and content of future campaigns.

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