Share Links Like a Marketing Boss with UTM Parameters
Before we get started, this is one of those pages you need to bookmark, print, and share with your team. Boss-level marketing with Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters will change how you view, make, use, and share web links. So, I encourage you to take your time and develop a clear and thoughtful plan for implementation in your business and campaigns.
Table of Contents
- Campaign Goals and Measurement
- Insights Beyond Website Analytics
- Anatomy of UTM Links
- Putting UTM in Practice
- UTM Tools for Implementation
- Automation for UTM Links
- Additional UTM Resources
Marketing Campaigns and Measurement
You have seen UTM parameters before. I would argue that you always see them and don’t know what they are. At the core, UTM gives marketers and content entrepreneurs a practical method to measure the effectiveness of various campaigns for bringing visitors to their websites and converting them into customers.
Think of it this way. You create a landing page for your product or service on your website. Next, you need to get people to your website. So, you go to your social channels and share the link. Everyone loves your product and clicks your link to visit the website. Do you know which social channel was the most effective?
Let’s take this scenario further. You want people to visit the same product landing page at different times of the year. Now, you’re sharing the same link for the same landing page multiple times throughout the year. How do you know if customer visits are from your most recent campaign or a previous one?
Insights Beyond Website Analytics
All websites log all of the traffic and visits to the website. With Google Analytics, you can take your traffic analysis deeper with custom web links using UTM parameters. The additional UTM data provides the insights you need to measure efficacy across your channels and social promotion.
Before buying ads on Google, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or YouTube, you should create custom URLs for your product landing pages. You only need to create one landing page. Use UTM parameters to create custom URLs to differentiate where you plan to share those web links.
It makes you wonder why no one has told you this already. No boss should launch a marketing campaign without custom URLs using UTM parameters. A haphazard marketing strategy will waste money, time, and resources. You need to know what works for who, when, and why so that you can repeat, scale, and grow.
Anatomy of UTM Links
There are five UTM parameters that you can use for your marketing campaigns. You don’t need to use all five. I recommend using at least three parameters for digital marketing and print campaigns. Yes, I said print. Keep reading to learn how.
Here are the five parameters to customize your web links:
- utm_source: The Source is used to identify the page traffic origin. The origin could be an advertiser like Google or a publication like your weekly podcast. Are you getting more new leads or growing your existing customer lifetime value (LTV)?
- utm_medium: The Medium is the advertising (e.g., banner ads, text links) or marketing (i.e., email campaign, social posts) that drive traffic to your page. Are my social media boosts more effective than keyword ads? Which social platforms are most effective?
- utm_campaign: The Campaign is the name (or codename) for the promotion or product you want to send your visitors. You can call it whatever you want. I recommend that you are consistent with your overall strategy. For example, if the page doesn’t change but the season for the campaign does, you should name the campaign for the season you’re promoting.
- utm_term: The Term is used primarily for keyword search advertising. Term is not valuable for sharing links on social media or print because keywords aren’t relevant. For paid keyword advertising, use the term to measure the effectiveness of your ad spend and keyword targeting.
- utm_content: The Content is the actual element in your copy that visitors clicked for your call-to-action. The content parameter is most effective when performing A/B testing for your CTAs. It’s best to deploy this parameter with email marketing and opt-in lead magnets.
An Example Custom URL with UTM Parameters
The following is a live custom URL that uses four UTM parameters: source, medium, campaign, and content.
We recommend using the first three UTM parameters for all custom URLs. Some marketers use only one. However, it’s simply not enough data from one UTM parameter to make it worth the effort.
Putting UTM in Practice
Now, you know UTM parameters and how to create custom URLs. Let’s put your marketing with UTM parameters in Boss mode.
Custom URLs are a must-have for brands that use affiliates for marketing and connecting. Provide each affiliate with a custom URL. You can use the Content parameter to identify which affiliate link gets the most clicks.
Place custom URLs in every image, link, CTA, and button for your email marketing. Create A/B tests with your email campaign to find out what’s getting people to click.
Use a custom URL for each digital ad. The Source and Medium parameters will help you differentiate social from search.
Social Media Posts
Leverage UTM parameters for each status update on your social channels. You will determine if Twitter, Facebook, Meetup, and Reddit get more engagement than Instagram or LinkedIn. Create open graph social cards for sharing your Boss-level marketing links.
Be exclusive. Use UTM parameters for discounts and promos only for paid members or subscribers. This technique also works for onboarding new clients with live and on-demand webinars.
UTM Tools for Implementation
Google provides a Campaign URL Builder that adds a sixth parameter–utm_id. The Campaign ID helps identify which ad produces traffic. Consider using this parameter when you publish and promote many versions of ad copy to drive traffic to your site.
I’m a fan of short URLs. As your website grows in sophistication and content maturity, the length of your URLs gets longer. Adding UTM parameters will make your custom URLs longer. No one is typing all of that on a mobile device or laptop. Bitly’s URL shortener includes a tool to add UTM parameters.
Microsoft Bing provides Upgraded URLs that add more granularity for marketing campaigns. Upgraded URLs separate the UTM parameters from the landing page so that you can add an optimized mobile website or make changes without another editorial review.
Automation for UTM Links
UTM parameters are the missing link in your digital marketing campaign. Once you start using them, you’ll wonder what else you can do. I’m glad you asked.
This final section is for Business 4.0 Boss Mode Marketers Only.
We use automation recipes for custom URLs to create personalized engagements for each prospective customer along their buying journey. Marketing automation creates dynamic engagement for people interested in your brand.
Leverage the data in the UTM parameters to make inferences and offers that accelerate conversion. For example, you could provide a different incentive based on the source origin and your cost-per-click. You don’t have to be a large enterprise to do Boss-Level Marketing with UTM parameters. Smart, Modern Business 4.0 Brands are doing it.
Every business owner needs to invest more in what’s working. Here are some additional ideas to take your digital marketing campaigns with custom URLs further:
- Use Vanity Domains: Mask your custom URL with a vanity domain. This approach works similarly to URL shorteners, except your customers only see a top-level domain name that’s easy to remember, type, and include in your print marketing.
- Use QR Codes: Modern smartphones can read QR codes with their built-in camera. Place your QR Code on your business card, webinar slides, or outdoor advertising with your custom URL. No typing is necessary.
- Use Automation: Leverage your UTM efforts to do more business at scale with automation. Make every client feel like they are in an elite audience of one. Great referral brands embrace predictive and personalized customer experiences.
Reach out to us to learn more about taking your modern marketing campaigns further. We would love to accelerate your growth momentum!