26 Jul 2017 By Asi Dayan

Conversion Tracking with UTM Parameters – The One Guide You Should Read

Tracking conversions across multiple channels can be tricky, but using UTM parameters correctly makes it possible in a simple way.

One of the biggest challenges marketers are facing is tracking conversions correctly. A proper conversion tracking leads to a better understanding of how each marketing channel, campaign or ad is performing, and how to allocate the marketing budget and efforts to maximize results.

Using UTM parameters is the best way to properly track conversions across multiple channels.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters are simple additions of tags you can add to your URLs, which contain all the needed data for conversion tracking. The tags indicate your traffic source, the type of traffic, the ad and much more, according to your selection.

How do UTM parameters work?

Once clicked on, a URL with UTM parameters added, sends the data contained in the UTM parameters back to your website analytics platform, no matter if it’s MixPanel, Heap, Google Analytics or Oribi. The data from the UTM parameters will be displayed in your chosen tool’s reports.

How to create UTM parameters?

The easiest way to create UTM parameters is by using Google’s link creator. Simply enter your URL and manually type what you wish the UTMs to contain.

There are three basic types of UTM parameters:

 

1. Medium – Indicates the type of traffic, like social media, paid, newsletter, etc.

2. Source – Indicates the marketing channel, like Facebook, Google, affiliate and such.

3. Campaign – Indicates the campaign you used. If it’s an AdWords campaign, simply copy the campaign name from AdWords. For a blog post, enter the post name.

For example, for this post I will use:

Medium – Content

Source – Blog

Campaign – utm_conversion_tracking

 

Why using UTM parameters is a must for conversion tracking?

Adding UTM parameters to your links enables you to perform a better analysis of your conversions, especially if you are using multiple marketing channels (even if you send traffic to your main domain from your own blog).

Conversion tracking saves you a lot of money and helps you get a higher ROI.

If you know which marketing channels, campaigns, or ads are generating your conversions, you can easily allocate your budget where it is actually paying off and get rid of ineffective marketing channels.

UTM parameters will help you understand where you should invest and where you are wasting your budget.

How to see results with UTM parameters

The purpose of UTM parameters is to enable you to track conversions and website traffic and make data-driven decisions based on this. As mentioned above, once a URL with UTM parameters gets clicked on, Google Analytics or any of the other website analytics tool will display the UTMs data in your reports of site traffic, marketing channels and conversions.

For example, if you wish to see your conversions data segmented by your UTM parameters on Google Analytics:

  1. Go to the Acquisition tab in your Google Analytics account.
  2. Under Acquisition choose Source/Medium.
  3. In goals, choose the conversion you wish to analyze by UTM parameters, and the data will be displayed for the conversion, according to your entry in the UTMs Source and Medium. Of course, the same can be done for UTM campaign and other UTMs.

The same can be done with other website analytics tools. For example, Oribi shows the UTMs data for each conversion on your website.

How to make data-driven decisions with UTM parameters

So now you know how to create links with UTM parameters, how to see their results, and why it is an absolute must to do so. All that remains is to actually use this data and make smarter decisions.

Here are three great examples of how to use data from UTM parameters for optimization:

 

1. Eliminate low performing marketing channels

The most basic and primal use for conversion tracking. See how many conversions each marketing channel is generating, compare it with the cost of each channel and identify the cost per conversion of each channel.

Once you know how much it is costing you to get a conversion from each channel, eliminate the underperforming ones, and allocate their budget to increase the volumes of the more successful ones.

For example, if you have 10 conversions from Facebook, and it cost you $100, your cost per conversion is $10. Now let’s say you also spent $100 on Twitter ads, and only got 2 conversions, hence your cost per conversion from Twitter is $50!

In this case, you might consider eliminating your campaigns on Twitter and reallocating its budget to Facebook or other better-performing marketing channels.

2. See which social media channels are worth the efforts

Social media is probably an essential part of your marketing strategy, but do you really measure whether your efforts on each social network are paying off?

UTM parameters enable you to see which social networks are right for you.

Add UTM parameters to each post you publish to any social media channels and see beyond like or followers – see which social network is getting you actual users! You may find for example, that LinkedIn is generating most of your conversions from social media, and that your many efforts on Facebook may bring you many Likes, but hardly any traffic and conversions on your website.

It’s a very simple thing to do. On all your social posts, use the medium “Social” and the source will be the social network the URL was posted on. Do that consistently and it will be easy to see which social networks are worth your efforts and which you could pass on

3. Test your newsletters performance

Your email performance should be tracked way beyond open rates. It doesn’t matter how many people see your email or open it – What matters is how many of them converted on your website. Use UTM parameters on every link in your newsletters or marketing emails to see exactly how many people reached your website, converted and behaved.

Simply add the source “mail”, and the campaign name can be the headline of the email.

 

The one huge mistake to avoid with UTM parameters

As you already realized from reading this post this far, using UTM parameters is a very efficient way to track conversions, but when they are not used correctly it may cause confusion that may lead you to make the wrong decisions.

The one thing you should avoid with UTM parameters is being inconsistent.

Inconsistency with UTM parameters will cause confusion in your reports, and cause you to misunderstand your data. Being consistent with UTM parameters means you should create a set of rules on how to name your UTM parameters, which everyone on your team must follow.

For example, you can decide that every link used for paid ads will contain a UTM medium “acquisition”. It will then be very easy for you to make a high-level split of users who came through paid traffic. Or you can decide that everything posted on the company’s social media channels will contain the medium “Social”.

Of course, the same goes for source. You need to make sure that the source “Twitter” will always be written as such, and that no one uses “TW’.

Without this consistency, with everyone using their own mediums, you will find yourself manually going through endless reports and tables trying to figure out where the traffic and users came from.

 

Final Words

UTM parameters are super easy to use and are definitely worth the effort. Create your own set of UTM rules, be consistent in preparing them and monitoring on your website analytics tools.

The results will be a magical improvement of your marketing results.

You can see your UTM parameters results in Oribi along with any event on your website which will be automatically collected. Click here to try it for Free.