The Basics of Tracking Social Media Performance Using UTM Parameters

The Basics of Tracking Social Media Performance Using UTM Parameters

UTM parameters are a simple but effective means of tracking your website traffic. Compatible with analytics tools like Google Analytics, it provides data on how, where, and why traffic is driven to your site. Using this on the links and paid ads you share on your social media platforms allows you to track the social media performance as well as insights on your campaigns and paid ads.

With UTM parameters, you’ll be able to optimize your social media channels and have better strategic marketing insights when planning for more traffic and sales. Here are the basics on how to track your different social media performance using UTM parameters.

What Are UTM Parameters?

UTM parameters, also known as Urchin Tracking Modules, is a string of code added to the end of a URL that provides information about the traffic driven by that URL. It tells analytics tools like Google Analytics where the traffic to your site is coming from, which campaign it’s related to, and more.

Here’s how a link with UTM parameters looks like: https://ilfusion.medium.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=organic_social&utm_campaign=sale

The UTM is the string of code that follows the question mark and it’s composed of three major parameters with two optional parameters. Configuring these parameters is the critical step that will help you track and measure data, especially for your social media platforms.

How Do UTM Parameters Help with Measuring Social Media Campaign Performance?

By utilizing UTMs on your landing page links found in your social media platforms, you’ll be able to see which of your social media channels are driving traffic into your site. This gives you the following benefits:

  • Identify which social media platforms bring the most traffic to your site.
  • Provide insight on traffic vs. conversion rate.
  • Identify the most effective campaigns to determine ROI and improve marketing strategies.

By configuring UTMs accordingly, you’ll be able to measure social media performance with the analytics tool of your choice. Here are the different UTM parameters and the data that they track:

Source

This parameter tells you where your traffic is coming from, or the social media platform that led traffic to your landing page. If your link is from your Facebook content, that’s what would be indicated in the UTM code configured as: &utm_source=facebook.

You can even take it a step further by specifying which post or content the link is from. It’s important to configure this properly; otherwise, Google Analytics won’t be able to determine which social media platform traffic came from and would classify it as organic traffic.

Medium

This parameter tells you how traffic got to your site. In this case, it’s social media or just social: &utm_medium=social. With this, you’ll be able to see how many website visitors your social media are responsible for the traffic. You can even configure this to track traffic from your non-social media channels such as emails or blogs.

Campaign

For this parameter, you’ll be able to determine which among your campaign efforts is responsible for website traffic. It can be used for various campaigns like a sale, a product launch, a contest, a tagline, and more.

If you’re using it for a product launch, your code would be: &utm_campaign=product_launch.

These three are the mandatory parameters you need to set up if you want to utilize UTMs. The next two are optional parameters that are used specifically to track paid ads.

Term

This parameter is used to track specific paid keywords or phrases used in your campaign. It tells you which terms are the most effective in driving traffic, which is especially useful for your SEO strategy. For example, if your key phrase is running shoe, your code will look like this: &utm_term=running_shoe.

Content

In a single campaign, it’s standard practice to utilize different ads for different channels. Examples are video ads, stories ads, messenger ads, etc. With this UTM tag, you’re able to see how much traffic each ad is sending your way. All you have to do is to specify the paid ad type in the URL: &utm_content=messenger_ad_green.

How To Set-Up UTM Parameters

Setting up UTM in your links doesn’t require any coding experience. The codes are simple and you can input them manually for every link you have. However, using UTM generators like Google Campaign Builder would be much easier.

Using Google Campaign Builder To Set-Up UTM Tracking

Using Google Campaign Builder is a straightforward process. All you need to do is input the required data related to your social media campaign. You can follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to the Google Campaign Builder site to get started.
  2. Input the URL you want to add a UTM code for.
  3. Enter the values for every parameter.

Once done, you’ll find the URL with the UTM at the bottom of the form. You can shorten it with the default URL shortener found on the same page or copy the URL and paste it into a different shortening tool. You can then use the shortened link in your social media campaigns to hide and protect your parameters.

Aside from Google Campaign Builder, you can use other UTM builders available in the market. They have similar functions but differ in some features or details.

Analyzing Data From UTM Tags To Improve Your Marketing Strategies

Once your parameters are all set, you’ll be able to get data on your social media and campaign’s performance. Using Google Analytics or your preferred analytics tool, you can extract data that will give you the following insights:

  • Platforms that are more successful in driving traffic to your site.
  • Campaigns your customers find most attractive.
  • Type of paid ads with the most number of clicks.

You can get more granular insights depending on the parameters you set. With this report, you can adjust and improve your marketing strategies based on the best-performing social media platforms, media, and campaigns. It also makes it possible to compute sales conversion rates to quantify the success of your strategy.

Computing for ROI also becomes possible since you can now see how much traffic your paid ads give you and how many are buying customers. Comparing the sales generated versus your advertising cost as a success measure is the kind of data your stakeholders would also appreciate.

4 Tips In Using UTM To Track Social Media Performance

Now that you know about UTMs and how they can benefit your business, here are some tips that can help you make the most out of this tool.

Use UTMs On All Your Campaigns

If you want an accurate picture of your social media performance, you need to use UTMs in all of your campaigns. Be consistent and use it on new campaigns and add them to existing ones. This way, you can establish patterns and behaviors that isuseful for future campaigns.

Be Consistent In Your Naming Conventions

It’s easy to input text in your parameters without worrying about conventions, it will still work. However, being inconsistent will scatter your data points and can make tracking difficult for you and your team.

For example, “social” and “Social” will mean the same thing, but Google Analytics will identify them as different mediums and track them separately. It’s recommended that you use lowercase letters and use underscores instead of spaces. This rule will keep it simple and easier for your team.

Always Shorten Your URL To Hide Your Parameters

Your URL will be visible to anyone which includes your competitors. If you want to prevent the competition from seeing what you’re doing, shortening URLs is a must. As mentioned above, there are many different URL shortening tools available online to help you do this.

Test UTM Parameters

If you’re using different social media platforms to share the same content or paid advertisement, how will you know which one will perform better? This is where UTM testing comes in.

UTMs allows you to do a split test, sharing the same paid ads on different platforms to determine which one will drive more traffic and which platform works best for certain ads. This helps you in planning your strategy, which brings us to our final point.

Connect It With Marketing Metrics And Determine ROI

With the data gathered using UTMs, you can tie it up with your marketing metrics to find out what works and what doesn’t. Because you can measure the traffic driven by paid ads, you can also compute its ROI and focus more on the platforms and ads that yield the best results.

When used correctly, UTMs will give you a wealth of information on your traffic that will help in your social media marketing campaigns. Knowing what works and what doesn’t will make you more competitive, cost-effective, and enable you to drive your business towards success.

For more social media marketing and digital marketing articles, head on to our blog at https://www.ilfusion.com/blog.

Ilfusion Inc. is a full-service creative agency located in Fort Worth, TX with talents in web, design, video, social media and marketing consultation.