UTM Parameters: What are they? & How Can You Use Them?

Written by Ali Mebkhouta

9 min read

August 16, 2020

Tracing your traffic sources can be considered as the backbone of every marketing campaign. To evaluate your marketing efforts you must have a clear idea of where your audience is coming from. And what are the most effective platforms for your business. And for this reason, UTM Parameters came to existence. So what are they and how can you use them properly and effectively?

Definition of UTM Parameters:

Urchin Tracking Module, or better know as UTM parameters are just simple tags or snippets of code that you add to the end of your URL. These parameters allow you to track the source of your traffic for any particular link, and send the information to Google Analytics or any other analytics platform you use for monitoring and analyzing your website.

Here’s an example of UTM parameters added to a link:

**https://app.xamber.sa/auth/login?utm_source=organic&utm_medium=xsite&utm_campaign=menu&

utm_term=account&utm_content=main-menu**

You may ask why do I need them? As we mentioned before UTM parameters help you track your data about where did someone comes from to your website. They can help you identify the source of traffic or the places your users coming from.

Moreover, they allow you to know the type of medium your traffic is coming from. Whether it’s a post, and email, a paid click… etc, this helps you evaluate your efforts and know which one of the mediums and sources are working better for you.

UTM parameters are also helpful in recognizing your different campaigns and content that brought the traffic to your website. And all that data is sent to your Google Analytics to help you evaluate your work, and optimize your campaigns through different media.

Using UTM parameters to track and analyze the website by Google analytics

The Different Types of UTM Parameters:

As you saw in the example of UTM parameters above they have many types such as medium, campaign, and term. Only 3 of those parameters are required for your analytics, so let’s go through them one by one discussing each one and its uses:

Infographic on the UTM parameters and their use

1. Source (utm_source):

This parameter allows you to know where the people are coming from to your website (the source of traffic). This UTM parameter is required and the best practice is to use this to distinguish between the platforms you post your content on.

For example, if this parameter is used to know whether is someone coming through Facebook to your desired page you use the parameter like this: utm_source=facebook.

2. Medium (utm_medium):

This is also a required parameter, it helps you identify the medium or the type of post from which your audience is coming. You may share a lot of content on a preferred platform, with the source UTM parameter only you won’t be able to effectively evaluate your marketing effort, for that you need another parameter to distinguish between the different media.

With utm_medium you will be able to know exactly where the traffic comes from, be it a post, a paid Ad, a newsletter, or any other type of media, and the list goes on. An example of this parameter will be like:

utm_medium=newsletter

3. Campaign (utm_campaign):

The third one is the campaign parameter. As the name suggests this parameter is used to distinguish and to identify the specific campaign categories that your users came from. Maybe you are running a “Spring Sales” campaign through your content through different media, use the campaign parameter to distinguish the campaign from others. For example:

utm_campaign=spring-sales.

4. Term (utm_term):

This parameter is not required like the previous three. However, it can be helpful when it comes to Ads or paid search results, this parameter helps you recognize each one of your ads using specific keywords related to it. For example, you’re doing a paid Ad for your login page you may use this parameter linked to your Ad URL:

utm_term=account.

5. Content (utm_content):

This is also an extra unnecessary parameter like the previous one. It can be used to provide you with extra details about the traffic. It is mostly used with Facebook ads or Call to Actions. This parameter gives you more information about the ad or CTA clicked and makes it easy to distinguish the traffic coming from it. For example:

utm_content=cta-popup.

How to Use UTM Parameters:

After discussing the different types of UTM parameters, we’re gonna see now some of the best practices you should apply when adding those parameters to guarantee better results.

1. Stay consistent:

When deciding your UTM parameters naming always be sure to stay consistent and have a naming convention between you and the other marketing team members. This will help you get the result more effectively and organize them well in Google Analytics. Besides that, it will spare your team members the confusion and misunderstanding.

For example:

Writing utm_source=facebook is entirely different from utm_source=Facebook or utm_source=fb

Also as a best practice always consider using lowercase.

So always remember to stay consistent for better clear results.

2. Stay Short:

This goes without saying but, you don’t want to share your link including UTM parameters which are very long and ugly. Always make sure to shorten your links after including your parameters to keep your link clean and tidy.

Branding your links is also proven to give you better results that’s why you should always consider doing it.

3. Stay Specific:

The main reason behind using UTM parameters is to get specific clear results about your traffic. That’s why you should always be specific and clear when it comes to choosing the keywords for your parameters. If you planning to put the link on Facebook, for example, write utm_source=facebook and not utm_source=social-media.

PS: As you noticed above in UTM parameters we must always use the dashes “-” instead of spaces ” “.

Making your UTM Parameter on xAmber:

As always in xAbmer, we focus on simplicity in doing any task. We help you save time and do anything you want by just a few clicks using our easy and simple dashboard.

Here on xAmber, we make the task of creating UTM parameters and attaching them to your links so easy and simple. All that done by just following these simple steps, and you’re good to go.

First click on “Create” from the sidebar, then click on “Website Link”

Creating a short link on xAmber

After that write your URL and click on UTM on the right to add your parameters.

UTM button on xAmber

A popup will appear which allows you to write your desired parameters. Click on “done” after you finish.

Adding UTM parameters on xAmber

After you click “done” your parameters will appear on your link. Don’t forget to click on “Amber It” to shorten or brand your link

The original link after adding UTM parameters

Wrap Up

As we have seen, UTM parameters are proven to be very helpful in tracking the sources of your traffic. Moreover, it allows you to organize and analyze your results efficiently. Beside that it connects the results directly to your Google Analytics or any analysis platform of choice. And all that makes it easy for you to evaluate your work and optimize your marketing campaigns.

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