How to use UTM parameters to track social media success

If you want to strengthen your marketing efforts and achieve big business goals, tracking your website traffic is a must. Fortunately, there are plenty of analysis tools available on the Internet that you can use to measure your activity. But what if you need more precise data? This is where UTM tracking comes into play. This article introduces the ins and outs of using UTM in marketing, and answers the most common questions about UTM tracking, such as what is a UTM code? What can UTM parameters help you identify? It also shares the best practices of UTM and provides some UTM examples.


Table of Contents


What are UTM parameters?

Before we dive deep into how to use UTM parameters to your advantage, we need to answer a question—what does UTM mean? UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and UTM parameters are short pieces of code added to a link. They contain information about the place where the link was added and allow tracking clicks and traffic from a specific location without hassle.


The benefits of UTM parameters

Here are the main advantages of using UTMs in your campaigns:

  1. They provide insights into how people get to your content.
  2. They allow you to gauge how effective a channel is and measure ROI.
  3. You can understand how successful different pieces of content are.

You may say that there’s Google Analytics for all these. Though Google Analytics indeed sheds light on where your website visitors come from, the tool doesn’t go deep into detail.

For example, Google Analytics can tell you where your source of traffic is coming from—Facebook or Pinterest. However, it can’t provide you with fine details. It can’t differentiate between people clicking through your Facebook post and Facebook paid ads. They look the same for the tool and here is where UTM tracking steps in. You can use UTM tags to track social media links from different campaigns, identify what CTAs resonate with your audience most, what links get clicked in the newsletter, etc.


Types of UTM parameters

There are several types of UTM parameters. Some of them are required, while others are optional.


  1. Utm_source (required).

This tag is used to identify the source of traffic. For instance, the link below shows that a user arrives at the website through a link on Twitter.


  1. Utm_medium (required)

This tag type specifies the marketing channel through which the link was shared, for example, email, CPC, or social media. UTM medium in the link below shows that the link was shared through email.


  1. Utm_ campaign (required)

This UTM tag is used to identify a specific campaign you use the link in. This can be a sale, a giveaway, a product launch, etc.


  1. Utm_term (optional) 

This tag is used to determine the paid keywords that drive clicks to your campaign.


  1. Utm_content (optional)

This type of UTM is used to differentiate between items of content on the same page, like CTAs or buttons. It allows you to identify which one is more effective and drives more clicks.


How to set up UTM parameters

Though you can create UTM tags manually, it’s pretty time-consuming. Fortunately, the web offers lots of UTM builders to help you tackle the task, including Hubspot, Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder, the Hootsuite Composer, etc.

Let’s have a look into how you can set up UTM parameters with Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.

  • Go to Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder. The tool is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Enter your website URL.
  • Enter the source of your traffic, for example, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc.
  • Enter the type of medium driving the traffic, for example, paid social, email, banner, etc.
  • Enter the campaign name. You need to give each campaign a name to make tracking your marketing efforts easier.
  • Enter the paid keywords you use in your campaign.
  • Enter the parameter value that will help you to track various ads within one campaign. For instance, it can be text_link, logo_link, red_banner, etc.
  • Once you’ve entered all the UTM parameter values, Campaign URL Builder will automatically generate the URL. To copy it, click the Copy URL button.
  • To shorten the URL, click the Convert URL to Short Link button. This requires authorization with


How to use UTM parameters to refine your marketing strategy

UTM tracking can become a game-changer for your marketing strategy, arming you with loads of data for making informed and impactful decisions. So, make sure you use it to understand what resonates with your audience most and fine-tune your campaigns.

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