Are you running marketing activities?
Are you tracking the success of these activities?
I work with many people in the marketing industry, and surprisingly, I find that a lot of them are not aware of the importance of tracking their marketing activities.
Therefore, I decided to share some of my best practices on how to track marketing activities through use of UTM parameters in order to show how easy it can be to maximize your marketing efforts. Utilizing these parameters optimally will allow you to make the most of your marketing budget.
Measuring your marketing activities with UTM parameters allows you to track the traffic you send to your landing pages and overall website. With proper usage, you will learn which traffic sources bring you the best return on investment (ROI), which will then allow you to learn where to best invest your budget.
Firstly, for those who don’t already know, UTM parameters are parameters you add to the query string of the website’s URL. You can add any parameter to a URL; this is done by adding a question mark “?” at the end of a URL.
For example, let’s check our own website. Its URL is www.rmarketing.com.
If I wanted to add the parameter “year” to the URL, I would type: www.rmarketing.com?year.
To each parameter, I can add a value. In order to enter a value, I can use an equal sign after the parameter: www.rmarketing.com?year=2017
To add more than one parameter to the URL, I can use the sign “&” to separate the two parameters. For example: www.rmarketing.com?year=2017&month=March. Now we have two parameters: year and month, and each of them will return their value.
If I need to use more than one word in the value, I can use the underscore sign to separate the words: www.rmarketing.com?year=2016_2017&month=February_March.
Now we can advance to effective parameters for measuring success. The common tracking link parameter method is “UTM”, so every link should include “UTM” parameters. Adding these parameters will help you to track the traffic with the Google Analytics tool. There are three main UTM parameters:
- The source of the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_source
- The medium of the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_medium
- The marketing campaign name that brought the traffic should be added to a query string of utm_campaign
There are two more UTM parameters that can be added. They are mostly added to paid campaigns in order to differentiate the keyword and term that was used in the paid ad:
The term/keyword that brought the traffic can be added to a query string of utm_term
The content that was used in the paid ad can be added to a query string of utm_content
There’s no right or wrong with UTM parameters’ structure or content, as long as you stay consistent in all your links.
I decided that this article should include three main parameters; it was posted in LinkedIn pulse blog so I chose the following UTM parameters: www.rmarketing.com?utm_source=pulse_blog&utm_medium=LinkedIn&utm_campaign=Measuring_Marketing_Effectiveness_with_UTM_Parameters.
You can create your URL manually or you can use Google URL Builder – here’s how I added the above query strings to it:
- Please note that in the above link Google changed the order of the parameters (because the medium is not always too clear). However as mentioned before, it’s not critical if you are consistent, as you can always change the order back according to your needs.
OK, so now you all know what UTM parameters are. How can we maximize the usefulness of this newfound knowledge?
Using the UTM parameters to track marketing activity
As mentioned before – EVERY link that brings traffic to your website/landing pages should include the UTM parameters. For example: paid ads, social media links, email links, and so on. Make sure you have a Google Analytics (GA) tag on your landing/website pages in order to track each visit (you’d be surprised to know how many times we found missing GA tags).
The easiest way to find whether you have the GA code on your site is as so:
- Enter to your website/landing page.
- Right-click on it and click “view source” on the menu.
- On the new window click “ctrl + F” and search for “UA-“.
- You should see a script that looks like this:
You can also add conversion tracking on your Google Analytics so you will not only be able to track how many leads came from a specific source/campaign, but also track how many of that source/campaign leads actually converted.
If you have a benchmark of how much a new lead is worth to you, then it’s possible to add a “value” for each conversion. Eventually, in doing so you’ll be able to see how many leads came from this source/campaign and how much they’re worth. If you are using paid channels such as LinkedIn or Facebook ads, you will be able to compare the efficiency of each channel, and, in the long run, determine what portion of your marketing budget to invest in each channel.