What are UTM Parameters and How to Use Them

By | 11 April, 2014

Understanding UTM parameters is very important in digital marketing. Unfortunately, most newbies only learn what are UTM parameters after blowing a few hundred dollars and realizing that they need to track their ad campaigns more effectively via Google Analytics.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters are simple tags that you add to your URL. These tags help you mark each campaign uniquely. UTM parameters are read in Google Analytics. These parameters allow you to tag each of your ad campaign based on the source, medium and the campaign name you wish to allot them.

Why are they important?

UTM parameters are important to track your campaign performance in Google Analytics. Unless you track your campaigns effectively, you are shooting in the dark! You won’t know if you are getting ROI for the money that you spend.

Here is an example to better illustrate it, suppose you are running an ad on Facebook. You create 5 different campaigns in Facebook and allocate $20 to each of them. At the day’s end, all campaigns have consumed their allocated budget. How will you now know which campaign is giving you the maximum conversions? This is exactly where UTM parameters are useful. They allow you to individually track each campaign performance via Google Analytics.

How to use UTM parameters?

It is very easy to use UTM parameters. Suppose the website is cultofdigital.com and I run an advertisement on Facebook for my blog. Then this how my landing page URL will be created with an UTM:

http://cultofdigital.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=ad&utm_campaign=blog-ad-1

Now, as you can see I have provided a UTM to my URL.

My source is Facebook, I have provided the medium as an ‘ad’, since it was an ad, and I provided an arbitrary campaign name that I would recognize in my Analytics account. All these three parameters are compulsory so as to be read in Google Analytics and you can put in any name after the ‘=’ sign that you would be comfortable with.

What are UTM parameters

When I check my Google Analytics account to see the ad performance, I will be able to isolate my campaign and see how many visits I got and how they users behaved after landing on my blog once they clicked the ad. UTM parameters are fairly simple and very important.

In case, you are curious what UTM stands for, its Urchin Tracking Module.