How to Use UTM Parameters to Track Social Media Success

How to Use UTM Parameters to Track SM Success

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If you’re a direct seller, you’re constantly looking for ways to drive traffic to your websites. After all, if you want customers to buy directly from you, you need those customers to actually go to your website. So you set up social media accounts to drive traffic. You make posts with links back to your sites and really engage with the community in the hopes of increasing brand awareness.

But how do you know if your social media tactics are working? Sure, you have Google Analytics and the like to track overall traffic to your website. But how can you see exactly which social media campaigns are having the best return on investment?

Enter: UTM parameters. These little bites of code on your social media links can help you track exactly which posts, social media platforms, and accounts are proving to be the most effective. And if you’re scared by the word “code,” don’t worry. You don’t need to be a professional programmer to integrate UTM parameters. UTM is simple and easy, trust us.

What Are UTM Parameters?

UTM parameters are little strings of code that are tacked onto links. UTM is actually an acronym, standing for Urchin Traffic Monitor (but that’s a whole story that, while interesting, is beyond the scope of this blog). This code allows you to more accurately track information about traffic generated from links.

Essentially, you code the UTM parameters to include a whole bunch of data in a link. You can make it tell you not only what social media accounts are generating greater traffic, but you can also pinpoint exact post dates and marketing campaigns if you’d like. UTM parameters can provide as much or as little information as you program them to provide.

You’ve probably actually seen these tags on links. Here’s an example of how UTMs change a link:

  • First, we start with a basic link. For example, let’s say we had a link to NexLaunch’s resources page. It’d look like this:
  • Now, let’s say we have a link to that page from a social media campaign of blog posts. In that case, we add a UTM to show us the campaign, the medium (what type of site it’s from), and the specific site it’s coming from (in this case, Instagram). That makes the link look like this:
    • https://nexlaunch.com/resources/?utm_campaign=blog_post &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook 
  • Each “UTM” in the link highlights a different parameter we’re tracking, and each “&” separates the parameters themselves. See? Not too scary.

Hopefully, you’re beginning to see how these UTM parameters could be game-changing, but let’s discuss that in depth.

Why Should You Use Them?

The benefits of incorporating UTM parameters are huge, especially considering their relatively easy integration. 

UTM parameters are game-changing for your digital marketing campaigns. Now, instead of snowballing and guesstimating how well your specific social media campaigns are performing, you can set up specific UTM codes to show you the exact websites and campaigns that are providing the most (or least) traffic increases to your website.

The goal of any digital marketing campaign is to have a high return on investment. You want the money you’re spending on marketing to drive up sales as efficiently as possible, and you track that by seeing which of your marketing campaigns are increasing site traffic most effectively and thus increasing exposure, brand awareness, and sales.

UTM parameters allow you to see exactly which marketing tools are working best for your company. If you’re paying for clickable ads, you need to be able to see if paid traffic is increasing meaningfully. If you’re running a half-dozen social media campaigns, you need to see which posts and accounts are performing best. UTM parameters allow you access to the data you need to see those trends.

What Are UTM Parameters?

Step-by-Step Guide to Set Up UTM Code

By this point, you’re hopefully sold on wanting to set up UTM code on your digital marketing campaigns. We’ve mentioned it’s simple to set up, but saying is different from doing. If you’re wondering how to actually go about setting up UTM parameters in your links, we’ve got your back.

First, you need to define exactly what you want your UTM code to track. This will help you generate the different UTMs we mentioned earlier. There are five main categories for UTM parameters that you should: a. Decide if you’re using them and b. Decide what needs to go in them, if you’re using them. Essentially, you’re labeling the link with UTM parameters for easy organization.

  1. Campaign Source
    1. This is the media platform or search engine or other platforms you’re advertising or linking from. This could be Facebook, Google, Bing, etc.
    2. Code example: utm_source=google
  2. Campaign Medium
    1. This is the channel you’re trying to increase traffic through: email, paid social, organic social, those types of things.
    2. Code example: utm_medium=email
  3. Campaign Name
    1. This is purely an organizational tag. Giving your campaigns names will help them cluster in your analytics so you can see overall campaign performance.
    2. Code example: utm_campaign=winter_campaign
  4. Campaign Term
    1. If your campaign is built on paid keywords, this is the parameter to track that.
    2. Code example: utm _term=oak_desks
  5. Campaign Content
    1. This tag lets you see what kind of content you’re linking from, like video ads or click ads.
    2. Code example: utm_content=click_ad
  6. A Full Link
    1. So combining all those UTM parameters, your link would look something like this:
    2. Original link: https://nexlaunch.com/resources/
    3. Link with UTM Parameters: Click here to see the URL

As you can see, UTM parameters are essentially just categories that you plug and play with. Take the parameters you want to track, insert the information tags you want to track into them, and boom! You’ve got a functioning link providing far more marketing data for your social media team than a normal link would provide.

And, if you’re scared about using code like that, there are plenty of UTM generators out there. Google Analytics even provides one completely for free!

UTM Parameters

Your Next Move

You came with questions about UTM parameters, and they have all been answered. You know what they are, what they can do for you, and even how and where to make them. You, my friend, are a UTM parameter expert now.

But there is, as always, more to learn. And maybe you, understanding UTM parameters now, have thought to yourself, “My social media team is stretched thin as is. I’d love for a group of clandestine experts to handle this for me.” Direct selling is a hard business, and you might need to focus your efforts elsewhere.
Either way, we’ve got your back. Whether you wish to learn more about UTM parameters and truly master digital marketing, or you’d rather hand it off to someone else and have them handle it all for you, our expert teams at NexLaunch have got your back. Contact us and we’ll get your social media marketing to the best quality it can be.

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