How to Use UTM to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Strategy

by Maximilian Claessens
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UTM – or Urchin Tracking Modules – are parameters that you can add at the end of a URL in order to track the performance of any marketing campaigns. When a user clicks on a link that is tagged with UTM parameters, this data is then sent back to your analytics platform. This allows you to gain relevant information that helps you understand the campaigns and channels that are attracting the most traffic, and where is best to optimize your marketing strategies. Setting up a URL with UTM parameters allows you to measure a range of factors including the source of the traffic, the medium, content, search terms and more. So, how can you use UTM tracking to measure the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns?

Social Media

Adding UTMs to your profile links and any links that you share on your social profiles allows you to compare them. Adding UTM tracking links means that you can make informed comparisons between each of your social profiles and see whether you are getting the most visitors and engagement from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn for example.

If you want to know how the performance of posts, ads and sponsored posts relate to each other, simply use UTM codes to differentiate them. You can use the same campaign name and source but create a difference in the medium and content. For example:

  • Regular post:
    https://www.yourdomain.com/?utm_campaign=briljant-campaign&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social
  • Facebook add
    https://www.yourdomain.com/?utm_campaign=briljant-campaign&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=ad
  • Facebook sponsored post
    https://www.yourdomain.com/?utm_campaign=briljant-campaign&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=post

In the example above, we have assumed that you don’t use the automatic UTM tagging of Facebook, for example.

Of course, you’ll need to have an organised UTM strategy in place to ensure that you always use the same setup, as there are more options than just this one.

Digital Advertising

Within Google Ads (previously Adwords) you can use auto tagging in order to get detailed information about the performance of your campaigns. You can than change the auto tagging and convert them into UTM parameters. An alternative is to add the UTM tracking codes manually to the ads.

With Bing Advertising, you can also activate auto tagging. Bing will add the UTM codes to the URL’s used in the campaigns.

After setting up UTM tracking, you can see the performance of those adds in Google Analytics. But when creating other media for different channels, but for the same campaigns, it’s better to create a new UTM code with the same campaign name. Because not everybody has access to Google Ads or Bing Advertising, it’s wise to add the used UTM code to your favorite UTM management tool. For instance, there’s UTM Star which offers a solution that you can use to easily generate UTM codes that can then be added to your digital advertising campaigns for tracking purposes.

Banner Ads

Banner ads like the ones used in display advertising must be tagged with UTM parameters. Investing in banners can cost a lot of money, so knowing what the ROI is, is a must. Do not forget to use the content part of the UTM Code (utm_content=) to add the different sizes of the banners. That way you  also know which formats are more valuable for your business.

Affiliate Marketing

If you are making use of affiliate marketers to spread the word about your product or service, UTM can help you measure which affiliate marketers are performing better than others. Do this by sharing shortened URLs with UTMs with them, which allows you to not only compare marketer performance but also compare this marketing strategy against the other marketing campaigns that you utilize.

Product Newsletters

If you encourage users and clients to sign up to an email newsletter from your brand, you can include UTMs in your links, images and calls to action in each email. Doing so will make it easier for you to determine which parts of newsletter emails are performing the best and driving the most traffic to your website.

UTM is a very simple yet effective way to track the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns by having the data show up in your Google Analytics account. You can add UTM links to various marketing campaigns to track performance and make data-driven decisions.

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