How To Use UTM Parameters For Social?

One of the conversations we frequently have with clients and partner agencies is about the use of UTM Parameters. Often we see people flat out not using them or using them in suboptimal ways causing reporting inaccuracies within Google Analytics. Why should UTM Parameters be used for social? It is an excellent way to track traffic from social to your website, and it allows you to see what impact social media has on your buyer’s journey.

Quick Run Down

Here is the quick rundown of the different UTM Parameters, specifically for social media. Start off by going to Google’s URL Builder and filling in the fields according to the information below.

  1. Website URL
    This one is simple, list the URL you want to send traffic to.
  2. Campaign Medium = paidsocial
    The source should always be “paidsocial” when we are talking about paid social media. This ensures traffic is grouped into the proper marketing channel on Google Analytics. Don’t forget to make a custom Paid Social channel grouping.
  3. Campaign Source = Social Platform
    This can be Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other platforms you are on.
  4. Campaign Name
    Generally, this is your promotions name. You want to group all of your Black Friday promotions into one campaign, so name it “Black Friday.”
  5. Campaign Term = targeting
    This field is most often used in PPC advertising. However, we use it extensively in social advertising as a way to identify our different target audiences, remarketing vs. interest vs. lookalike.
  6. Campaign Content = ad variations
    Are you testing between two different ad creatives? Or did you boost a specific video on social? Describe your content variations within this field.

Ready to dive deeper into each of these areas?

Website URL / Source / Medium

These three fields are straight forward and don’t need much more explanation. Ensure your URL has the HTTP(Ss) included. The medium should always be paidsocial. And Source is your platform, simple! However, make sure you also set up a custom channel grouping so Paid Social gets its own channel grouping.

Campaign Name

The name is your top level categorization, this is how you initially group trackable URLs together. The most important thing to remember about campaign name is to be consistent, Google Analytics will list any variation of the name as a separate campaign. This means that “Spring Break,” “Springbreak,” and “spring break” will all be listed as separate campaigns. Whatever name you are using for your promotion, keep it consistent across the board.

We have also seen some clients want to track links from their Facebook wall that are the day to day posts and not part of a particular campaign. Campaign name is actually not a required field so you can leave it blank. Alternatively, you can also call it “Facebook Wall” or other variations if you want to. Leaving it blank will work in most situations.

Campaign Term

Now the fun begins. If you’re using social advertising, you are likely testing out multiple target audiences. This is a great place to list what those audiences are for each URL. To simplify this process, we have come up with codes for each audience, A1, A2, A3, …,. This not only makes filling out the URL builder easier but also makes it simpler to identify which audience was used if you built a lot of audiences inside your Facebook Business Manager.

Campaign Content

This is the perfect opportunity to test out creative to see which variation your target persona’s best connect with. This includes assets, copy, video vs. images, carousel vs. single image, and others. Lessons learned here can be used across your marketing channels so don’t pass this opportunity up!

Implementation

Once you decide on what fields you are using, go to the Google URL Builder and fill in the appropriate forms. This builder has been updated over previous editions and even automatically shorten the URL for you. Use the shortened URL anywhere in your posts on social.

If you are running Facebook ads, there is a UTM Parameters section when you create your individual ads. Google URL Builder will also make a long URL that looks something like this…

akersdigital.com?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=blog&utm_medium=paidsocial&utm_term=a1&utm_content=cityscape

Copy everything after the ? just behind your URL and paste into Facebook’s UTM field. Facebook will now automatically add in the UTM on all URL clicks, pretty nice huh?

You now have a trackable URL for social that is pulling invaluable data into Google Analytics. You can start seeing the traffic and breakdowns in the Acquisition –> Campaign report. There is a lot you can do with this information, which I’ll talk about in another blog post. How have you used UTM Parameters for social media? What are your tips and tricks for the various fields? Leave a comment!

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