Using UTM Parameters to Track Facebook Marketing Success

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, which is one of the main components of analytics tracking. UTM Parameters are important metrics expressed as tags that appear at the end of URLs and used frequently in PPC marketing campaigns, including Facebook.

These parameters allow marketers to know how much traffic is coming from a particular link so that they can optimize their marketing techniques. They also show a value that represents the number of clicks a particular backlink has brought.

Why and when do you need to use UTM parameters?

utm parameters

If you’re running multiple marketing campaign, you’ll want to use UTM parameters. Without UTM parameters, it’s practically impossible to define which sources the traffic is coming from.

Whenever you’re running an advertising campaign, you’ll want as much feedback as possible. By enabling UTMs, you’re actively getting the metrics that you need to optimise your campaign.

example of utm parameters

The URL of any advertisement or promotion must have UTMs enabled as it’s the best way to decipher how people land on those particular landing pages, and what kinds of ads perform the best.

By understanding which ads perform better, you can reshape your advertising strategy and augment campaign performance.

The 5 Types Of UTM Parameters

types of UTM parameters

Campaign Source

The campaign source UTM parameter defines where the click originated from. For example, if the click originated from a Facebook advertisement, the UTM code will look like this:

utm_source=Facebook

Campaign Medium

Meanwhile, the campaign medium defines the broader area from which the click originated. While the source would give you a definitive location, the medium will give you the marketing medium where the click originated from. In this case, the UTM will look like this:

utm_source=Facebook&utm_source=social_media

Campaign Name

The campaign name is a self-explanatory metric that comes after the campaign medium. Businesses run multiple advertisement campaigns at the same time, and that helps distinguish one from the other. Building on the previous example, the UTM would look like this:

utm_source=Facebook&utm_source=social_media&utm_campagin=(campaign name)

Campaign Term

The source, medium, and name are all mandatory and appear with every UTM parameter, but the campaign term is optional. The campaign term part of the UTM parameter defines the search term you paid to be associated with the advertisement. If we were to enable this, the code would look like this:

utm_source=Facebook&utm_source=social_media&utm_campagin=(campaign name)&utm_term=(paid advertisement term)

Campaign Content

Just like the campaign term, the campaign content portion of the UTM parameter is completely optional. The campaign content applies to the images or other content used in the advertisement, such as banners, buttons, or animations. The campaign content is good to have if you want to find out which content results in the best CTR. If we were to enable this, it would look like:

utm_source=Facebook&utm_source=social_media&utm_campagin=(campaign name)&utm_term=(paid advertisement term)&utm_content=(animation, image, button…)

Now, say that we’re running an SEO advertising ad. We’re focusing on Facebook marketing, and the campaign is named SEOcampaign1. We’ve paid for the term “optimize your content”, and we’ve tied it up in a pretty little animation to scoop up prospects.

Well, in this case, the code would look like:

utm_source=Facebook&utm_source=social_media&utm_campagin=SEOcampagin1&utm_term=optimize-your-content&utm_content=animation1

How to Build UTM Parameters

There are two different ways to build UTM parameters. You can do so by yourself and build them manually, or you can use the Facebook UTM parameter builder.

Ideally, knowing both of these methods is a good thing as it allows you to be on top of the situation when building your next line of UTM code.

Below, we’ll outline both of these methods in detail and provide some resources that might help you along the way.

Build it manually

The first thing you need to do is compile all of your information in one place, so it’s easy to write a code. You’ll have to prepare all of the metrics we talked about, which include:

  • Website URL
  • Campaign Source Link
  • Campaign Medium
  • Campaign Name
  • Campaign Term
  • Campaign Content

After you’ve compiled all this information, it’s time to enter it.

Of course, you can do it manually by simply writing the UTM, just like we’ve explained earlier in the article, but a tool such as the Google Campaign URL Builder does quick work of this by turning your info into a UTM parameter code.

Some other tools you can use to help you on your UTM creation journey are Terminus, UTMBuilder, and CampaignTrackly.

Build it with Facebook UTM Parameter builder

facebook utm parameter builder
If you’re advertising on Facebook, you’ll be delighted to know that they have an in-house UTM parameter builder.

Once you’re starting your campaign and making an advertisement, you’ll find an option to “build a URL parameter under the website URL section.” By clicking this, you’ll be brought to a similar tool that we’ve talked about in manual building, but this one is on Facebook. Here, you can enter the data and see Facebook generate it into a unique UTM parameter code.

While this is similar, it will give you a lot more control over your UTM code if you are using it on Facebook, and if you enable it, you can even see which placement yields the best CTR in your UTM code.

4 Tips on Building UTM Parameters

While it might sound as simple as entering data into the correct field, people make some common mistakes that lead to the UTM parameter not performing well or just being confusing or overly long.

Below, we’ll give you six fantastic tips on how you can utilise UTM parameters and avoid some common mistakes.

Use a predefined naming convention

One of the things people do when they create their UTM parameters is to reinvent the wheel. People tend to add upper cases to their UTM codes, spaces, and a whole range of other things which they think will make their UTM code more unique, easier to understand, or better in any way.

When it comes to UTMs, it’s always good to keep it as simple as possible. Good practices for building UTMs are:

  • Keeping everything lower-case
  • Using underscores instead of spaces
  • Keeping the code as short as possible
  • Assigning keywords rather than names

Remembering to do these simple things will make a world of difference. Consistency is key when it comes to using UTM parameters.

Track UTM links in a spreadsheet

A good practice if you want to get the most out of your UTM codes is to organise them within a spreadsheet. This will make it far easier to monitor the performance of your advertisements, analyse your newly acquired data, and build new UTMs later down the line.

Create UTM Presets

If you’re working with UTMs frequently, creating a range of UTM presets might be the best thing you can do to streamline and optimise UTM creation. For example, if you run advertisements and campaigns on any given platform quite often, and you run several simultaneously, creating a UTM preset will allow you to create new UTMs much faster.

A UTM preset should contain all of the things UTMs usually contain – just leave out the last-minute details such as the Campaign Term and the Campaign Content.

If you keep everything straightforward, consistent, and uniform, you can create a range of UTM parameters within minutes. A good place to keep UTM presets is a spreadsheet or a word document, which can be easily accessed and edited.

Alternatively, if you work with other people who create UTMs, having a range of UTM presets for campaigns on different platforms will make everyone’s job much easier later down the line.

Compare your UTMs

If you use more than a couple of UTMs and have more campaigns running simultaneously on the same platform, it would be a good idea to compare the data you get from different UTMs. While analysis usually does the trick, it’s smart to put two different UTMs against each other.

It will give you a good idea of what works with any of these UTMs, and ultimately, which campaign is better and why. Comparing advertisements like this gives you crucial feedback, which you can use to improve your advertisements, get a better CTR, and increase your overall ROI.

Conclusion

UTMs are some of the most useful parameters when it comes to marketing, and if you’re doing the bulk of your marketing on a platform such as Facebook, it would be a good idea to use unique UTMs for every advertisement.

Staffed with seasoned industry marketing experts, Heroes of Digital is the top Facebook marketing agency in Singapore that can help you construct your UTMs, apply and deploy them properly, and get the most out of your Facebook marketing strategy.

Get your free digital consultation today!

Xavier Tan
Co-Founder
Xavier is the Co-Founder of Heroes of Digital. He started social media marketing and SEM long before it became popular in Singapore. His passion is in helping businesses grow through effective lead generation. He has overseen campaigns for Amara Hotel, NTU, Marina Bay, L'Oreal, and 100+ SMEs.

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