What Are UTM Parameters, and Why Are They So Powerful In Google Analytics?

UTM parameters really are one of the best ways to keep track of where your website traffic is coming from! They’re relatively easy to use once you understand them and set them up. 

When you’re creating strategic marketing initiatives, like paid ads, social media posts, or email campaigns, you need to be using UTM links. They’re the best way to evaluate those strategies you’re using by understanding the major forces driving traffic to your site! 

In a normal situation, you head over to Facebook or Instagram, publish a post, and then that’s the end of it. In a better situation, you do weekly or monthly evaluations of your traffic in Google Analytics to understand your performance. But in the best situation, you use UTM parameters to know EXACTLY what’s working and not so great inside your business. 

What Are UTM Parameters? 

Basically, UTM parameters are short snippets of code that you’re able to add to different links. Then, when you share those links in social media posts, you can track the clicks and traffic from those individual areas. The parameters are like little miniature code snippets that instantly take a link from normal to trackable

Don’t be overwhelmed, even if this sounds a little technical. It’s actually really simple to integrate UTM parameters into your marketing strategy and metrics tracking!

All you’ll need to do is set up parameters based on what you’re hoping to track. You can get super specific and track the general source of the traffic, the specific platform, the post itself, and even what marketing campaign that post is housed under in your business.  

When you use UTM parameters, you can dive into your Google Analytics and get an even clearer picture of where your traffic is coming from. That way, you can evaluate your strategies and focus your time on what’s really working. 


Types Of UTM Parameters

There are actually five different types of UTM parameters that you’ll use to create trackable links. Google Analytics actually requires you to use three of the types: campaign source, campaign medium, and campaign name. 

But the other two (campaign term and campaign content) are optional—they allow you to get even more specific. Even though the “term” and “content” parameters are optional, the more parameters you use, the more specific you can get in how you track your traffic. 

Campaign Source

This parameter tells you where the traffic is coming from—it shows the specific source! It could be for things like Facebook, your email newsletter, any guest blog posts you create for other websites, or Instagram. 

The code you’ll use for this one is: utm_source. 

Campaign Medium

Your campaign medium is what type of channel is driving the traffic. Instead of the specific platform, like Facebook, it’s more general. The campaign medium could be things like organic social media, email, or paid social media. 

For this one, the code you’ll use is: utm_medium.

Campaign Name

You need to name your campaigns to make tracking your traffic even easier! 

What are you promoting with a particular URL? That could play into how you name the campaign. 

Use the code: utm_campaign for this one. 

Campaign Term

For paid and organic search traffic alike, adding a “term” help you drill down on your traffic. For example, if you plan to use UTM to track traffic from email campaigns, the “term” could be the subject line. That way, you’d know what email someone clicked on to find you. 

Another example is if you’re posting in a Facebook group. You could use the “term” parameter to name the Facebook group or talk about what the post was about. That way, you’ll have more details as to where the visitor came from or what post they clicked on. 

On a basic level, you’ll add specific keywords/terms to your UTM to help you hone in more specifically on where your traffic is coming from. 

Campaign Content

Again, this parameter helps you seriously differentiate between different traffic sources and marketing campaigns. 

For example, let’s say you’re trying to specify where your Pinterest traffic is coming from. You could use the pin headline as the UTM “term” and the image or background description as the “content” parameter. This is especially helpful if you have multiple pins with the same headline (or any other content where you could need to further differentiate). 

To go back to our email example from the “term” parameter, what if you want to track multiple links from one email. The term would be the subject line, and the content would be more specific to help you figure out which link people clicked. 

You could also track multiple ads under one campaign more clearly with this UTM parameter. 


Why You Should Use UTM Parameters? 

Wait…why should you even focus on using these UTM parameters? 

There are a LOT of benefits to using UTM. Those five tags give you valuable information and insights into the marketing efforts that are seriously working in your business. 

If you don’t want to take a shot in the dark when it comes to marketing, UTM parameters are the key. You’ll be able to track specific data on a whole new level without tons of extra effort. 

You’ll also save time, money, and resources—no more wasting your time on strategies that don’t work. If your goal is to optimize your strategy for the best results, you’ll really get great insights into what you should be doing when you use UTM parameters. 

That also helps boost ROI and revenue from all of your marketing campaigns, too! There’s perhaps nothing more valuable in your business than being able to use your metrics to leverage better results. And that is what makes UTM parameters SO powerful! 

UTM parameters are one of the best ways to get really clear insights into your marketing. You can narrow your focus and hone in on what works best! 

Remember, UTM parameters are there to help you understand and contextualize your traffic. For even more insights and to leverage UTM for YOUR business, snag our Tag Your Traffic® UTM course and tool. It’s a training resource to help you use UTM and build links effortlessly.