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How to Track Social Media Campaigns Using UTM Parameters in Google Analytics

Google Analytics and Social Media

Accurately measuring your social media marketing efforts is essential for understanding how your marketing dollars are spent, so that you can precisely calculate your return on investment (ROI). With the help of Google Analytics, you can see which social networks are driving traffic to your website. Properly setting up conversion tracking and goals in Google Analytics allows you to know which one of your social media visitors convert into leads or customers.

One key method for tracking links from social media is to use UTM tracking parameters.

What are UTM Parameters?

UTM Parameters are tracking tags that you can add to a URL to send data Google Analytics. Tagging your links with UTM parameters will allow you to evaluate the success of your campaigns and pinpoint new methods to drive more users to your website.

Where to Use UTM Parameters in Social Media

URLs with UTM Parameters are sometimes too long for users and social media tools, which means you only want to use them in two places:

1) Put UTM parameters where the full URL will not be displayed

2) Position them where you can share Bit.ly or other shortened links

You want to utilize a Bit.ly link (or a different shortened link) for your Twitter profile’s website field, leave off the UTM parameters or showcase a link that displays them. Note that some people are more comfortable clicking on Bit.ly links in a Tweet than in a profile website link. Therefore, it could be more beneficial to display your link in your profile’s website field with the parameters.

You can add UTM parameter to your Facebook Page’s website field without having them come up in the About box.

URL parameters can be used anywhere in social media where a link needs to be tracked, such as in profile links, in advertisements, organic posts, etc.

How do UTM Parameters work?

Let’s pretend that you decide to share the following link in a Facebook advertisement and a Facebook post: http://www.snaptechmarketing.com/

Imagine 10 people visit your Facebook page. One user clicks on the Facebook post and the other user clicks on the paid advertisement. The remaining users click on alternative links to your website that are found in the ‘About’ tab of your Facebook page. Google Analytics will display ten original sessions from a facebook.com/referral in the Acquisition>All Traffic> Source/Medium report. There will not be a way to determine which link the user chose to come from. However, the solution is to consider appending different UTM parameters to the different Facebook links. Google Analytics will be able to separate the users coming in from different links.

Facebook Post: http://www.snaptechmarketing.com?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=promo1

Facebook Advertisement: http://www.snaptechmarketing.com?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=facebook_ad

Google Analytics will still show the same number of sessions but will segment them out into two different mediums so you can analyze each one individually. These examples show a Campaign Source (utm_source=facebook.com), a Campaign Medium (utm_medium=organic, utm_medium=CPC), and a Campaign Name (utm_campaign=promo1, utm_campaign=Facebook_Ad ).

In essence, UTM parameters help you recognize specific traffic you received from social networks. From both the Acquisition > All Traffic > Source / Medium and Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns report.

How do I Create UTM Parameters?

If you are new to UTM parameters you can create them by using Google Analytics’ URL Builder tool. You can click on this link for a step-by-step guide on how to use the URL builder, but the process only consists of two steps:

1) entering the URL you want to track

2) applying URL parameters to that URL.
In the first step you will be asked to enter your website’s URL. Then complete the fields below: campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name.

In step two, make sure that you know the difference between each parameter. For tracking purposes, create a separate spreadsheet to track these URLS and campaign names.

Campaign Content (utm_content) : use to distinguish between ads or links that direct to the same URL

Campaign medium (utm_medium) : Use to identify a medium such as email or cost per-click

Campaign name (utm_campaigm) : use to identify a specific campaign or promotion

Campaign source (utm_source) : use to identify a search engine, newsletter name or other source

Campaign term (utm_term): Use for paid searches and to mark keywords

Why use UTM Parameters?

Using UTM parameters is an excellent way to track results, and filter your reporting focus. This way, you get a much more in-depth collection of data by using Google Analytics. Accurately tracking your campaigns will create a much more realistic perspective of how your online marketing initiatives are performing and for you to calculate your ROI.

Want to learn more about UTM parameters and how to effectively apply them to your social media campaigns? Call us at Snaptech Marketing.