How to track social media success with custom URLs

By June 21, 2021 Stories

Do you know which social media posts are driving the most traffic and conversions to your website?

That’s where UTM parameters come into play.

UTM parameters are shortcodes that you add to links to your website to help you track the performance of a campaign. UTM codes provide a reliable way to track social campaign success through Google Analytics, unaffected by third-party cookies or the Facebook pixel.

UTM tags provide three key benefits

1. You can find data on conversions and traffic sources allowing you to refine your social media strategy.

UTM parameters allow you to see which social strategies are most effective — and most cost-effective. This can help you decide where to focus your time and budget. For example, maybe Linkedin directs more traffic to your page, but Twitter generates the most leads and conversions. You can then use this information to build relevant and realistic goals, then use your UTM codes to track your progress.

2. You can track the value and measure ROI of social media campaigns.

You can track the success of each individual post, follow dark socials, compare paid content vs organic and calculate the costs needed for lead generation.

UTM tracking social mediaBy adding UTM parameters to individual social media posts, you can track and measure the value of your social media efforts. You’ll understand which posts have generated leads, referred traffic and created conversions. You should then share this information in monthly or quarterly reports for your client, manager or any influential stakeholder to prove how social media drives traffic to your website and how it impacts company revenue.

You can also use data from UTM parameters to calculate the cost needed to acquire a lead or a customer. You can use this to inform decision-makers and help create a larger social media marketing budget.

3. You can test individual posts head-to-head using A/B (split) testing.

You can’t always assume a certain type of content or platform works best for your brand.

UTM tracking social mediaUsing UTM parameters, you can test your theories by sharing two identical posts with and without a video. To do this, you need to tag each URL with an appropriate campaign content UTM code to measure which drives the most traffic to your website.

If you find that videos perform best, you can move on to testing what kind of videos work best. Is it a 30-second quick fact video or an educated advice-led interview? You can run multiple A/B tests to prove your theory and refine your strategy further.

How to use UTM parameters

There are five different UTM parameters; campaign source, medium, name, term and content. To track and measure results in Google Analytics you must use the first three in all UTM tracking links. The term and content options are used specifically for tracking paid campaigns and are therefore optional.

Here’s a UTM example link with parameters in place:

utm tracking URL example

Here’s a step by step guide to generating your own.

  1. Campaign source

The source indicates the social network, search engine, newsletter name, or other specific source driving the traffic.

Examples: Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc.

UTM code: utm_source

Sample code: utm_source=facebook

  1. Campaign medium

The medium tracks the type of channel driving the traffic: organic social, paid social, email, and so on.

Examples: paid_social, organic_social

UTM code: utm_medium

Sample code: utm_medium=paid_social

  1. Campaign name

To track each campaign, you need to give it a name. Popular options are product names, a blog page, a discount code or a tagline.

Examples: new_mortgage_service, free_trial

UTM code: utm_campaign

Sample code: utm_campaign=new_mortgage_service

  1. Campaign term

This is used to track paid keywords or phrases.

Examples: curved_glass, holidays_in_Yorkshire

UTM code: utm_term

Sample code: utm_term=curved_glass

  1. Campaign content

To track different ads within a campaign, you can provide specific content.

Examples: video_with_text, video_interview, blog_window, blog_in_text

UTM code: utm_content

Sample code: utm_content=video_with_text

Don’t worry if you find this coding complicated; you can use Google Analytics Campaign URL builder and create a document to log your campaigns and unique codes in Google Sheets.

UTM tracking codeIf you’re planning on directing traffic to your website from social media platforms, UTM codes should be a critical part of your marketing toolkit.

For more tips and tricks on social media and marketing, head over to our Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin or get in touch today for further insight.