Tracking social media success with UTM parameters – Authors' Guilds

Tracking social media success with UTM parameters

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Tracking social media success with UTM parameters

UTM parameters are text codes you can add to the links of your social post to track essential metrics about your website visitors, sources of traffic, and conversion. The codes come after the question mark that ends a website’s URL.

You can use it to track how traffic flows from your social networks to your website pages. It is more advanced than the regular built-in social media analytics that can only track clicks-through to your website.

UTM parameters help to the performance of your social media contents and campaign ads. You can even test your posts using the A/B testing style when you include the parameter to your post’s link. They also give insights into the flow of traffic and conversion on your site.

The word UTM parameters might sound very technical, but the truth is that you don’t even need a programmer to set it up because you can do it yourself and ensure they are working with your website and social media channels to provide important metrics.

Types of UTM parameters

There are five UTM parameters you can use for your social links. Three of them are for tracking links while the remaining two tracks paid campaigns.

Campaign source

Here, the sources driving the traffic to your website could be social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. It also includes other sources such as newsletters, search engines, blogs, etc. The code for this is utm_source.

Campaign medium,

The campaign medium is the type of channel used to drive the traffic, which could be paid social, organic social, email, etc. The code for this parameter is utm_medium

Campaign name

This parameter type is the specific name you give to campaigns ran on social media networks so that you can keep track of the campaign’s performance. Campaign name can be codes to particular promotions, contest name, tagline, etc. The code is utm_campaign

Campaign term

This parameter helps in tracking paid keywords or phrases. The tracking code is utm_term

Campaign content

Allow you to follow the many ads in a campaign. The code for this parameter is utm_content.

You can use all the parameters in one link or individually, depending on what you wish to track. Use the symbol & to separate each parameter. The = sign introduces the campaign source.


When you start using the parameters, you won’t have to add them manually because you’ll have a UTM generator to help out.

How to set up your UTM parameter

It doesn’t take much time to set up your UTM parameters to start tracking social media results. Here’s how to do it:

Create a Google Analytics account

If you are going to use the parameters, you’ll need a Google Analytics account. So, start by creating one for free if you don’t have for your website.

After creating the account, sign into it. You’ll see the property option which represents either your app or website, add your website. Proceed to choose your industry category and time zone.

After that, click on get tracking ID. Copy and paste the global site tag code on the web pages you intend tracking. Paste it after the opening head tag <head> of the pages.

Add the UTM parameters

The next step after creating your analytics account is adding the UTM parameters to your social media posts. You can do start by creating your UTM parameters through the Google analytics campaign URL builder if you don’t want to do it manually.

To do this, go to the Google Analytics Campaign URL builder and enter your website URL alongside other information required. After filling the fields, scroll down to see your automated campaign URL. At this point, the link will be too long. If you want to cut it short, click “convert URL to short link.”

Now, you are free to copy and paste the link to your social media account.

Tracking campaigns

To track your campaigns using the UTM parameters, go back to Google Analytics and locate the “report” tab on the left side of the page.

Click on “acquisition” and then “campaigns.” There you’ll see a list of the campaigns you created a campaign URL for, alongside the amount of traffic generated and the conversation rates.

Analyzing your data

Now you’ve seen your conversion rates as well as the traffic flowing into your website, what do you do with it? If you are going to track your social media success using the UTM parameters, you need to analyze the data it provides.

To analyze the data, go to Google Analytics to download the data as an Excel, Google sheet, PDF, or .csv file. You can begin this process by clicking on “export” at the top menu of the page. After downloading, import it to your social media report and start the analysis.

Keeping track of links

Once you start using the UTM parameters, you’ll be surprised how quickly the pile of links keeps growing. Please keep track of your links to avoid duplicate links by creating a spreadsheet and organize all the links inside it.

You should include the original link (before you shortened it), the shortened link and the day you created it, and the UTM codes. You could need it for future reference, so it’s crucial you save them all in an organized place.

Core Uses of UTM tracking

Aside from measuring your social media efforts and also identifying what you can improve, you can achieve a lot in social media campaigns by using the UTM parameter for tracking results. Here are some of the things you can track:

Conduct A/B testing

Use UTM tracking to test popular theories of social media marketing to see if they are correct. For example, you might have heard videos drive more engagement than static content. You can always use UTM parameters to get custom results. How do you do this?

Post two contents on Facebook saying the same thing, but include a video in one. Add the appropriate tracking code and see which post generates more traffic to your site.  

Track influencer’s campaign

At some point, you’ll need to include influencer marketing in your social media marketing strategy. However, tracking the results would be difficult unless you make use of the UTM parameter. Track your influencer campaign by using a specific UTM code for each influencer you contact to help with brand awareness. From the code, you can track how much traffic each of them was able to drive to your website.

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