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Attribution Tracking 101: UTM Parameters Guide

attribution tracking

Welcome to the world of attribution tracking, where every click, conversion, and engagement counts towards the success of your marketing campaign.

At its core, attribution tracking is the detective work that helps you understand which marketing efforts are driving the most significant impact on your business.

By tracking and analysing customer interactions with your brand, you can identify the best-performing marketing channels and optimise your marketing strategies for maximum impact.

What Is Attribution Tracking?

Attribution tracking is the key to unlocking the full potential of your marketing campaigns.

 In simple terms, it’s a way of tracking and analysing customer interactions with your brand across multiple channels and touchpoints. 

From social media ads to email campaigns, attribution tracking allows you to see:

  • Which marketing efforts are driving the most traffic to your site
  • Which ones are generating the most leads
  • Which ones are converting the most customers. 

It’s like having a crystal ball that helps you understand what’s working and what’s not, so you can make informed decisions and optimise your marketing strategies for maximum ROI.

Why Attribution Tracking Is So Important!

Attribution tracking is not just another buzzword in the world of digital marketing; it’s a crucial component of any successful marketing strategy. 

Think of it like this, without attribution tracking, you’re shooting in the dark, guessing which marketing campaigns are driving the most traffic and conversions. 

However, with attribution tracking, you have the data and insights you need to make informed decisions and optimise your marketing efforts.

It helps you identify the best-performing marketing channels, measure the impact of your campaigns, and allocate your marketing budget more effectively. 

Ultimately, attribution tracking is the key to unlocking the full potential of your marketing campaigns and achieving your business goals.

Understanding UTM Parameters

UTM parameters, also known as Urchin Tracking Module parameters, are tags that you can add to the end of your website URL to help you identify where your traffic is coming from. By adding these tags, you can track the source, medium, and campaign of your traffic.

They consist of five parameters:

  1. utm_source
  2. utm_medium
  3. utm_campaign
  4. utm_term
  5. utm_content

These parameters are automatically recognised by Google Analytics, allowing you to see the traffic and conversion data associated with each tag.

How to Use UTM Parameters

At SDM we use Google’s URL builder to track all our campaigns.

Check out the screenshot below for a preview of what you need to input

Just like we mentioned before, there are 5 parameters which means five fields that you need to fill in:

  • Campaign Source: The platform where the traffic originates, like Facebook or your email newsletter.
  • Campaign Medium: Identify the medium like Cost Per Click (CPC), social media or affiliate.
  • Campaign Term:  This is mainly for tracking your keywords during a paid AdWords campaign. 
  • Campaign Content: If you’re A/B testing ads, then this is a useful metric to differentiate between your ads. 
  • Campaign Name: This is just to identify your campaign. Like your website or specific product promotion. 

Let’s say you’re running a Facebook ad campaign and an email marketing campaign to promote your new product.

To track the performance of each campaign, you can use UTM parameters to differentiate between the traffic coming from each source.

Let’s break it down:

You can add “utm_source=facebook” and “utm_medium=cpc” to the URL of your Facebook ad campaign

AND

utm_source=email” and “utm_medium=email” to the URL of your email marketing campaign.

Now, when someone clicks on the Facebook ad and visits your website, Google Analytics will recognise the UTM parameters.

This means it will record the source and medium as “facebook” and “cpc,” respectively.

When someone clicks on the email and visits your website, Google Analytics will recognise the UTM parameters and record the source and medium as “email” and “email,” respectively.

UTM Parameters Best Practices

  • Create standard naming convention for UTM parameters

Make sure there is consistency amongst your team.

You don’t want to find out you’ve all been using different terms to track the same campaign,  for example. 

Remember, attribution is the key to ensuring your efforts are on the right track!

  • Stick to just lowercase

UTM parameters are case sensitive

utm_source=LinkedIn is different from utm_source=linkedin

This means any capitalisation used can derail your attribution efforts if you don’t stick to it – we recommend sticking to lowercase to keep it nice and simple.

  • Shorten your URLs

So, you’ve added in all the necessary tags to receive all the data you need – great! But now your URL is looking a bit too long and clunky. 

The average Joe doesn’t understand what all these bits at the end of the link he is about to click on means. We don’t want to come across as spammy and scare anyone off.

That’s why we recommend using bit.ly or a similar tool to keep your URLs looking short, simple and clean.  

The Importance of Data In Marketing

In today’s data-driven world, data is king!

It’s the key to unlocking success in marketing, and without it, you’re just shooting in the dark.

If you’re not tracking your marketing efforts, how will you know what’s working and what’s not?

How will you know where to invest your budget and resources?

If you want to maximise your ROI then you need to make data-informed decisions and drive results.

Without attribution tracking, you risk wasting your budget on ineffective campaigns and missing out on opportunities to optimise your marketing efforts.

Article by

Grace Pizarro

Content & Copywriting Specialist

Meet Grace, our in-house marketing and sales intern who has a love for everything communication. From blog posts and social media creation, to SEO research and competitor analysis, she enjoys leveraging AI and the latest technologies to elevate brand identity and help companies stand out from the crowd.