When you click on links from brands on social media, take a look at the URL once you go to the landing page. You may notice a lot of extra info in the URL than is needed to get you to the page.
In this example, pulled directly from my work’s Twitter account, “jumpsimulation.org” is the domain name. “/blog/standardized-participant/” is the path to the specific webpage on the domain, in this case, a blog.
Everything after that is extra stuff that doesn’t affect getting the user to the page. What it does affect is tracking the link or campaign.
URL Tracking Code Elements
The three basic elements you will see are:
What UTM stands for is not relevant, but you can see the elements. You can essentially put just about whatever you want in these elements, but it is recommended for consistency to use them based on their name.
Source is who the referral is coming from. In my above example, the referral source is jumpsimulation. If I gave this link to another account or organization to use, I would switch the source to them. This is helpful with events, when I may be giving a link to a partner or other department to hand out their employees.
Medium defines the format of the content the link is attached to. In the above example, it was posted on Twitter. I have a version of that link with Facebook and LinkedIn as well. Some other examples could be email, banner, etc.
Campaign is what you want the link to be recognized as. Typically, you want unique campaigns. For an event, I may label them along the lines of “Internal-Summit-1” for the first email going to internal audiences about the Summit event. If I sent another with a link, I would change the 1 to a 2 to signify it’s from the second campaign.
In my above example, I have “EG”, which is my shorthand for Evergreen. I use that campaign name anytime I share link to an Evergreen blog. I could even go into more detail and add the name of the blog to the campaign, “EG-SP-Blog” to differentiate it more between every other EG blog I share.
(However, I don’t do this because I can simply check the first page visited coming from that campaign in most cases.)
Examples of Analyzing Campaigns
I tend to share a blog on Twitter day of posting (First Post = FP), the next week (Last Week = LW), one month after initial posting (1M), and two months after initial posting (2M). I track and name all of the campaigns accordingly. I’ve found that very, very few people click on the LW posts.
So, I’ve discontinued posting LW posts.
Another example is determining if advertising is effective. We occasionally place a banner ad in a local email newsletter. By tracking clicks from the banner ad, we can determine if we got our money’s worth.
You can manually paste and edit the tracking code at the end of the link, or you can use Google’s URL builder to help you out.