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UTM Tags and Your Facebook Campaigns

Do you know what ad set and/or ad creative is driving the most traffic and business to your website? It would be helpful to use an advanced tracking option that keeps you on top of your marketing campaign that drives maximum traffic to your website.

7 min read

UTM Tags and your Facebook Campaigns

Do you know what ad set and/or ad creative is driving the most traffic and business to your website? It would be helpful to use an advanced tracking option that keeps you on top of your marketing campaign that drives maximum traffic to your website. That’s why UTM tags will become your best friends. How do you use UTM tags in combination with your Facebook campaigns?

What are UTM tags?

UTM tags are simply an addition to the destination URL of your ads, which allow you to track traffic from your Facebook and/or Instagram campaigns and send it to Google Analytics for campaign performance tracking.

Why do I need URL parameters?

URL parameters on your advertising campaigns are vital for two reasons: first, they help you identify where your advertising traffic is coming from. Second, insights from URL parameters can show which link people clicked to get to your advertising campaign’s target destination (e.g. Facebook Page or website). So, in other words, you need to tag your Facebook campaigns to track what specific campaign element triggered most of your traffic. Campaign tagging means adding parameters to the end of your landing page URL to identify the source. Here is what it looks like:

This is the original link:
https://www.thenextad.com/thenextad-news/utm-tags-and-your-facebook-campaigns
This is the link with UTM tags:
https://www.thenextad.com/thenextad-news/utm-tags-and-your-facebook-campaigns?utm_source=social&utm_medium=organic_linkedin&utm_campaign=03302017&utm_content=UTM-tags

How do I add URL parameters to my advertisements?

  • Create a new advertising campaign in your advertising management platform (in for example The Next Ad), or continue working on one saved as a draft.
  • After entering your information at the Campaign level, navigate to the Ad set level to set URL parameters that will track the audience source of your traffic.
  • Continue to Ad creative level to set your URL Parameters to track the performance (traffic) of your ad creatives in Google Analytics.
  • In URL Parameters, enter the descriptive parameters you want to use to identify that campaign. The parameters will contain campaign identifying information and the values you’ve defined for them. Don’t enter the destination URL here.
    • For example, if you’re testing an ad with a blue background and want to see how many people clicked that ad to get to your website, you can try setting the URL parameter to “background=blue”. Here, the campaign identifying information is “background” and the value is “blue.” This tag would create a unique URL for your ad with the blue background, which would now be “www.example.com/?background=blue”.
    • If you’re creating an ad with two different value tests, you could use the URL parameters “key1=value1” and “key2=value2”. You would enter these parameters into the URL Parameters field as “key1=value1&key2=value2”. This would update the URL to “www.example.com?key1=value1&key2=value2”.

Note: Although you can add URL parameters to your advertisements on Facebook, you’ll need to use a third-party analytics tool to track the results like Google Analytics.

5 form fields, the keys we just talked about,  you need to know about in Google Analytics:

  1. Campaign Source – The platform where the traffic originates, like Facebook, LinkedIn etc.
  2. Campaign Medium – Identify the medium like Cost Per Click (CPC).
  3. Campaign Term – You will use this mainly for tracking your keywords during a paid AdWords campaign. You can also use it in your display ad campaigns to identify aspects of your audience or a specific product.
  4. Campaign Content – If you’re A/B testing ads, then this is a useful metric that passes details about your ad. You can also use it to differentiate links that point to the same URL.
  5. Campaign Name – This helps you to identify your campaign, like your website or a specific product promotion.

DO’s | THE 4 BEST WORKING PRACTICES TO OPTIMISE YOUR UTM TAGS

1 Stay consistent

If you stay consistent when creating names for your UTMs, you can avoid a lot of confusion and ensure that your UTMs are reportable. Stay consistent with lowercase throughout all of your campaigns. Changing to uppercase gives you an additional chore of having to remember this convention. So, it’s better to stay consistent and use lower case and not let human error creep in.

2 Keep it clean

Keep your URLs clean, descriptive, non-redundant and easy to read. For example, you might be putting the same values inside source and medium parameters. Or, you can put the specific originating aspect under medium but still manage to confuse yourself with the double use of ‘facebook’. Also, the UTM parameters are visible to your users in their address bars. So, be transparent and don’t use values that you don’t want them to see.

3 Establish a UTM system

Connect your tracking data with your CRM. It shows you a clear picture of how various online marketing channels are affecting your bottom line. This will help you to get an idea of your actual revenue.

4 Track your UTM links inside a spreadsheet

Keep a record of the tagged links to ensure that your marketing team stays on the same page. Create a naming convention guide document that lays out clear instructions for tagging links.

DON’TS | The 7 MOST COMMON MISTAKES WITH UTM TAGGING

1 Not tagging at all 

This happens way too much, even with larger advertisers.

2 Not being consistent in the tagging

Let’s say the medium for paid traffic is sometimes tagged as ‘paid’ or ‘cpc’ or ‘cpm’ or ‘ad’ or not at all for the same ad channel, then it is really difficult to see the impact of your advertising campaign as the data is not aggregated correctly.

3 Using different cases for the same tag

Be aware that URL tags are case sensitive, so ‘cpc’ and ‘CPC’ are treated differently. Make sure you have a convention for how to use cases.

4 Using UTM parameters for things they aren’t meant to be used for

For example, to distinguish between different types for Facebook traffic you could set the source to ‘facebook-post’ for page posts you create, ‘facebook-ads’ for Facebook ads. But that is not how they are meant to be used and thus you will not see information in the right way in Google Analytics. The source should simply be facebook (or facebook.com if you want to use that as your convention) and the post and paid identifier should be put in the medium tag where it belongs. This way you can see information correctly in Google Analytics.

5 Using campaign names that are too long and don’t follow a convention

Google Analytics struggles with identifying your actual campaign if you use long campaign names, campaigns that start with the same phrase, and campaigns that don’t follow a naming convention.

6 Tagging internal links

Don’t put UTM tags on links from your own website that lead to other pages on your website. Google Analytics can in fact track traffic within your site without any URL tagging. More crucially, if you add UTM tracking parameters on internal links you’ll lose information on where the traffic originally came from.

7 Not accounting for sub-domains

It is quite common for websites to have sub-domains such as blog.website.com or app.website.com. If you don’t explicitly tell Google Analytics they are all the same website it will interpret them as separate properties. This means you will see traffic from your own domains in your Google Analytics account. A typical example is when visitors click a link on Facebook to your blog and after reading the blog post click on to your main site. Without the proper setup Google Analytics will interpret the source of the traffic as blog.website.com when it in fact was Facebook.

Conclusion

By now, you’ll be convinced that UTM parameters give you extremely valuable insights about your traffic – if keeping the do’s and don’ts in mind. With these insights of your audience’s behaviour, you can boost your sales and refine your overall marketing effort.

Questions about your Facebook and/or Google Analytics data?

If you have any questions about your Facebook or Google analytics data, please feel free to drop us a chat in the app or by sending an email to success@thenextad.com. We will be happy to discuss the best way of analysing your campaigns.

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Sanne Kruis

The Marketing Manager of The Next Ad. Passionate about Social (Advertising), volleyball player and loves to socialise. Nice to meet you!