In order for you to specifically track the fruits of your social marketing labor, you must identify where your website visitors are coming from online. By using the Urchin Tracking Module, better known as UTM codes, you are able to tag links to your promotional content and to track your performance at every point of sale. For the sake of example, let’s say that you sell greeting cards online, and you are running a promotion, which is advertised on your blog, for Father’s Day. Now, let’s take this blog URL and transform it into a tiny, sharp needle that can run directly back into your Google Analytics conversion view.
Step 1 – Identify Your Parameters:
There are a few components that you will need to create a tracking code for your desired URL. The base elements you will need:
The question mark: The “?” will go after the link and before the tracking code begins.
The ampersand: The “&” will separate each UTM parameter.
Medium UTM tag: The marketing channel used to promote the link. An example of a medium that we’ll use is Twitter.
Source UTM tag: Provides more information about the actual content being promoted through the medium. In this case, the promotion is housed on the blog, so “blog” may be a good source tag.
Campaign Name UTM tag: Identifies the name of the promotion. The tag name can be general (like “social”) or more specific (like “summerpromo”). For this particular example, we will use “fathersday.”
Additional Parameters You May Add
Term UTM tag: This tag monitors paid keywords associated with the ad you are tracking in paid search. Some examples that may be used for this promotion could be “fathersdaygifts” or “fathersdaycards.”
Content UTM tag: This parameter is useful if you are performing A/B testing on how well a certain ad or version of a call-to-action on a landing page is doing for your campaign. For example if you had two different types of ads in two different colors you could tag one “green” and one “blue.”
Step 2 – Generate The Code
Once you have identified the parameters of your tracking code, you can build the code on your own, or with help from Google’s nifty UTM generation tool.
An example of a completed code:
It is a good idea to shorten the finalized, tagged link before inserting it into any marketing copy. I really like to use Bit.ly but there are a ton of link shorteners to choose from online. Use your tag-optimized shortened links anywhere, from call-to-action buttons in emailed newsletters a to Facebook status updates and tweets.
An important note: There must be consistency for the code that you use. If you are tracking referrals from Twitter, you cannot name the medium tag “Twitter” and then use “Twitter.com” another time for the same promotion. You will create two different strings of code for the campaign you are trying to track (AKA stress city!).
A helpful tip: In order to streamline my UTM tagging efforts, I have devised a way to save time and minimize the error of creating more than one tag for a specific campaign. A handy tool, mentioned in Life Saving Browser Extensions for the Time-Strapped Social Media Manager, is a Google Chrome extension called Q Pad (QuickNote for Firefox browsers). This extension creates a notepad right into your browser where you can easily have your set codes on hand and ready to copy/paste anytime.
Step 3 – Track and Analyze
You have arrived at the final step! When you log into your Google Analytics account, you will find your tagged efforts by viewing:
Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns
So, let’s say you send this tweet with a tagged link:
You’ve got the golf pants & the grill tongs, but what about the card? #FathersDay cards for every dad are on the Card Blog: [shortened UTM tagged link]
Now, you are able to track the performance of the marketing message and pinpoint each card sale as a result of the tweet directly in Google Analytics.
Got UTM tagging down? A good next step in your social marketing metrics journey would be to familiarize yourself with the Marketing Attribution Insights in Google Analytics.