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What are some Best Practices when using UTM Parameters?

UTM parameters were introduced by Google a handful of years ago and have quickly become the industry standard for tracking online advertising.

Technically there are no “rules” when using UTM parameters, but one thing is certain – if you don’t use an efficient and standardized approach with UTMs, things can get messy really quickly.

If you really want to dive deep and learn all the ins-and-outs of UTMs—which isn’t actually necessary to use ClickMagick Campaigns—a quick Google search will turn up tons of great articles and blog posts.

With that being said, here are some “best practices” for using UTMs with ClickMagick Campaigns …

If you follow these rules you’ll be set up for success and we’ll be able to easily help you when you need it.

If you don’t follow these rules, you’re likely to run into tracking, organizational, or reporting issues down the line and it’ll be harder for us to help you when that time comes …

Rule #1 – Use a consistent naming convention for your UTM values

Consistency is key. If there are multiple people on your team who will be creating UTM-powered links, make sure you’re all on the same page in terms of the naming convention you’ll be using.

Rule #2 – Use only lower-case letters and hyphens in your UTM values

Some systems treat optin and Optin as separate values, which will mess up all your stats. And other systems may restrict the acceptable characters you can use in UTM values.

So to keep things simple, and to ensure consistency across all of the different platforms you use, just commit right now to using only lowercase letters and hyphens e.g. opt-in in your UTM values and thank us later.
Note: UTM values in ClickMagick can only contain letters, numbers, hyphens ‘-’, underscores ‘_’, periods ‘.’ and the plus symbol ‘+’.

There shouldn’t be a need to use any other characters, but if you have a unique situation than please let us know and we’ll see what we can do for you.


Rule #3 – Use UTM values that are as short as possible

You’ll often be working with up to five different UTM values at a time, and you’ll probably want to be able to see them all on the same screen at the same time for reporting purposes.

There’s only so much that we and other apps can do from a user interface standpoint, so keeping your UTMs as short as possible will go a long way towards making things easier and more efficient for you. There’s really no reason to use values much longer than 20 characters or so.

For example, rather than a long UTM value like monday-webinar-registration use something shorter like mon-web-reg.

Rule #4 – Always use utm_source=internal for any internal links

This is absolutely crucial, and if you mess this up your stats will essentially become worthless.

Other people will tell you to never use UTM-powered links for tracking internal promotions or links, but there’s no need to be that restrictive and it’s perfectly doable if you follow this simple rule:

For all of your internal promos and links just be sure to use utm_source=internal and you’ll be just fine.

Rule #5 – Never mix different types of values in a single UTM parameter

Each UTM parameter should only be used with one “type” of value. This is also super important, and if you break this rule your stats will be difficult if not impossible to interpret.

For example, if you wanted to store the values for Google’s {keyword} token as well as the {network} token, you might be tempted to set utm_term={keyword}-{network} or something similar.

But doing this would be a mistake and it would mess up your stats.

Instead what you might to do is set utm_term={keyword} and then set utm_content={network}

Rule #6 – Don’t use unique values, like “Click IDs”, in UTMs

The values for a particular UTM parameter should not be unique – UTM values should identify a group of something.

For example, if you’re using utm_content to track your individual ads, you might use values like red-ad, blue-ad, and green-ad. In each case, the ad name e.g. red-ad will be associated with all of the people who saw that particular ad.

But you should never use UTM parameters to store any type of unique values, like Click IDs, because if all the values for a particular UTM parameter are unique they are completely useless from a stats standpoint.

And in the case of something like a Click ID, you will quickly end up with 1,000s of unique UTM values which will make your account difficult if not impossible to use.

What are the 5 UTM Parameters and what are they for?

Now that you know the rules of the game, here’s an overview of the five UTM parameters and how to use them.

Please note that when using ClickMagick Campaigns the utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign are required parameters when tracking clicks, and the other two are optional …

utm_source   This is the source of your traffic e.g. facebook, google, bing, nytimes, solo-ads, or internal
utm_medium   This is the marketing medium or how the traffic was generated e.g. cpc, social, email or video (for tracking your YouTube videos for example)
utm_campaign   The name of your ad campaign e.g. free-trial-us-desktop or free-trial-us-mobile. This should be identical to the campaign name in your ad platform.
utm_term   This is used to track keywords for Google and Bing via the {keyword} token. Otherwise you can use this to identify the audience or ad set.
utm_content   The name of the specific ad e.g. ad2blue-image, free-trial-offer, etc.

What else do I need to know about ClickMagick Campaigns?

That’s really all you need to know to get started. If you’ll be using Campaigns to track paid ads or other paid traffic and you want to learn about the two different ways to track your Ad Spend you can read the article below, but you can actually start running your ads now and set up your Ad Spend later if you want …
How do I track my Ad Spend when using Campaigns?

Article 446 Last updated: 05/18/2021 4:14:11 PM