What Is a UTM Parameter, and Why Does It Matter for Jewelry Ecommerce?
By Laryssa Wirstiuk, Joy Joya
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Do your eyes glaze over when you see the acronym “UTM”? Don’t worry: we promise you that taking the time to understand how UTM can work for your e-commerce jewelry website can help you better monitor your digital marketing efforts and optimize your most popular landing pages.
Even if you’ve never heard the term “UTM”, you’ve likely interacted with it before. Have you ever seen an unusually long URL (website address) at the top of your browser? If it contained a question mark at the end with the letters “utm” after it, then you clicked a link that was being tracked by the website owner.
Found on @TiffanyAndCo’s Twitter feed, here’s an example of a URL with a UTM:
This UTM is tracking how many users are clicking the link associated with a tweet promoting the brand’s Tiffany Paper Flowers, Tiffany T, and Tiffany HardWear designs. Upon first glance, the URL probably looks like gibberish, but you’ll notice a few key words and phrases if you look closely: like “social media”, “tw-owned”, and “tiffany pets”.
- “Social media” refers to the medium, which monitors how the traffic is getting to the page
- “tw-owned” is short for Twitter owned (Twitter is a type of owned media) and refers to the specific source of traffic
- “tiffany pets” is what they’ve named this specific campaign, so Tiffany’s marketing team can know that their sweet birds have inspired a customer to click
Now that you’ve seen an example, let’s get a little more technical. A UTM parameter is a designated string of text that’s added to the end of a URL. It tracks how people are getting to that URL when it’s being used in marketing campaigns, like in social media, email, digital advertisements, or any other place you’d put a link.
As you saw above, each UTM has a few specific elements: utm_source=, utm_medium=, utm_campaign=, utm_content=, and utm_term=. The marketing team creating the UTM has the freedom to name these elements based on where the link will be used, and the names only need to make sense internally. Furthermore, the marketing team can create multiple UTMs if the same link will be used in more than one campaign.
utm_source=: The specific source of the traffic, like Twitter or Facebook.
utm_medium=: A little more general than source, this could be social media or email.
utm_campaign=: A name for the marketing campaign.
utm_content=: The name of the specific ad or link location, which can be used to test different versions of the same ad.
utm_term=: Mainly used for paid keyword campaigns, this tracks the ROI of your keywords.
You don’t need to be a tech wizard to create a UTM. In fact, Google has made it easy by offering a Campaign URL Builder. https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/ With this builder, you can simply plug in all the elements (Source is the only required element), and Google will generate a URL with a UTM. You can then use that URL with a UTM wherever you need it.
When it comes time to track the performance of your UTM, you’ll log into your Google Analytics dashboard and check a few different places. First, to see the traffic from a specific Source or Medium, you can visit Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium. Google already tracks Sources and Mediums on its own, but using UTMs allows you to get even more specific. You should see the names you used in your lists of Sources and Mediums.
Second, to see the traffic from a specific Campaign, visit Acquisition > Campaign > All Campaigns. There, you should see the Campaign name you included in your UTM.
In my opinion, UTMs are especially helpful for any paid digital advertising campaigns, like Facebook and Instagram campaigns, since you can compare the data you get from those platforms with the data you get from your UTM. You can see how many people are clicking through to your site and which ads are attracting the most attention. Finally, the data you collect in Google Analytics lives eternally with all your other website data, so you can use this data cumulatively to make smarter marketing decisions in the future.