An Introduction to UTM parameters and Google Analytics

What are UTM Parameters?

UTM parameters are "tags" that are added to the end of a URL, which help to track the effectiveness of a campaign, or more specifically in Buffer's context, the effectiveness of an update published on your social media accounts. If you have hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website each month, it's helpful to know where that traffic is coming from.

Let's say you shared a link to your website on both Twitter and Facebook. Each time someone clicks on one of those links, the UTM parameters are sent back to Google Analytics, which allows you to track what percentage of traffic has come from Twitter and what percentage from Facebook. In turn, this allows you to decide how and where to focus your marketing efforts.

There are several UTM parameters that can form the URL, some mandatory and some optional.

Mandatory

  • Campaign Name: Why is the traffic coming to you? For social media posts, this could refer to a specific campaign you're running, such as "product-launch" or "promo".
  • Campaign Source: Where is my traffic coming from? For social media posts, this could refer to the specific social network, e.g. "twitter", "facebook", "linkedin".
  • Campaign Medium: How is my traffic coming to me? For social media posts, this could simply be "social". Other campaign mediums you might see include "email", "website", "banner".

Optional

  • Campaign Term: This parameter is used in instances where the URL is associated to a paid search and can be used to identify keywords for your ad.
  • Campaign Content: This parameter is used to track additional details for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. While the other UTM parameters can generally be shared across multiple links being published, the “Content” parameter is typically going to be unique to a particular link. This allows you to track the traffic to a specific URL as opposed to the overall campaign.

Using UTM Parameters in Buffer

Within Buffer, each connected social account will have it's own settings. These can be accessed by clicking on Settings and then Link Shortening.

On the Individual and Awesome Plans, you will have the option to enable or disable campaign tracking.

On the Business Plans, you also have the option to customize the campaign tracking settings. Buffer offers the following options for customization:

  • Name
  • Source
  • Medium

When enabled, the UTM parameters will be automatically added to the end of every link that you share in the Buffer composer.

Notes:

  • Only the account owner is able to update the UTM parameter settings. Team members (regardless of permissions), will not be able to change these settings.
  • It is currently not possible to set UTM parameters on a per-post basis. If this is a feature you'd love to have, please feel free to let us know using this form.

Google Analytics

The UTM parameters that have been set would then appear in Google Analytics as the links direct traffic to the particular website. This tracking can be found within the Acquisitions section of Google Analytics.

Under Acquisitions, you’ll see an option for Campaigns and then All Campaigns. This is where you can track the different campaigns that have been created and the traffic that has been generated. You’ll see a list of all the campaigns you’ve been tracking and you can click on each to view the full details. You can filter for different Campaigns, Sources and Mediums, which have been added to the URLs.