Why Event Organizers Need to Use Google’s UTM Parameters to Track Campaigns

  • By Ashley Ranich | Tuesday, September 11th, 2018
Why Event Organizers Need to Use Google's UTM Parameters to Track Campaigns

Attribution is important to every event marketer, but what’s the best way to go about quantifying the value of your online marketing efforts? Our marketing experts highly suggest using Google Analytics’ robust UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters for all your online marketing campaigns! They’re simple yet highly effective, and it’s free to append the tracking parameters to any URL you share via your email blasts, Facebook Ads, Twitter posts, and more. Read on to learn how and why UTM parameters are a pertinent part of any modern event marketing strategy.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters are tags added to a specific URL, such as a link to your event listing. When a user clicks a link that includes these parameters, the tags are sent to your Google Analytics account to further empower tracking efforts and give you more insight on where your traffic is coming from.

How are UTM parameters used?

Once you have a Google Analytics account and have implemented pixel tracking on your website and event listings, you can create these URLs quickly and easily! The use of UTM parameters allows you to accurately track the traffic from each unique source to where you used the URL. For example, you might be interested in seeing the comparative success of the various places you distribute a link to sell tickets. In this case, you could use UTM parameters to create unique URLs to distribute to influencers for sharing with their personal networks. You could also use them for paid social media advertisements to separate ads and their respective success and in organic content such as email marketing.

What do active UTM parameters look like?

Let’s say you want to track the traffic that comes from the event listing URL you’re using in a Facebook Ad campaign. Your UTM parameters might look something like this:

Original URL: www.showclix.com/event/super-fun-party

URL with UTM parameters: www.showclix.com/event/super-fun-party/?utm_source=facebook_ads&utm_medium=conversions-remarketing&utm_campaign=holiday-2018-sale

The added tracking elements tell us the following:

  • utm_source: The “source” identifies the platform that the campaign is using. This could be Facebook (as in the example), a sponsor’s website, an email campaign, etc.
  • utm_medium: This identifies the type of campaign, which can vary based on your objectives and campaign. In the example, “conversions-remarketing” denotes the campaign objective and targeting type.
  • utm_campaign: The “campaign” indicates the promotion or marketing push you’re running. The example above is for campaign around a holiday sale.
  • utm_term: The “term” field is used primarily in your Google Ads search campaigns to track the keywords used.
  • utm_content: This is used to differentiate specific aspects of your ad or promotion. For example, is it a video ad or a specific image? This parameter is especially useful for A/B testing in your campaigns.

What are the best practices for UTM parameters?

Once you get into the habit of using UTM parameters, be sure to follow a few simple best practices. First, create a systematic way to tag your URLs. For example, use lowercase universally, separate words with dashes, etc. You can create your own system, just be sure to stay consistent to ensure easy and accurate campaign analysis. Next, consider using a URL shortener, like bit.ly, for distribution of the tagged links to avoid overbearing length and potentially spammy appearance. Lastly, use your tagged links across your marketing strategy; in order to have a full understanding of what sources or posts are driving the most traffic or conversions, you need to track, track, track!