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Are You Making These Common UTM Parameter Mistakes?

A woman sitting at her office desk working out UTM Parameters for her marketing campaigns

UTM Parameters are super helpful when applied to your marketing strategies. But, when applied wrongly, can do the exact opposite.

You use UTM codes to help you build data on what’s working and what isn’t. And if you don’t know how to properly implement these codes, they might end up sending you in circles, giving you misleading data that could mess up your whole strategy.

That’s the whole point of this article today. I’ve seen way too many people making the mistakes I’m about to mention in this article. So, if you find yourself making any of these mistakes, it's time to rectify it!

When You Should Avoid Using UTM Tracking 

Using UTM tracking codes is like putting labels on your website links so Google Analytics can better understand where your visitors are coming from. It's helpful when Google Analytics can't figure out the source of your traffic on its own. But, there's a big no-no: don't slap UTM codes on links within your own website.

Why? Well, first off, Google Analytics already does a pretty good job of keeping tabs on what visitors do as they click around your site. Secondly, if you add UTM codes to links within your site, you're basically erasing the original info about where the visitor came from.

Imagine someone finds your blog through a link you shared on Facebook. They're reading away and then click on a link to one of your product pages. If that product page link has UTM codes, you lose track of the fact that they originally came from Facebook.

The smart move is to use UTM codes when you're sharing links outside your website, like in emails, documents, mobile apps, or social media. That way, you get extra info that Google Analytics wouldn't catch otherwise. But seriously, don't bother with UTM codes on links within your own site!

Forgetting To Make Long URLs Short and Neat

A woman looking for mistakes in her UTM Parameters

Imagine you've got a really long and messy URL, packed with all sorts of tracking codes like utm_source, utm_campaign, and so on. It might look something like this:

Not exactly easy on the eyes, right?

While we're not denying that having all those parameters is important for getting a good picture of your visitor data. But cramming them into one super-long URL causes a couple of issues:

First off, it's just not pretty. Long, messy URLs aren't as appealing as short, clean ones.

Plus, think about how a visitor might react when they see a link that's a mile long, filled with strange characters. It could set off alarm bells in their head - is this legit or some kind of scam?

Instead, try using something like this:

Doesn't it look much better?

If you're having trouble shortening your links, use a link shortener! Tools like Bitly or Terminus' link shortener can tidy up those URLs. Short, neat links are more inviting to click on. And with Terminus, you can even create branded short URLs, so people know it's a legit link from you.

Not Making The Most of the Campaign Parameter

When you're tracking your marketing efforts, the campaign parameter is your best shot. It helps you understand which of your efforts are paying off and which ones are falling flat.

But here's the thing: a lot of marketers aren't using it as effectively as they could. They're sticking with generic labels that don't really tell them much. And that's a big problem because it makes it hard to remember which campaign was which when you're looking at the data later on. Plus, it makes it tough to compare different campaigns and see which strategies are working best.

For example, let's say you use "utm_campaign=email_21" for a link. It might make sense at the time, but months or years later, you'll probably have no clue what that was all about. And something like "utm_campaign=email" is just way too vague to be helpful.

Instead, take a moment to think about what you're trying to achieve with each link. Are you trying to clear your summer stocks? Then name your campaign something like "utm_campaign=summer_clearance_sale." 

Launching a new product? Try "utm_campaign=fall_product_launch_2024" so it's easy to keep track of.

Being Inconsistent with Spelling, Capitalization and Naming

A man teaching his collegue to be extra careful when writing his UTM parameters

UTM tracking codes are really useful, but they can be quite strict about details. Even small things like spelling or capitalization can mess up your data big time.

For example, if you use "facebook" in one place and "Facebook" in another, Google Analytics treats them as separate things. So instead of getting one clear picture of your data, you end up with a bunch of scattered bits that don't quite fit together.

It's like trying to count your money when it's scattered all over the house instead of neatly stacked in one place.

And if you're working with a team, things can get even messier. Everyone might have their own way of doing things, leading to even more confusion.

So, how do you fix this? The key is to keep things consistent. Set some ground rules for how you name things, and make sure everyone's on the same page. 

Final Words

In conclusion, making the most out of UTM parameters can really help you understand where your website traffic is coming from and how your marketing efforts are paying off. But make sure the avoid the mistakes mentioned in this article!

If you follow these tips, you can make sure your UTM tracking is working for you, not against you.


Well, aren’t we glad you asked! We at DigiCom are obsessive data-driven marketers pulling from multi-disciplinary strategies to unlock scale. We buy media across all platforms and placements and provide creative solutions alongside content creation, and conversion rate optimizations. We pride ourselves on your successes and will stop at nothing to help you grow.


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