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How to Leverage UTM Tracking Links on Social Media

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How much do you really know about your social media traffic? Where is it coming from, exactly?

And most importantly… what works and what doesn’t? Your web and social media analytics can only tell you so much about your traffic and audience; but with UTM tracking links, you can take things one step further to help you gain an advantage on the competition.

In this blog, I’m going to show you how to leverage UTM tracking links on social media.

But first, what are UTM tracking links?

UTM tracking links are URLs that look something like this:

https://yourURL.com?utm_source=social&utm_medium=facebook sharing group&utm_campaign=blog promotion

As you can see, it starts with the URL you want to track and following that, there are several (3, in this case) UTM codes: source, medium and campaign.

These UTM parameters are short pieces of code that are added to a link to help you track them in more detail:

  • Source: where your traffic is coming from, like a specific Twitter profile or Facebook group
  • Medium: the type of traffic you’re getting, in this case “social”
  • Campaign: the campaign it’s part of (ad campaign, promotional campaign, etc.) – in the UTM link example from earlier, it’s part of a blog promotion campaign

Why should you use UTM tracking links and how do they work?

Your web analytics tell you where your traffic is coming from; however, they only tell you which networks are driving you traffic – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so on.

What UTM tracking links do, on the other hand, is that they allow you to track your links in even more detail: which specific profile, which group, which update drove you traffic.

The reason why this information helps you is that it allows you to focus on what works best; for example, if you’re promoting a blog post in several Facebook groups and it’s taking up your time, you could use UTM links to test which groups actually drive traffic and which don’t.

After some testing, you can remove the groups that don’t work and focus more on those that do, thus saving you time and helping you improve your traffic.

In other words, UTM tracking links are great for testing out theories and tactics. Another way to use them though, is for measuring your campaigns’ results/ROI.

Because they allow you to track down to which post or campaign drove you traffic, that means you can accurately determine how your campaigns performed.

So, one of the big reasons why you should use UTM tracking links on social media, is the they help you understand what works and what doesn’t, they allow you to set up A/B tests to further test your results, and they’re great for helping you track your social media ROI for a specific campaign.

Here are some of the ways that you can use UTM tracking links:

  • To measure your ROI: for any campaign you’re holding on social media, use specific UTM links to help you track the results of your campaigns

  • To measure your social media traffic and conversions: see exactly what is driving traffic to your website, as well as what is driving conversions; however, first create goals in Google Analytics to be able to track them

  • To A/B test your social media: for example, you can use UTM tracking links to:

  • See what types of updates usually generate more clicks and conversions (text-only, videos, images, etc.)

  • Find out where you should post your updates for maximum traffic/conversions: which profiles, groups, Pages, etc. generate the most traffic, consistently

How do you create and use UTM tracking links?

It’s quite easy – all you need is a tool to help you build your URL and your web analytics platform (like Google Analytics) to help you track them.

Below are some useful tools to help you create UTM tracking links:

The Google Campaign URL Builder

UTM links are widely used to help track ad campaign results, so it makes perfect sense that Google would have their own builder: the Campaign URL Builder:

As you can see above, it’s all very straightforward; simply enter the website URL you want to track, the campaign source, and if you want to track your links in even more detail, add the campaign medium and name as well.

Then, all you need to do is scroll down and copy the automatically generated campaign URL.

Agorapulse

Another option is Agorapulse, which is specifically for social media links (as it is a social media management tool). When you add a link to an update you want to publish or schedule, you get this option:

The 3 main parameters automatically appear when turned on, but you can also add more custom UTM parameters if needed.

One very useful feature here is that if you want to track a link across a number of social media profiles or social networks, you can schedule the update on all profiles at the same time, as well as select “dynamic” UTM parameters; this means that Agorapulse will update the UTM tracking link for you when shared on different networks/profiles.

This means you can track your links on multiple sources, but you don’t have to enter the values each time you post those links.

SEMRush Social Media Poster

Another good option for those who want to save time posting on social media is SEMRush’s Social Media Poster. You can use it to schedule your content, as well as to set up UTM tracking for any link your share, as below:

As you can see in the above screenshot, it’s all very quick: just give your campaign a name, choose the medium if you want, and either let the tool automatically enter the campaign source, or add it yourself.

And that’s pretty much it – it’s very easy and quick, but on the other hand, there aren’t many options.

How do you track all of these UTM links?

Once you’ve create a UTM tracking link, it’s easy to track by using a tool like Google Analytics. Head over to Reports -> Acquisition -> Campaigns to see how your links are performing:

You not only get volume, but you can also track the quality of your traffic (how long they spent on your website, how many pages/session, etc.), as well as the conversions (but you need to create conversion goals first).

Conclusion

UTM links can be so incredibly useful to your social media marketing strategy – and pretty much any digital marketing strategy.

In fact, use them to not only measure the results of your social media, but also to find new ways to improve your strategy, based on actual results and knowledge about your audience.

About the Author – Highly regarded on the world speaker circuit, Lilach has graced Forbes and Number 10 Downing Street. She’s a hugely connected and highly influential entrepreneur. She is listed in Forbes as one of the top 20 women social media power influencers, named one of 10 top digital marketers by Brand24 and was crowned the Social Influencer of Europe by Oracle. She is listed as the number one Influencer in the UK by Career Experts and is a recipient for a Global Women Champions Award for her outstanding contribution and leadership in business.

Contact info: www.lilachbullock.com

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