UTM Parameters

UTM parameters are short text codes that you add to URLs to help track the performance of a webpage or marketing campaign. All good marketing software uses and analyzes UTM parameters.

Last updated in October 2020


What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters, also called UTM tags or codes, are customizable pieces of text that allow analytics software (like Parse.ly) to track campaign traffic. Attaching them to the end of a URL can help you figure out answers to questions as broad as “Which email campaign brought in the most web traffic?” to ones as specific as “Which call-to-action on my web page generated more revenue?”


What are the five UTM parameters (with examples)?

There are five UTM parameters, utm_source,utm_medium,utm_campaign,utm_term,utm_content. On a URL or link, they would follow the ? at the end of a link. Here's an example:

https://www.parse.ly/glossary/?utm_source=example-source&utm_medium=example-medium&utm_campaign=example-campaign&utm_term=example-term&utm_content=example-content

Here's how the UTM parameters are used:

  • Source: Used to show which site the visitors are coming from. Example values: facebook, twitter, blog, newsletter, etc.
  • Medium: Used to show which marketing channels are bringing the visitor to your site. Example values: cpc, organic_social
  • Campaign: Used to identify which campaign the promotion is associated with. Example values: summer_sale, free_trial
  • Term (optional): Used to manually identify paid keywords you're targeting with your campaign. Example values: social_media, newyork_cupcakes
  • Content (optional): Used to identify the exact element on your ad or promotion that was clicked. This is often used for optimization purposes. Example values: video_ad, text_ad, blue_banner, green_banner

Why are UTM parameters important?

When all UTM’ed up, a link should be able to help you answer some basic questions about your web traffic:

  • Where is the traffic coming from?
  • How is it getting to me?
  • Why is it coming to me?

Without UTM codes, Parse.ly or Google Analytics might register that the link a user clicked was from an email blast, but it certainly will not be able to tell you which campaign a user came from. It is important to note this does not just apply to email marketing. This applies to any link you create that is sending users back to your website including; a Facebook post, Facebook Ad, LinkedIn post, LinkedIn Ad, a tweet, YouTube video descriptions, PDF documents and so much more.


UTM parameters and Parse.ly

Parse.ly tracks all five UTM parameters under the "Campaigns" tab in the dashboard. Parse.ly supports using UTM parameters for external traffic and ITM parameters for internal traffic. The five types of UTM and ITM parameters directly map to the five parameter categories in Parse.ly’s dashboard (campaign, medium, source, term, content).

Adding UTM or ITM parameters to a URL manually can get tedious. We’ve created a URL builder in Google Sheets to automate some of the process. This spreadsheet is also handy for keeping track of all the URLs you’ve tagged.

If you make a mistake, fix it with a campaign group

You can create a group of multiple campaign values. This allows you to attribute traffic properly by putting any misspelled or mislabeled values under one umbrella.


Learn More

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Parse.ly’s Guide to Campaign Tracking


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