UTM parameters are great for determining which campaigns drive traffic to your website, but did you know you can use them to track which campaigns are making your phone ring? Today I’ll show you how to setup your URLs to track phone calls with UTM parameters!
What are UTM parameters?
UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and these codes were originally created by the company Urchin Web Analytics (hence the abbreviation). In 2005, Google acquired Urchin and rebranded under the name we all know today, Google Analytics.
According to Hubspot a formal definition of UTMs is the following:
According to Google there are 5 UTM codes that you can use:
- utm_source: Used to Identify the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property
- utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, for example: cpc, banner, email newsletter.
- utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.
- utm_term (optional): Identify paid search keywords.
- utm_content (optional): Used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad.
For the purposes of this guide I will use the first three, which are most commonly used when tracking campaigns.
Here’s an example of what a link with the first three UTM parameters looks like:
Why use UTM Parameters when building your URLs?
Structuring your URLs with UTMs helps you understand which online campaigns drive traffic to your site and which of these visitors pick up the phone and call your business.
For example, you can use UTM codes within links you post on social media to track how much traffic you receive from each post you publish. If one of these visitors sees the phone number on your website and decides to place a call, the call will be attributed to the campaign that brought this visit. This will allow you to gain a detailed understanding of which campaigns work and which don’t. See 4 ways Marketers can use UTM Parameters for data and conversion accuracy.
How to structure UTMs
In order to correctly structure your URLs with UTMs, a good understanding of what each UTM represents is essential.
- Source is the search engine or platform the visit originated from (Google, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, Newsletter, etc.)
- Medium is the type of campaign that brought the visit (organic, ppc, cpc, etc.)
- Campaign is the name of your campaign.
For example, you might use the following parameter-value pairs for your Summer Sale campaign that you are running in Facebook Ads:
utm_source= Facebook to identify traffic that results from Facebook
utm_medium= cpc to identify traffic from paid campaigns vs. organic visits
utm_campaign= summer-sale to identify the specfic campaign
If you used these parameters, your custom-campaign URL would be:
How to setup UTM parameters in your URLs
Okay, so now you know why you should use UTM parameters. But how the heck do you set them up? Good news! You can use various UTM builders and also setup automatic tagging in the platforms you use to advertise
You can use any of the URL builders below to manually set the UTMs you wish to display when posting content on social media platforms, newsletter campaigns, etc.
1. Google Campaign URL Builder
Google’s builder is very simple to use. Simply input the UTM codes you wish to include
…and Google will provide you with the URL to copy and use in your post
2. Facebook URL Builder
A very good alternative is Facebook’s own URL builder which is also very easy to use.
Input your parameters, hit that “Create URL” button and you are good to go!
3. Other UTM Builders
The list doesn’t stop here. Thankfully the web has more than a handful of alternatives for you to choose. Indicatively some of my favorite builders are the following (Disclaimer – I am NOT affiliated in any way with any of the tools below):
Facebook allows you to setup dynamic parameters when tagging your URLs in Ads Manager. URL parameters can be placed on ads that link to destinations off Facebook, such as your website, or on ads that promote existing Facebook posts. For more on how to setup UTM tagging in Facebook see the guide below.
Google Ads offers auto-tagging to treat UTM variables.
This feature is selected by default in all Google Ads accounts, but you can head over to Settings > Account settings in the left hand menu to check if this is enabled
Microsoft Ads have a similar feature which you can enable by using the guide below:
How to track phone calls with UTM parameters
OK, so your URLs are all set and you are confident about your UTMs. How do you find out which of these campaigns are driving calls?
Let me show you an example.
Let’s say I am browsing Facebook and stumble upon an Ad that draws my attention. Instant click!
Notice the URL containing the UTMs? I have also configured our website to run with Dynamic Number Swapping.
Let’s assume I like what I see and decide to give a call to +1 888 385 7059. All swell! The agent was very helpful and the call went great. But wait! How do I see if the call resulted from a campaign I was running (in this example: Summer-Sale) ?
That’s where UTMs come into place. By logging in to my Nimbata account I can now see call data linked to the UTMs that drove them. Cool right?
I can also have calls sent to my Google Analytics Account and view them directly there, right next to any other goals I have setup.
It might take a bit of time to setup your URLs to run with UTM codes but the insights you get are worth the effort. If you are using a call tracking platform with Dynamic Number Swapping and are still not using UTMs, there’s no excuse now. You just learned how to track phone calls with UTM parameters!
If you have any questions or thoughts on the matter, feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. We read each and every one e-mail!