UTM link best practices
Several ways to create and use UTM links exist. However, some utilization methods work better in certain environments than others do.
Consider that an email marketing campaign does not work in the same way as a social media marketing campaign, and other types of digital marketing have differing requirements as well. In that same sense, the way you use UTM links will change and vary based on your own goals and the platforms where you intend to use the links.
Here are both some general and specific best practices for creating UTM links for your digital marketing needs.
Be careful with spelling and capitalization
UTM parameters are case-sensitive. Avoid capitalizing UTM parameter text in one link, then not capitalizing in another. Avoid misspellings at all costs for the same reasons.
You should always use the same label when possible. If you use a lowercase word for a social media platform, always use that same format for it. Otherwise, your analytics will consider each form of the word as something different from the other.
For example, don’t use ‘facebook’ and ‘Facebook’ and ‘FaceBook.’ Just use one form and make sure you always use it so that your UTM link tracking works as it should.
Do not use spaces in your UTM parameters
Spaces break UTM links. Don’t use a space, even when UTM parameters text seems to need one. Instead, separate words with an underscore _ or dash-. UTM tracking will not work as it should if it’s tracking what will look like broken links.
Practice good naming conventions
The number of UTM parameters you create can grow extensively. You should keep a list of all the names you used, to keep track of them all.
A good way to mitigate the possibility of the names becoming unwieldy is to practice good naming conventions from the start.
- Keep your names simple and short so they’re easier to keep track of.
- Keep your names consistent so they’re easier to implement quickly.
- Use only lowercase or only uppercase letters to minimize guessing and possible mistakes.
- Use either underscores or dashes, but avoid both to keep things consistent.
You want to have a consistent and manageable set of UTM parameters. This allows you to streamline the UTM link creation process and make the best use of UTM links in general.
A good practice, especially for marketing firms, is to create a UTM link style sheet or UTM parameter guide to ensure that all who touch or create these links do it in a consistent manner. Even if you’re doing your own marketing, having a general set of rules or patterns can help you maintain consistency.
Only use the UTM Parameters you need
You don’t need to use all UTM parameters in all links. UTM links require three main UTM parameters (source, medium, and campaign). These three parameters work for most use cases. The other two main parameters (content, and term) are optional parameters that generally come into play when placing ads on another site.
Of course, you can use however many parameters you want, and some digital marketing tools may offer you parameters that can help them better understand your traffic data. Still, if you don’t need a parameter, then it’s unnecessary to use it.
Use a URL shortener to make your UTM links less conspicuous
As great as UTM links are, they aren’t the prettiest URLs to look at. These links can become very long, especially if you pile on the parameters. In most cases, you’ll want to make use of a good URL shortening service.
You can also use your own shortened URL if you own one. Many URL shortening services allow for branding and may also offer URL creation features, including UTM link creation.
How to build UTM link URLs doesn’t vary a great deal between platforms. For social media UTM links, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re getting the most out of this link formatting method.
Some things may depend on the specific social media platform you plan to use the links on, but there are some best practices for creating UTM links for social media that can help your digital marketing campaigns or give you deeper insight to help optimize those landing page conversions.
You can use any UTM link-building tool, but you may want to use one that has a specific focus on social media UTM links. Some URL shortening services have UTM link builders for social media. Those services understand that many social media sites prefer a shorter link, so they offer these link building services.
No matter if you build manually or use a tool, here are a few things to do when building the UTM link for social media.
- Use the word ‘social’ or an equivalent as the medium.
- Use the name of the social media platform as the source.
- Use a campaign name that denotes where you will post the link on the social media platform.
Once you have your parameters in place, shorten the link and start using it in your social media content creation and social media marketing strategies. Once implemented, you can use UTM tracking features to get a good look at how your link performs and optimize your social media offerings from there.