Accurate tracking is vital to the success for every home builder’s online marketing program. Whether you are working with a shoe-string budget or have an unlimited supply of cash…accurately measuring the results can be the difference between meeting your sales goals or coming up short.
“…the goal of using Google UTMs Parameters is to be able to have a single place where you can track and view results of your digital advertising.”
Why are UTM Parameters Needed?
Using Google UTMs allow you to more easily consolidate your reporting and analysis to a single tool, such as Google Analytics. You’ll be able to easily compare different traffic sources against each-other – which allows you to make better, more informed decisions. All of your analysis will also be able to take place within a single tool and more importantly using the same tool to measure the results.
Google UTM Parameters 101
Google UTM Parameters is a string of “code” that is added to a URL that provides Google Analytics with the rules on how tracking should be handled with that URL. In other words – by using UTMs you are precisely telling google how to organize your data in Google Analytics so you can easily track and compare your online marketing efforts.
There are 5 different parameters to use with Google UTMs. Parameters being a “placeholder” that allows you to track anything you want! For most home builders using the 3 required parameters provides more than enough information.
- Campaign Source (utm_source): Required parameter where the traffic is coming from. Facebook, Google, Newsletter, etc.
- Campaign Name (utm_campaign): Required parameter name of the campaign. For Home Builders, we recommend either the community name, submarket/broad market name or move-in ready homes.
- Campaign Medium (utm_medium): Required parameter type of traffic – email, cpc, facebook, cpm, etc.
- Campaign Term (utm_term): Optional parameter – typically only used for Google AdWords traffic.
- Campaign Content (utm_content): Optional parameter – can be used for advanced marketer testing different ads within the same campaign and source.
Here is what a Google UTM URL should look like:
Parts of the UTM URL
- (1) Base URL – this is the page on your website that the user should be taken to.
- (2) UTM – the entire “string of code” including the “?” is the UTM Parameters.
- (3) Campaign – Campaign name of the ad you are running, in this example it would for a Community.
- (4) Source – Source name of where the ad is being placed – for this example, Facebook.
- (5) Medium – Medium of the ad. In this example it is a paid social ad from Facebook.
Getting Started – How to Setup Google UTMs
1. The first step is to create a list of sources where you advertise – along with each advertising sources’ options that you want to track. For example, facebook campaign type, ad sizes or advertising product.
2. The second step is to decide on the naming convention you will use for the different campaigns, sources and mediums. You should try to limit these to keep it simple and manageable. Best practice is to use an organized naming convention that will help you communicate easily the digital marketing efforts.
3. Create and update ALL of your URLs. This last step can be time consuming. We find that it is best to update the URLs when you would naturally update your Ads. For example – if you refresh your Facebook Ads every 8 weeks – go ahead and wait until your are updating the Ads.
How to Access Your New Data in Analytics!
The best part – new data! Here is how to find the new data in Google Analytics from your beautiful new tracking setup!
- Log into your Google Analytics Account
- Click “Acquisition” then “Campaigns”, a submenu will open up – click “All Campaigns”
- Add the “Secondary Dimension” of “Source”
You should now have data like the screenshot below.
Isn’t that awesome! All of your advertising channels in one report from Google Analytics!
That’s it! Happy Tracking – now go get your URLS UTM’d!