As an email marketer, you constantly aim to level up your game with each new email campaign you deliver to your subscribers, right? Well, that is only possible if you are in the practice of meticulously tracking your campaign’s performance against vital parameters such as clickthrough rate (CTR), conversion rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, list growth rate, and the like (in case you are wondering, yes, open rates, don’t cut it anymore post Apple’s MPP).
However, in the current competitive landscape, it no longer suffices to simply monitor how subscribers interact with your campaigns; you also need to assess the actions your subscribers take post clicking on the links embedded in your emails. How can one do that, you ask? With UTM tagging.
A Brief Introduction to UTM Tagging in Emails
UTM or Urchin Tracking Module codes are nothing but code snippets that are planted at the end of the URL. They help you identify all the different sources and channels from where the visitors constituting your website traffic originate. Thus, they make it extremely easy for you to evaluate the success of your online marketing campaigns.
UTM tagging refers to the practice of inserting UTM codes in emails and utilizing email UTM parameters to track the performance of links placed in your email. Wondering how to use UTM codes? It’s all pretty straightforward- when a subscriber clicks on a UTM-planted link in your email, the tag relays the information to your analytics tool. From there, you can see what actions the reader takes. Subsequently, by adopting UTM for email campaigns, you gain an accurate idea regarding the effectiveness of your links and can ensure that any changes you effect are strictly data-informed (which, of course, is a recipe for sure-fire success). Links that were clicked the most, number of clicks received by a specific email, source of clicks (geographic location)- all this information will be at your fingertips. Now, isn’t that nifty!
If you are an etymology enthusiast (like I am), there’s a good chance you have had your curiosity piqued by the term “Urchin”. Fret not; we’ve got the answer. You see, UTMs were actually introduced by Google Analytics’ predecessor, which was called, you guessed it, Urchin. As a result, UTMs receive out-of-the-box support from Google Analytics.
Why Should You Consider UTM Tagging?
Before we dive deep into how to use UTM codes to improve the performance of email campaigns, it is necessary that we first grasp its significance. Let’s take a look!
- In this day and age of email fatigue, crafting personalized communications has become extremely critical. But you can only do so when you have a comprehensive understanding of who your primary demographic is. And this understanding can only be mined with embracing UTM for email campaigns.
- With the help of UTM tagging, not only will you be alerted to traffic fluctuations, but you will also be able to identify the exact reasons behind the dips. Subsequently, fixing them and optimizing your email campaigns will be a breeze for you.
- Because email UTM parameters give you an understanding of where you are getting your traffic from, you can take concrete steps toward consolidating those very channels and sources, thereby facilitating a steady organic traffic pipeline for your page. Not to mention, the much-needed clarity that you would have at the time of allocating budgets to your various channels.
- One of the most important things that UTM tagging reveals is the amount of time subscribers are spending on your page. Simply driving a lot of traffic to your site will do you no good if the content there isn’t gripping enough to persuade visitors into making a purchase. Hence, possessing clarity on this front is highly critical. Should the average time spent by the visitor err toward undesirable levels, you ought to get to work immediately, conducting a thorough audit and revamping your content.
- By UTM tagging your email marketing campaigns, you are essentially paving the path for increased ROI. When every aspect of your campaign optimization is governed by data-driven decisions and strategies, there’s nothing that can stop you from realizing soaring returns.
- UTM tags can be easily integrated with Google Ads and social media campaigns, making it possible for you to obtain a holistic view of your marketing efforts.
Understanding The Different Types of UTM Parameters
There are five types of UTM parameters that you can employ for an email campaign.
1. Source: This helps you understand the site or location from where a subscriber was redirected to your page. For instance, if a visitor has arrived on your page by clicking on an ad you had put out on Instagram, then the source will be Instagram.
2. Medium: This parameter reveals the marketing channel via which the subscriber reached your page. Alluding to the example we highlighted above, while the source was Instagram, the medium would be paid social media. Consider another scenario where, rather than putting out a paid ad, you had simply shared a link to the material you wished to promote on your Instagram handle. In this case, the medium would have been organic social media.
3. Campaign: This parameter is used to assign a name to the campaign that is running. It can either be a generic name, a slogan, a particular promo code, or just about anything you find coherent. Just make sure that it is distinguishable enough to be spotted across promotional campaigns and product launches.
4. Content: This parameter is typically used while carrying out A/B testing, for it aids in putting the finger on the differences that exist in the content present in your “source”.
5. Term: With this parameter, you will be able to locate all the paid keywords in your ads that are driving traffic to your page. However, ever since Google Ads rolled out its own tracking feature, the relevance of this parameter has dwindled quite a bit.
Setting up UTM codes in Email Campaigns
Broadly, there are two ways in which one can set up UTM codes- manually and automatically. We will take a detailed look at each approach in this section.
Setting up Manually
If you wish to create custom UTM codes manually, you can take the help of multiple platform-specific builder tools out there. For that matter, Google’s Campaign URL builder is a great option- feed in your website URL and the UTM parameters you wish to (some of them are mandatory) and receive a new UTM-embedded link!
By embracing the manual approach, you exercise a lot of control over the functionality of your UTM parameters. On the flip side, it can be pretty time-consuming.
Automating UTM Codes
In this approach, you take the help of email marketing tools to both automatically generate as well as tag the UTM codes in all the emails you send out. While saving you a lot of time (and resources), here you won’t be able to tweak the UTM parameters to your own liking.
UTM Tagging Best Practices to Keep in Mind
- Adopt a consistent naming convention while creating your UTM tags. Otherwise, you risk compromising their reportability. Ensure that the names of your UTM parameters are non-redundant, descriptive, simple, and easy to read. Additionally, it is advisable to use only lowercase letters. That way, you don’t have to worry about accidentally forgetting an uppercase letter (lessons we have learned the hard way from password-setting expeditions in the past).
- Focus on tracking data that is relevant to your goals. Now, this will require you to get rid of unnecessary parameters on some occasions and on others to introduce custom ones.
- When your URL is tagged with multiple UTM parameters, the resulting link can appear clunky, which could potentially lead to it being perceived as spam by your subscribers. To avoid this, you could consider employing the services of a UTM link shortener.
- Testing is of utmost importance while practicing UTM tagging. This is on account of a couple of reasons. Firstly, it will help you understand which combination of parameters aligns best with your goals. Secondly, certain email clients remove UTM tags from URLs. Hence, if you proceed without testing, you’d be technically landing yourself in square one.
- Monitor your analytics in a routined and disciplined manner. This will allow you to stay on top of your optimization game.
- As mentioned earlier, UTM tags can be integrated easily with other marketing tools. Leverage this to boost the performance of your campaigns.
Wrapping It Up
If you are new to the world of UTM tagging, it can take some getting used to. But once you familiarize yourself with its nuances, you can propel the performance of your email marketing campaigns to great heights, and perch your business comfortably above your competitors.