Ever wondered about UTM Parameters and Google Analytics? Urchin Tracking Module Parameters are essentially special “tags” that you can add to links so that you can track the traffic generated by those links in Google Analytics. Admittedly, these links can look a little intimidating. So, in this episode, I explain UTM parameters for Google Analytics in a way that I hope most people will be able to understand.
I also talk about customer service lessons we can all learn from my recent visit to Hotel Contessa in San Antonio, Texas and my we break down another Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie (this time it's the Crab Rangoon).
UTM Secret Decoder Ring
The Secret Decoder Ring Download is a single-page PDF that you can keep handy and share whenever you need to remember how UTM parameters work, and what they mean.
Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie: “A crab wonton a day, keeps the doctor away” – The stuff that got you to wherever you are in your business may not get you to where you need to be so strategically and carefully, but enthusiastically, embrace change in your business because this will keep the ‘doctor’ away.
A link is comprised of three parts: the HTTP/s, the website or the domain name, and the stuff after that which you would usually think as the post slug but it’s really the path to the file on the web server. But occasionally, you will see that the path that you are looking at is followed by a question mark and after this, a bunch of symbols, letters, numbers that may seem gibberish. In here, you will also see the three letters U, T and M. This section is called UTM Parameters and it stands for Urchin Tracking Module. These are tags that you can put in URLs to help you figure out where you traffic comes from. If you are running a Facebook ad, for example, you can add these tags to your URL so that you know later exactly where that traffic came from. It’s important for you to know which ads are sending traffic to your site to determine which ones to run and which ones to stop. What’s really cool about this is you can use the conversion goal inside of Google Analytics to nail down what source of traffic is really creating opt ins or sales for you on your website.
There are four that I use when I do UTMs:
- The Source Parameter – this is used to identify which sites sent traffic. It’s a required parameter and examples include Facebook, Twitter, Google or Bing.
- The UTM Medium – this refers to the type of link that was used and is usually described as the type of advertising medium that you are using to send the traffic. It can be from social, banner ads, cost-per-click ads, etc.
- The Campaign Parameter – you can set this to determine which campaign the traffic is coming from. Examples can be special content campaign or a seasonal campaign such as a Spring Sales or a Halloween Promotion.
- The Content Parameter – this can help you identify specifically which ad was clicked to bring the user to the site. This is often used for AB testing so it can refer to the logo, a text in the ad or which one worked in sending you the traffic.
Now that you can track things, you might be looking for additional information about optimizing your conversions. If so, take a moment to check out episode 126 on conversion optimization.
Here are some of the images that I mentioned in the episode. First of all, here is a picture of me with “Hispanic Elvis”. That's his description, not mine. This guy hangs out at the old market in San Antonio (on Market Street) in a restaurant called Mi Tierra. I've been eating there since I was a kid, and this place dates back to a worker cafe that opened in 1941.
Links Mentioned In This Episode
- Casa Rio Mexican Restaurant (since 1946)
- San Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio
- Hotel Contessa (my favorite San Antonio Hotel)
- Cliff Ravenscraft On Doing Things For Some Of The People
- 100K Factory program
- ATS Rentals
- The History Of Crab Rangoon
- Awesome UTM Post from Jeffery Krantz
- Google Analytics UTM URL builder
- How to install Google Analytics in WordPress
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UTM Parameters and Google Analytics Episode Transcript
I hope you having an absolutely fantastic week and I hope you enjoyed last week’s episode about changes with Amazon.
I’ll tell you a little behind the scenes story. I told you I was on my way to San Antonio. We had an absolutely fantastic time in San Antonio. As a matter of fact, I got to hang out with a guy who calls himself Hispanic Elvis, which you just have to see the picture to imagine. You’re not going to believe this guy.
We had a great time. We went to a restaurant that has been on the river walk there in San Antonio since 1946, I think, called Casa Rio. I’ve been eating there since I was a little kid, so that’s 40 years I’ve been eating at that restaurant, and that restaurant has been there almost twice that long. That’s really fantastic.
Then of course we took the kids to The Alamo and explained to them all about that amazing piece of Texas history. We even went to what I think is probably the oldest cathedral in San Antonio, San Fernando Cathedral. It’s in the very center of town. In fact, some of the remains of the heroes of The Alamo are actually interred there.
It was pretty cool for the kids to see all of that and experience that history. We really had a good time in San Antonio. It’s one of my very favorite cities. When we stay there, we stay at a hotel called Hotel Contessa. I want to tell you what happened to me at Hotel Contessa, because it’s along the lines of the story that I was telling you about these people that my wife rents lenses from, ATS Lens Rental. You might remember I told you about the amazing and fantastic customer service that she has there. We had that experience again.
I was up poolside on the rooftop pool of Hotel Contessa with my kids and the executive chef for the hotel walked by and he spoke to me and I talked to him. As you guys know, I’m a very shy guy. Not. So I struck up a conversation with Chef, because I’m a foodie and we started talking about food. He’s a really neat guy. Some of his managers were with him and we talked for awhile. I explained to him that we had been going to Hotel Contessa since they originally opened and he thought that was cool. We just went on about our business, it was like a five minute conversation. I remember thinking at the time that it was really nice for the executive chef of this hotel to stop and speak to me, I’m just a guy poolside. I thought that was really nice.
So we’re sitting there playing and about 20 minutes later the hotel staff comes up with a little tray and on the tray are two glasses of milk and some amazing cookies and brownies for my children. Nothing for me, just something from Chef for the kids. I thought that was amazing.
It represents the kind of customer service that causes things to happen, like getting your hotel talked about on podcasts, having customers come back to your hotel over and over again, those little extra things. Those cookies probably cost the hotel $3, maybe at most, but him taking the time to do that was going well above and beyond anything that he should have to do.
In fact, what he’s doing is something that I learned from Cliff Ravenscraft, who learned it from somebody else. When you’re running a business you really should do some things that you would like to do for everybody but can’t, you should do those things for some people some of the time. Do the things for some of the people some of the time that you’d like to do for all of the people all of the time. I really believe that’s the right thing to do. That’s what happened to me at Hotel Contessa.
Where do you think I’m going to stay next time I go to San Antonio? Not because I’m expecting free cookies, but because they employ people and they’ve set up a culture in their business that has that kind of attitude. That’s why I’ll go back there.
If you run your business that way, customers will come back to you, too.