Using UTM Parameters to Track Your Social Media Promotion

By Monique Pouget

As part of Analytics Month on Thunder’s blog (don’t forget to check out part uno y dos!), I’m going to walk through a couple social media Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are imperative to any promotion or sweepstakes campaign. I’ll be covering at least 5 different social media KPIs in my SMX presentation in two weeks (deets here), so make sure to check back after March 1st for a full recap of ALL my secrets.

Hosting a sweepstakes or a giveaway on your Facebook page or Twitter profile is a great way to get fans and followers actively engaged with your social communities. Ideally, you want to create a sweepstakes strategy that sends people back to your website and gets them engaging on those pages too. But how do you monitor traffic from these social networks quickly, and how can you pump this information back into your strategy? And more importantly, do these social media contests contribute to your bottom line? Google Advanced Segments and UTM Parameters can help you gain more insight about your social media promotion.

Referring traffic from social websites and landing page traffic

I’m sure monitoring and analyzing your website’s traffic is part of your daily weekly routine, but during a sweepstakes or giveaway, you’ll want to know which social websites are sending the most visits, and what visitors are doing when they get to your website. Sifting through this data every month gets pretty mundane, but Advanced Segments are here (once again) to save the day! To set up Advanced Segments for your social traffic, I recommend you follow John’s instructions.

If you want to take your social media promotion one step further, consider using a vanity URL in your email blasts and social network updates (like that redirects to a landing page on your website. Make sure the landing page speaks to your social media audience, and don’t forget to include a call to action. Keep in mind that the conversion should support your promotion. If you’re a real estate company hosting a regional sweepstakes, entice entrants to submit their information so they can learn about apartments in their region.

Since you’re a superstar (duh), create a call tracking number that dynamically shows up when people visit the site through your vanity URL. Then, add the following call tracking parameters to your URL to track phone leads from your sweepstakes landing page. Here’s what the URL would look like if you used CallSource, but there are other dynamic phone tracking services out there.

Then, you can apply your “social media traffic” Advanced Segment to your landing page traffic to see how many visitors came to your landing page from social media websites. You can even apply this segment to your Google Analytics Goals to see if anyone from these social sites filled out a form, or completed a similar conversion. GA Pro, you officially are.

Pro Tip: Use the “containing” condition when you’re adding sites to this Advanced Segment that have various sub domains. Facebook traffic includes,, and, so using the condition “exactly matching” for would underestimate Facebook traffic.


This goes for all social media campaigns, but you’ll want to track the URL clicks of links used in your sweepstakes or promotions. Not only will you want to use a URL shortener like or in all of your updates, but you’ll also want to append the following campaign tracking parameters to your sweepstakes landing page before shortening the link. UTM parameters are simply tags that you add to a URL, so you can track these referring sources closely in Google Analytics. Here are three types of common UTM parameters:

  • utm_campaign: Your campaign name (sweepstakes, promotion, giveaway)
  • utm_source: The source for the link (hootsuite, tweetdeck, twitterfeed, email, newsletter)
  • utm_medium: Identify your medium (email, search, social media, twitter, facebook)

You can use the Google Analytics URL Builder to generate a URL for your campaign. You can get as specific as you want, but remember to keep the parameters consistent. Also, Campaign Source, Medium and Name are required, and I recommend using all lower case letters in your URL. If I wanted to set this up for links from my Hootsuite Twitter “client,” my long link would look something like this:

After you’ve set up your UTM Parameters, you can view them right in your Google Analytics account. To find out more about analyzing the data, I suggest taking a look at this awesome post from KISSmetrics. If you want to make sure the call tracking number shows for this URL too, remember to append this code to your URL as well: ctd_ac=1234567&ctx_name=Sweepstakes&ctx_Ad Source=Sweepstakes

Pro Tip: If you use Hootsuite, you can add these custom URL parameters into your account once, and then append them to every tweet! Saving time is what’s up.


Do you use UTM Parameters for your social media promotions, and how have they worked for you? Do tell!

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