Social Media Management's campaign tracking tool helps you track the traffic from the links that you feature in your posts. By creating tracking templates for your channels, you can apply tracking parameters to your post links and monitor the traffic they bring to your website, using the web analytics tool of your choice. You can set up tracking templates for your channels in a few quick steps via your Social Media Management settings.
In this article:
What are UTM parameters?
UTM, or “urchin tracking module” parameters are pieces of code that are appended to a link so the traffic to that link can be tracked using a web analytics provider such as Google Analytics. Various UTM parameters — such as “utm_source,” “utm_medium,” “utm_campaign,” and more — are available so you can define and customize the specific values you’d like to track in your URLs.
Web analytics tools such as Google Analytics may only recognize certain standard UTM parameters by default and require custom setup in your analytics account to track additional parameters. Make sure to consult with your data analytics team or provider for information on setting up the UTM parameters you would like to track with your analytics tool.
Creating a tracking template
You can set up UTM link tracking within Social Media Management’s settings and you have the option to set up and assign a tracking template for each channel you have connected to the platform. The tracking template will automatically pull in values associated with the channel and its posts, such as the network, channel name, and post labels. You can select which field(s) to include and track in your template, and you can customize the UTM parameter that’s associated with each field.
Social Media Management supports the following fields in the tracking template:
- Social network: Tracks the channel network (e.g. Facebook) in the link.
- Channel name: Tracks the channel name in the link.
- Labels: Tracks any labels added on the campaign post in the link.
- Tracking ID: Generates and adds a unique tracking ID number to the link.
- Custom text: Allows you to define a custom parameter to track on your link.
To set up a tracking template, please follow the steps below:
You will need to have a user role of Administrator or Team Leader in Social Media Management to set up UTM tracking templates for your organization.
- In the lower-left corner of the platform, select the Settings (gear) icon > Channel admin.
- Under Channel Settings in the left-hand Settings sidebar, select either Campaign Tracking or Tracking Templates.
The Campaign Tracking menu will display all of your connected channels in Social Media Management and indicate which ones have active tracking templates currently assigned to them. The Tracking Templates menu displays a list of all of the tracking templates you have created to date.
The Campaign Tracking menu will list all of the channels you have connected to Social Media Management that you can create a tracking template for. Click New Template in the top-right corner to create and name a tracking template that isn’t associated with a channel yet.
Alternatively, you can quick-create a tracking template for a specific channel by clicking Edit to the right of the channel, though you will not be able to name the tracking template. Instead, it will display as a “Custom” template for that channel.
- Enter a Template name in the text box (this name will only be used to identify your campaign tracking template in Social Media Management’s settings). Then, use the +Add New Parameter drop-down menu to select the fields you’d like to track in your channel’s post links.
At minimum, we recommend that you include the Social network, Channel name, and Labels fields in your tracking template as we have programmed these fields to automatically pull information from the associated channel in your tracking links. If desired, you then can add additional custom parameters using the Custom text field if your organization has set them up in your analytics tool.
A tracking template can only be associated with one channel at a time. If you plan to create posts for multiple campaigns at once, we highly recommend that you add the Labels field to your tracking template and utilize labels in Publish to label and organize your posts by the campaign they are associated with. By doing so, the Labels field will track the specific campaign your post link is associated with and bring those values into your analytics tool.
After adding parameters to the template, you will be asked to name the UTM tag (i.e. parameter name) you’d like to assign to each field. This step will define the UTM parameters that you will track in your links.
We recommend that you consult with your organization’s analytics team to determine which UTM tags you’d like to assign to each field in the tracking template. In the example below, we have assigned some standard UTM tags to the fields (e.g. “utm_source,” etc.). You will see a preview of how your UTM parameters will appear and append to your post URL for tracking as you type in your parameter names.
Each parameter you add will appear after the question mark in your URL. (e.g. ”http://www.example.org/?utm_source=network&utm_medium=channel_name,” etc.)
When you have finished adding and naming your UTM parameters, click Save.
Any new tracking template you create will be saved in the Tracking Templates list in your Social Media Management settings.
Assigning a tracking template to a channel
In the Campaign Tracking menu, you can now assign your new tracking template to a channel.
Click the Tracking Template drop-down menu on the channel to select and assign a tracking template to it, then make sure to check the Tracking Status checkbox on the channel to activate the tracking template. Once checked, the tracking parameters in your template will be automatically applied to links in any posts you publish to that channel.
If you clicked to Edit the tracking template for the channel directly rather than creating a new template, the tracking template dropdown will display that the channel has a Custom tracking template and have the Tracking Status box checked automatically.
Adding link tracking to a post in Publish
After you have set up your campaign tracking template and activated it for a specific channel, you will be able to check your tracking parameters added to links in any post you publish to that channel.
- In Publish, create a new post on the channel for which you have activated the tracking template.
- Your tracking template will be applied via the URL Shortener tool in the Publish editor. Add a URL to the post text box, and you will see the URL Shortener box automatically checked (if not disabled for your organization). With the URL Shortener box checked, Publish will automatically apply the tracking template to your link and shorten it (visible in your post preview as “http://brnw.ch/…” if you do not have a vanity domain configured).
- Click the Advanced button next to the URL shortener to see a preview of your link with your tracking template applied. If needed, you can uncheck the tracking template to deactivate it for this specific post. Here, you can also customize the text of your shortened URL.
- After customizing your shortened URL, you will see your link update in the post preview.
- If you applied the Labels field to your tracking template, make sure to add any relevant labels to your post using the Labels box in the Publish editor. (If you will be publishing posts for a specific campaign, we highly recommend using this field in your tracking template and applying a campaign label to your post so you can distinguish links for different campaigns in your analytics tool).
- When ready, click Publish or Schedule to publish/schedule your post. Once it’s published, click on the link in your post and you will see your tracking template parameters appended to the link in your browser’s URL bar.
Tracking your link traffic with an analytics tool
Once you’ve published a post with a tracking link applied, you’ll use an analytics provider, such as Google Analytics, to monitor your post link traffic.
The specific steps to monitor your link traffic will vary depending on the analytics tool your team uses. Below, we’ve used Google Analytics as an example to view the link traffic for our campaign post. Check with your data analytics team and/or visit your analytics tool’s help center to learn how to track URLs with UTM parameters in your analytics tool of choice.
Why can’t I create and apply more than one tracking template per channel?
Currently, our platform is limited to linking one tracking template per channel so the tracking parameters can pull in values associated with the channel, such as the channel name, network, post labels, etc. We understand this may not be ideal for clients who plan multiple campaigns on the same channel.
To avoid having to deactivate and/or edit a tracking template for each new campaign you plan to run on a channel, we highly recommend using the Labels field parameter and labeling your posts in Publish with a campaign label. This will allow you to set up a master tracking template for the channel that pulls in the campaign label associated with a post and help you distinguish your post URLs by campaign in your analytics provider.
How do I map a custom field or UTM parameter that isn’t available in the tracking template?
The Custom Text field parameter in the tracking template allows you to define a parameter with a custom text value.
We recommend that you check with your data analytics team and/or consult with your analytics provider for specific instructions on tracking custom UTM parameters in your analytics tool of choice.
I use vanity URLs in Social Media Management. Can I still use a tracking template with my link?
If you have already set up vanity URLs in Social Media Management, then you do not need to do anything extra. Your vanity domain will display in the URL shortener when you are creating your post in Publish and your tracking template will be applied as long as you have activated it in the Campaign Tracking menu in your Social Media Management settings.
If you would like to use vanity URLs, you will first need to configure your vanity domain in the platform. Please speak with your Customer Success Manager (CSM) or contact our Support team for assistance.
I use Bitly links. Will this interfere with my link tracking in Social Media Management?
Since Bitly links have been pre-shortened, they will not function with our tracking templates. The Publish editor offers a built-in URL shortener that is designed to integrate with our tracking templates. For a seamless experience, we recommend that you use original links when creating your posts in Publish and use Publish’s URL shortener.
If you prefer to use Bitly or another link shortening tool, you should not use our tracking templates and instead apply your UTM parameters manually to your link before shortening it.
What is the difference between UTM parameters and the Facebook tracking pixel?
The Facebook pixel is a piece of code that you can embed in your website pages to track the traffic to your website in Facebook’s analytics. This is similar to embedding Google Analytics code in your web pages to track your website traffic using Google Analytics.
UTM parameters are pieces of code that are embedded into a URL to define where the traffic to the web page came from. For example, you can define and add UTM parameters to a link you share in a social post to indicate that the web page traffic originated from a social network. An analytics provider, such as Google Analytics, allows you to track UTM parameters to monitor your URL traffic sources.