utm tags demonstrate digital marketing roi2_opt

UTM tags are critical to your success as a digital marketer

Guest blog post by @MikkoPiippo

Every digital marketer tries to optimize her campaigns and ads. This is just a start: she needs to optimize also the choice of advertising channels. This is impossible without reliable web analytics data.

Optimizing your advertising channels and media budget is not rocket science.

You need to find out the channels providing you with a high ROI. Identify also the channels with low ROI.

Next, you need to allocate more of your budget to the channels with high ROI.

But how can you achieve this?

Track the performance with web analytics

Different advertising tools, of course, provide their own conversion tracking pixels. These are useful for optimizing each channel. For example, you can very well optimize your Facebook advertising using the FB pixel.

But this is not enough for you when you optimise digital marketing as whole: Every advertising platform exaggerates the its own importance.

In a multi-touchpoint, multi-device world you need to have one tool for measuring all your advertising channels. Use one tool and one set of attribution rules for Facebook, AdWords, Twitter, LinkedIn and other campaigns.

Otherwise, you will compare apples and oranges. In this case, it is impossible to know if you should invest more in Facebook of Twitter advertising.

For most advertisers it is enough to have every campaign and ad reliably tracked in Google Analytics.

Unfortunately, every web analytics implementation is broken. The data is almost never reliable.

You might think that your data is perfect. This means only one thing: you haven’t found the bugs yet.

Most of the time, the issues are elementary.

Fix your web analytics implementation

Getting the basics right is the most important step in web analytics. It is much more important than implementing shiniest new things like custom attribution models.

Custom attribution models, custom dimensions and custom metrics are valuable for optimizing a high traffic website. And so are content groupings. But they are useful only if your standard tracking is correctly implemented.

So you should take care of the basics first.

These are:

  1. Campaign tracking.

    • Without campaign tracking, you can’t segment your visitors and conversions based on campaigns. If you don’t segment your visitors, you can’t attribute conversions to correct acquisition channel.
  2. Conversion tracking.

    • The accuracy of your conversion tracking is critical to your success. Without conversion tracking, you can’t optimize anything.
  3. Traffic acquisition costs.

    • You must import the acquisition costs to Google Analytics. Otherwise you can’t analyze the ROI of your campaigns in Google Analytics.
After implementing all this, you can for example:

It all starts with UTM tags

For some of the fixes, you might need developer help. For example, sometimes your developer needs to implement scripts for conversion tracking. Or maybe you need her to automate cost import from Facebook to Google Analytics.

But there are many things you can implement yourself.

Correct use of utm tags is such a thing.

Every marketer can implement correct utm tagging herself. It isn’t complicated at all, it is just something that must be taken care of. And with right tools, it is easier than you think.

Mikko Piippo is web analytics consultant and partner at Hopkins. He blogs and tweets regularly about Google Analytics and digital marketing.

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