Understanding UTM parameters and Google Analytics

UTM parameters are tags that are added to the end of a URL, which help to track the effectiveness of a campaign, or more specifically in this context, the effectiveness of a post published to your social media accounts. If you have hundreds or thousands of visitors to your website each month, it's helpful to know where that traffic is coming from.

Let's say you shared a link to your website on both Facebook and X/Twitter. Each time someone clicks on one of those links, the UTM parameters are sent back to Google Analytics, which allows you to track what percentage of traffic has come from Facebook and what percentage from X/Twitter. In turn, this allows you to decide how and where to focus your marketing efforts.

🎥 Keen to learn more about link shortening and Google Analytics? View our tutorial videos here!

This article contains the following sections:

  1. Enabling Google Analytics Campaign Tracking
  2. Customizing your UTM parameters
  3. Finding your data in Google Analytics

Enabling Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

To enable Google Analytics Campaign Tracking, select your channel on the left hand side of your dashboard and then head to Settings. Under the General tab, set "Enable Campaign Tracking" to Enabled.

Buffer Settings - Enable Campaign tracking

Customizing your UTM parameters

⭐️ The option to customize UTM parameters is available on paid plans. Learn more about our plans and pricing here.

When Google Analytics Campaign Tracking is enabled, the following default UTM parameters will be automatically added to the end of every link that you share through Buffer:

  • Campaign Name: buffer
  • Campaign Source: x.com or twitter.com / facebook.com / linkedin.com / bufferapp.com
  • Campaign Medium: social

If you're subscribed to a paid plan, you'll have the added benefit of being able to customize the UTM parameters by clicking Customize Campaign Tracking.

📝 Please note, only the account owner is able to change the UTM parameter settings.

GIF showing how to update UTM parameters in Buffer

Finding your data in Google Analytics

The UTM parameters that have been set will then appear in Google Analytics as the links direct traffic to the particular website. Here's how to find your results in Google Analytics' GA4 dashboard:

  1. Select Reports > then Acquisitions > then Traffic Acquisition.
  2. In the first drop-down, select whichever parameter is easiest for you to find the information you’re looking for: “Session Source/Medium” or “Session Campaign.”
  3. You can now seen an overview of each of your campaigns and their results. This could be enough information for you. However, if you have the same campaign tied to a number of different URLs, you might also want to select “Page path and screen class” in the second drop-down to see the acquisition break down further. With this information, you can see which campaigns have been most successful in bringing visitors to your website.

Google Analytics Traffic acquisition Session source medium

📝 For more detailed information from Google, please visit [GA4] Campaigns and traffic sources

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