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Analytics

UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics: Their Features and Problems

Analytics

UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics: Their Features and Problems

UTM parameters are essential when it comes to customer journey analytics. They can help you improve the performance of your marketing campaigns and understand how to increase customer engagement. In this article, we'll explain to you what customer journey analytics is and how to create UTM parameters in customer journey analytics.
UTM building for the customer journey analytics system, what is it – a sombrous forest or a marketer's nightmare? It's neither one thing, nor another, if you follow the rules and logic. Yes, most companies are thinking about tracking communications with clients from the very start, but it happens only when customer journey analytics is needed.
The sooner you start doing this, the better. Spend some time now, learn the basic rules of UTM tags building, audit the data, and take other steps towards building correct UTM parameters. And when the business's growth stabilizes and the customer journey implementation becomes obvious – you will already have the needed development history.

What Is Customer Journey Analytics

Customer journey analytics tracks the client's entire path from the first touch to the last interaction. It helps:
  • get a real picture of the business;
  • learn what marketing efforts bring the most profit;
  • optimize expenses.
The main feature of customer journey analytics is accounting for the profit actually earned. Lead capture here is just a transitional stage. We are interested in real sales and their value. This way, when evaluating every channel, campaign, and even a single advertisement/email you'll be able to understand their efficiency – the expenses to profit ratio.
What Lead Capture is, About its Channels, Mistakes, Examples
Let's take a look at this example. We launch two promotional campaigns in one advertising system. We can see these statistics in the account:
Campaign 2 brought more leads, and the value of a single lead is lower. We can draw a conclusion that investing more into the second campaign will bring us more profit.
Customer Journey analytics could help approve or overturn this theory. With their help, we can learn the number of leads converted into users/buyers/clients.
While reviewing the data from a CRM platform from the point of view of these two campaigns, we noticed the second and more important part, which was unavailable earlier:
It turns out most of the leads in the second campaign are cold/inactive, and the first campaign brought us most of the profit.
It is the plainest example of an advantage of customer journey analytics. In practice, there are more opportunities to optimize the expenses and working process. You can find the bottlenecks of the purchase funnel, upgrade the client's path, define the most profitable promotional channels for your business, etc.
Possible information sources are:
  • ads account;
  • social networks;
  • call tracking system;
  • web analytics systems;
  • website;
  • CRM system;
  • email marketing;
  • other sources.

UTM Tags and Their Goal

UTM tags are a set of special parameters and their values, which are added to the main address. In customer journey analytics these tags serve as a tracking tool for marketing efficiency from the primary expenses to the acquisition of profit; they help to replicate the user's entire path:
http://www.example.com/?utm_source=google&utm_
medium=cpc&utm_campaign=
BF&utm_term=blackfriday
&utm_content=toplink

http://www.example.com/?utm_source=google&utm_
medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BF&utm_term=blackfriday
&utm_content=toplink

http://www.example.com/?utm_source=google&utm_
medium=cpc&utm_campaign=BF&utm_term=blackfriday&utm_content=toplink

There are 3 main and 2 optional UTM tags:

Utm_source

It is used to designate the source of transition.

Utm_medium

It is used to designate the channel or the advertisement traffic type.

Utm_campaign

It is used to designate the campaign. The spelling of the values is arbitrary, but for composite tags values, you must adhere to the standard established within the company.

Utm_term

An additional tag, which will help to detailize information. It is usually used to denote a key phrase or an advertisement name.

Utm_content

Another additional tag that helps to identify the content in case all the previous tags are the same. It can be used in A/B tests or to designate the most effective location of the link.
If you want to dive into the topic of URL tracking and UTM building, read this article:
All You Need to Know About Tracking URLs in 2021

The Main Rules of Creating Tags

It is imperative:
  • to observe the syntax;
  • to use general standards for the same parameters;
  • to keep the register;
  • to correctly divide categories in tags' values when needed;
  • keep the UTM parameters short (not more than 8 KB).

How to Generate UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics

Define the goals and tasks for customer journey analytics. Choose the needed data analysis slices. Plan the campaigns with how they fit all of the aforementioned specifications, and based on this, think the UTM tags through.
It may take more to create UTM tags in customer journey analytics than just knowing the rules of filling them out.
Many companies have built omnichannel communications with their clients. This means that they need to gather data from dozens of sources.
And even if you are using 2-3 sources now, in time there will be more, and keeping track of them all will be harder.
It will be harder yet if various agencies/teams are engaged in the project, especially if they come and go from time to time. Everyone has their own working nuances and opinions on how to do it right.
Here's how you can organize UTM tags for email/push channel:
a spreadsheet for utm tags organization
There are cases when analytics are built for unusual business tasks. It's impossible to give some specific recommendations for all such issues since we should examine each of them separately.
For example, sometimes you can add a UTM parameter with a purpose other than that intended to track important business metrics. However, I don't recommend experimenting with this on your own, it is better to reach specialists for this.

Dynamic Parameters of UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics

Lots of services provide an opportunity to use dynamic parameters when building UTM tags. Every service has its own set of possible dynamic parameters that allow you to automatically add the corresponding value into the UTM tag.
Here are the specifications for Facebook.
The benefits of dynamic UTM tags are invaluable: they help to shorten the manual work and reduce human errors.
However, analytics is not all roses.

Dynamic UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics Can Open a Can of Worms

No Dynamic Parameters are Returned
As a rule, such services do not return the values of dynamic parameters via their own API.
Let's take a look at any advertising service. For customer journey analytics, we need to know the expenses for this channel and the advertising statistics. This data is stored in the ads account.
Dynamic parameters are used in advertisements as values of the tags:
http://www.example.com/?utm_source={source}&utm_medium={medium}&utm_campaign={campaign_name}
Dynamic values are changed to real ones when you follow this link and the analytics or CRM systems acquire correct values.
But if you try getting the statistics for these ads, API returns the tags with no substitution. To bypass these restrictions you will need to manually place the values of the dynamic parameters. It is easy to do with the main dynamic values: campaign's name, campaign's id, ads groups' name or certain creatives, and so on.
Problems arise when using such dynamic parameters that are not transferred via API at all. For Facebook, one of such values is {placement} — the placement name or {site_source_name} — a short designation of a source. In some cases, you may add tags manually or include the values of these parameters into other UTM tags. For example, for Facebook, the {site_source_name} parameter value can be written in the campaign name, granted, the advertisement will be placed on the stated source.
The Values of The Dynamic Parameters Do not Change When Data is Edited
If you create an advertisement with dynamic tags, the system will remember and use their values for automated substitution. Later, if you introduce any changes to this advertisement (changing the advertisement's or the campaign's name and so on), the dynamic parameters' values will remain the same.
Hence an important rule for building customer journey analytics: you cannot edit any creatives containing dynamic parameters. You can only create new ones. The same rule goes for email campaigns with dynamic parameters.

What Else You Should Remember About UTM Tags in Customer Journey Analytics

  1. In case of missing or incorrect mandatory tags, some data won't be attributed.
  2. Identical tags for different campaigns/advertisements will lead to data duplication.
  3. Repeated mistakes in UTM tag building lead to higher costs for the customer journey analytics, as they require more of the analysts' attention.
  4. Changes in UTM tags building lead to changes in the customer journey analytics process.
Victoria Ageikova
Senior Analyst
Victoria Ageikova
Senior Analyst
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