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How to Use UTM Parameters for YouTube Marketing

ByRich Drees,
business.com writer
|
Dec 06, 2016
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> Technology
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A guide to UTM parameters for actionable tracking.

Use UTM parameters for actionable tracking data for highly effective YouTube marketing campaigns.

With so many online sharing platforms available today and the rising costs of producing great content, it is essential to track your traffic to see which methods are getting the most results for your campaign. Tracking this gives you data to make informed decisions about which channels to focus your marketing efforts on, based on traffic and user engagement. For brands and business that use YouTube’s open platform, getting enough traction for your video marketing efforts can now be done through the use of UTM parameters.

What are UTM parameters?

 UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitors) parameters are tags added to the end of a URL which allows it to be tracked every time it is clicked by a viewer and sent back to Google Analytics for a comprehensive report. It can be added on each and every instance of a link. It becomes part of a custom URL that allows you track your source, medium and campaign so you’ll have a better idea of where your traffic is coming from for all your marketing efforts. This is helpful for easy tracking for brands and business that may have spread out multiple marketing efforts throughout different platforms or those with several videos uploaded in YouTube for a specific campaign.

In other words, UTM parameters create a traceable tag for each URL link which makes it easier to identify which videos and marketing channels are getting more views and generating more traffic. On top of adding UTM parameters to videos, these can also be added to banners and ads that brands may have put up in social media to create a seamless method of tracking where all of their traffic is coming from. 

UTM parameters can adapt to changing marketing campaigns easily, as they can be changed anytime. They are easily customizable to track multiple marketing campaigns through different parameters such as traffic source, content type, promo code, terms and marketing medium.

In the long run, brands and business can significantly reduce expensive marketing costs, save time by ending ineffective campaigns early and instead push for campaigns that have been proven to work. 

How are UTM parameters created?

UTM parameters can be created easily through the Google Analytics Link Builder. Creators simply need to fill out six fields: 

  • Website URL. This is the page URL that users will be routed to upon clicking the link
  • Campaign source. This is required and identifies where your traffic is coming from. This can be from your social media account, videos, website or blog post where you current marketing campaign is on.
  • Campaign Medium. This identifies the medium in which the link is added to. This can be in the form of a banner, a video, a post, an email or other sharing methods.
  • Campaign Name. This helps you identify your link for a promotion if you have more than one running campaign so it helps to be as specific as possible. Enter a specific campaign name to note each traffic source such as ‘YouTube Video 1’, ‘Main Website Landing Page’, ‘Video 1 Banner’, and so on.
  • Campaign content. This is an optional parameter for ads that are content-targeted.
  • Campaign Term. This is another optional parameter to add keywords for your ad when using paid search.


It is important to note that UTM parameters are case sensitive and can be seen on the address bar so use only words that you don’t mind being seeing in public. Once all the fields are filled out, click on the Submit button and your new URL will be created. You can then add this URL to your campaign post. 

How do you track parameters?

When using tracking parameters on the external links embedded in your YouTube videos, go to the All Campaigns report, which can be found under Acquisition > Site Campaigns. This allows you to track where your traffic is coming from.

You can also check your campaign through Google Analytics. To do this, simply proceed to the website profile and go to Acquisitions and then Campaigns. From here, go to ‘Sources and Site Usage’. This allows you to check out all of your campaigns using the UTM parameter.

It is amazing to know how powerful URLs can be in tracking more than individual website sessions for traffic; a variety of marketing mediums can be tracked to check how effective a specific campaign is at getting you more traffic and user engagement. UTM parameters are easy to use and add to your URLs, and are also easily customizable so it can provide all the information you need to better understand specific details about how your audience finds your brand. Having access to data provided by UTM parameters ensures you can redirect your marketing focus to the channels that have been proven to give you the best results.

Photo credit: Alexey Boldin / Shutterstock.com

Rich Drees
Rich Drees
See Rich Drees's Profile
Rich is the resident Video Producer, Social Media Strategist, and Owner/Manager of VR. He frequently writes about cutting edge ideas for Video Distribution and how Brands need to harness the Social Media Platforms of today to reach the customers of tomorrow. Stay tuned for more!
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