Effective Monitoring of UTM Naming Conventions: Best Tracking Practices

Digital Marketing
David Pombar
Effective Monitoring of UTM Naming Conventions: Best Tracking Practices

UTM parameters in URLs are a basic tool to know where users are coming from and attribute traffic to a specific origin. Yet, if you wonder whether there are better ways to monitor UTM naming conventions out there to prevent errors in the attribution of your campaigns and ensure error-free UTMs and ROAS calculations along the way—this article interests you.

Table of Contents

UTM Naming Conventions explained

If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably used UTMs thousands of times to identify which sources drive the most valuable traffic to your website and answer where have you acquired your users from.

In that sense, UTMs allow you to measure the effectiveness of your paid media efforts, as it allows marketing teams to look for trends and patterns that work in order to be able to allocate resources effectively. This is how we will be able to reliably credit conversions to the correct traffic source to know the true Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and the Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) for each of your marketing efforts.

Identification vs. organization

However, while this might sound like the ultimate solution to cut off wasted ad spend, it’s important to consider that, just as it is impossible to credit a conversion to its source without first knowing how a visitor got to a website, it is also impossible without truly knowing if you're measuring your UTMs correctly.

Therefore, even though setting parameters to identify the source, the medium, or the campaign inside your inbound strategies is key, accurate analyses require organizing traffic to help you prevent errors in the attribution of your campaigns.

For example, any of these values identify the source to be Facebook and the medium to be some kind of paid traffic acquisition.

  • utm_source: Facebook, facebook, facebook.com, FB, fb, FB-Ad, facebook Ad;
  • utm_medium: Ad, PPC, CPC, PAID, Paid, cpc, paid-ad, ppc, ad.

Now, imagine if each person in your team had to decide which combination of values they prefer when running a campaign in Facebook Ads. And now that we think it twice –why limit it to your imagination when a picture is worth a thousand words?

Example of a disorganized system of UTM tracking parameters.

Not so useful, right?

Identification is not organization; a disorganized system of UTM parameters can easily ruin the integrity of your analysis data, and here is precisely where campaign naming convention monitorization comes in to ensure the proper functioning and attribution of your marketing campaigns.

Once again, let us demonstrate it firsthand.

Example of an organized system of utm tracking conventions

So much better, isn’t it?

What’s more, by using proper UTM naming conventions, we will be able to compare Facebook ads to other paid campaigns effectively.

Another example of an organized system of utm tracking parameters

Campaign Naming Convention Monitorization

Mistakes in UTM parameters are permanent. This explains why consistency in naming conventions is so important. A single misplaced character can ruin valuable data to the extent of making it useless.

In that sense, it is only when you’re consistent about your use of UTMs that you get their full reporting value, as this allows the whole team to understand and use them correctly and consistently, rather than falling into that vicious cycle of disorganization.

Fortunately, with support for UTM campaigns, mediums, sources, referrers, landings, and pages, Trackingplan helps you ensure error-free ROAS calculation by monitoring the correct functioning and attribution of your campaigns and marketing strategies.

Let’s dive into some ways Trackingplan can help you leverage the way you monitor your UTM naming conventions.

Campaign validation: Set naming convention alerts with rules to monitor campaign tagging

Trackingplan allows you to set up complex validation rules for your UTMs, allowing you to enforce your naming conventions across the different teams that deal with your traffic acquisition.

That way, with Trackingplan’s validation functions, we can ensure that our users' campaigns adhere to their naming conventions by allowing them to set up User Acquisition specification warnings to validate their campaigns based on their own requirements.

With it, Trackingplan will automatically inform you any time your campaigns don’t meet the custom rules or the naming conventions you’ve defined to get it fixed before compromising the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Let’s see some campaign validation types:

Apply regex or enums to any value

Complex campaign validation functions

  • If the campaign contains the keyword “Black Friday”, the medium attribute cannot be ‘press’. If this combination is detected, please send me a warning.
  • All my campaigns must have the following format: 'brand name' - provider - 'item ID
  • If the utm_source is Google, then everything must contain a client id.

But let’s move on from the examples. Here are some real use cases of campaign validations that Trackingplan supports:

List of Campaign Validation rules supported by Trackingplan.

But not only campaigns are supported! Indeed, you can also set up validations for any of your acquisition data landings, referrals, pages, mediums, sources, and event attributions. An example could be:

Example: All my landing pages should follow this specific format "/section/abc.

And that’s not all. Moreover, you can also monitor any analytics event and its behavior to validate it according to your own requirements.

Example: The event AddToCart should only originate on these 3 pages: a, b, and c. If this event is detected on a page that is not listed above, send me a warning.

Bonus track: Spot any possible naming convention inconsistency at a glance

Trackingplan automatically documents in a single source of truth your daily, weekly, and monthly statistics for all your referrers, campaigns, mediums, sources, landings, and pages so you can see the results of your marketing investments at a glance.

This provides you with powerful cross-service insights to check the consistency of your UTMs. At a glance, you can see how you're tagging the Black Friday utm_campaign in three different ways; black friday, black_friday, and BlackFriday.

Trackingplan's bird's eye view of any possible error in the tagging of your campaigns

Moreover, as a nice to have, Trackingplan will also spot any possible inconsistency in your naming conventions automatically to provide you with insights about how to optimize your UTM usage for more efficient tracking and reporting.

Example of an inconsistency in the tagging of your naming conventions spotted by Trackingplan.

Conclusion: Leverage Naming Conventions for Campaign Precision

With Trackingplan, you can ensure you’ll never let another campaign go out of control by using naming convention alerts to set rules to monitor campaign tagging.

Trackingplan’s validation functions on Acquisition allow marketing teams to validate that the campaigns they run comply with their naming conventions.

If you’re interested in trying Trackingplan’s validation functions on Acquisition to prevent errors in the attribution of your campaigns and ensure error-free UTMs and ROAS calculation, get started for free or ask for a demo to unleash its full potential.

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