UTMs & Datapoints
This short article will define the two above terms, and in doing so will explain the key parts of the anatomy of your convention.
Firstly, ‘UTM’ refers to five placeholder arguments which can appear in your link. Specifically, these are named UTM Source, UTM Medium, UTM Campaign, UTM Term and UTM content. These arguments are used by Google Analytics. The original idea is that you might use these five arguments as placeholders, or delimeters, to record up to five pieces of information – or variables – about each link you publish. This has led to some confusion, as people debate and question what is meant by the five terms – for example, how does UTM Campaign differ from UTM content? This is the wrong way to think about UTMs. Instead, we prefer to think in terms of datapoints.
A datapoint is just a piece of information you record about your link, a variable. You could imagine each datapoint as a column in a spreadsheet. A trap you might fall into when you first look at UTMs is to think you are limited to five datapoints, each of which correspond to one of the five UTM arguments listed above. In fact, you can have as few or as many datapoints as you want per link, and you can name them anything you want. It all depends on what information you want to track about your marketing.
The above image is part of a convention which is recording six datapoints. Source & Medium (which happen to share names with two of the UTM arguments) and four others: Locale, Language, adFocus and mediaType. It will record, in that order, the website the link is posted on (source), whether the link is boosted or organic (medium), what country the link was shown in (locale), what language was used in the ad (language), what aspect of the product was featured in the ad (adFocus) and whether the ad was an image or a video (mediaType). There are lots of other datapoints that could be recorded. In fact, there is technically no limit on the number of datapoints that could be recorded, although more than ~6 is unusual.
This convention will record two datapoints each in the ‘Campaign’ and ‘Content’ UTM arguments, and none in the ‘Term’ argument. That means a link tagged using this convention will look like this:
That means this link was posted on Twitter, it was a boosted post, it ran in Germany, used English as it’s language, it focused on the product’s value, and it was a gif. You’ll notice that ‘utm campaign’ and ‘utm content’ each have two pieces of data in them. The button matrix used to create this link looked like this: