Maximising Your Marketing ROI with UTM Tracking

/ 6 min read
Aaron Beashel

Have you ever wondered where the leads you gather in your Paperforms come from? Did they roll in through your Facebook Ads? Google Ads? Or maybe through your SEO efforts?

It’s more than just curiosity. If you don’t know what marketing campaigns are generating the most leads, you can’t be sure how to divvy up your marketing budget most effectively.

Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: UTM parameters. In this article, we’ll show you how to capture UTM parameters and other marketing attribution data in your forms so you can know exactly where your leads are coming from.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are tags that you can add to a URL in order to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.

These tags are used to identify the source of traffic to a website and can be used to measure the success of various marketing channels, such as email, social media, and paid search.

What are the 5 UTM parameters?

There are five different UTM parameters that you can use:

  1. utm_source: This parameter identifies the source of traffic, such as Google, Facebook, or an email newsletter.
  2. utm_medium: This parameter identifies the medium through which the traffic was generated, such as email, social media, or paid search.
  3. utm_campaign: This parameter allows you to identify a specific marketing campaign, such as a sale or promotion.
  4. utm_term: This parameter is used to identify specific keywords that were used in a paid search campaign.
  5. utm_content: This parameter is used to differentiate between different versions of an ad or link.

Why is UTM tracking and attribution is important?

By using UTM parameters, you can get a better understanding of which marketing efforts are driving the most traffic and conversions to your website. This can help you optimize your marketing efforts and allocate resources more effectively.

For example, if you're running a paid search campaign on Google Ads, you can use UTM parameters to see which specific keywords are driving the most traffic and conversions.

Why not just use Google Analytics UTM tracking?

If you run a business that sells your product offline, or you generate leads from your website and follow up to make the sale, tracking website visitors alone isn’t enough.

It might even be causing you to make the wrong decisions. Imagine the table below shows the results from your Facebook and Google Ad campaigns:


Facebook Ads

Google Ads

Spend

$2,000

$2,000

Visitors

200

100

If you use only Google Analytics to measure website visits, it looks like Facebook Ads are outperforming Google Ads. They brought in double the amount of website visitors for the same price.

But what if you use UTM parameters to capture the source of your leads and send it to your CRM? Suddenly you can see how each performs when comes to creating new customers and adding revenue.

With this additional information the table looks like this:


Facebook Ads

Google Ads

Spend

$2,000

$2,000

Visitors

200

100

Leads

10

20

Customers

2

5

Revenue

$8,000

$25,000

Now you can see the real story. Google Ads is actually bringing in better results than Facebook, despite initial appearances.

The efficacy of a marketing campaign can be more complex than meets the eye. When you can track stats like price-per-lead, customers, and total revenue, you’re able to get a more accurate picture of what’s working and what isn’t.

How to capture attribution data with Paperform

Capturing UTM parameters can help you get a clearer sense of how your marketing channels are actually performing.

With Paperform, gathering this information and other attribution data is easy. You can do so in two ways:

Option 1: Use Paperform’s pre-fill feature

With Paperform's pre-filling feature you can capture UTM parameters with each form submission.

You’ll just need to add a few hidden fields to the bottom of your form. Name each field as the UTM parameters you want to capture (utm_source, utm_campaign etc).

By default, Paperform generate a pre-fill key for each field that's a random mix of numbers and letters. To change it, head into the configuration menu for each field and enter a custom pre-fill key.

Paperform's prefilling feature in the configuration menu(Image Source: Paperform)
Important: Give each of the fields you have added the same profile key as the UTM parameter you want it to capture. For instance, if you want a particular field to capture the value from the UTM_Medium field, you would enter ‘utm_medium’ as the pre-fill key.

That’s it! Once the pre-fill keys are set, your forms will look for UTM parameters in the URL of the page and automatically pull them into the hidden fields.

The next step would be to connect your CRM to Paperform, which, thanks to the robust selection of marketing integrations, is simple. (A guide on how to integrate with HubSpot.)

Once your CRM is connected, UTMs captured through those hidden fields can be sent to your CRM alongside your other lead data. The benefit of this approach is that it’s free and easy to set up.

Pre-filling is available in all Paperform plans, so any user can start tinkering with it. But there are a few downsides:

  • Only captures UTM parameters: You won’t get any attribution information on leads who come from organic search or social.
  • Requires UTM’s to be in the URL: The form requires UTM parameters to be present on the page where the form is completed.
  • Raw UTM data can get messy: If some of your campaigns are tagged with uTM_source=adworDSSe and others with utm_source=adwordse then those are going to look like two different sources when you try to run reports.

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Option 2: Use a dedicated attribution tool

There are dedicated tools, like Attributer.io, that are purpose-built to capture UTM parameters and other attribution data. For example, with Attributer you can set it up so that data is passed through every time someone submits a response.

It’s surprisingly simple to set up. Just embed a code onto your site, and Attributor will use it to determine a bunch of data about where visitors originate. It'll then put each visit into categories and save the data to a cookie in the user's browser.

When the visitor submits a response to your Paperform, Attributer will pass that data into the hidden fields into your forms. This then flows to whatever backend tools you have set up—your CRM, email marketing or anything else.

(Image source: Attributer.io)

There are several benefits to this approach:

  • It captures attribution data on all leads: Data is passed on leads who reach your site from channels where UTM parameters aren’t present, such as Organic Search, Organic Social, Referral, or Direct Search.
  • It remembers your data: UTM parameters are stored in a cookie in the user’s browser, meaning that no matter where the user completes a form, the UTM parameters will always be passed through.
  • It cleans your UTMs: Leads are assigned to the correct channel regardless of any inconsistencies, so you get more accurate reporting.

The main downside? Cost. Tools like Attributer.io require payment outside of your Paperform plan.

Paperform reports you can run with Attributer

Wondering what exactly you can track with Attributer and Paperform? Here are three example reports you can run today using attribution information gathered from your forms.

Report 1: Leads by Channel

This report shows how many leads were generated each month. By default it's split by channel, which makes it easier to understand where your traffic comes from.

Report 2: Customers by Source

(Image source: Attributer.io)

This report shows only customers who have come from ‘Paid social’ and breaks it down by the social network they have come from. It's a great way to analyse your social media usage, and identify which channels to double down on—or ignore.

Report 3: Revenue by Campaign

(Image source: Attributer.io)

This report shows revenue generated from each Google Ads campaign. This data is obtained by placing UTM parameters behind all Google Ads and placing the name of the campaign in the utm_campaign parameter.

Track your leads with Paperform

It’s critical to know what marketing campaigns and channels are generating your leads and customers. Without this information, you won’t know where to invest more in order to grow your business.

By capturing UTM parameters and other marketing attribution with each submission of your Paperform, you can easily run reports that show you which marketing initiatives are working and which ones aren’t.

Whether you opt for a third-party tool, or use built-in solution, Paperform is well-equipped to help you gather and analyse all the attribution data you need.


About the author
Aaron Beashel
B2B SaaS marketing consultant
Aaron is the Founder of Attributer.io, and has lead marketing teams at some of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in the world. When he's not in the office, you'll find him surfing or snowboarding.

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