Back To Blog

Use UTM Parameters to Optimize Email Communication

Most administrators who send bulletins through govDelivery are familiar with the bulletin analytics report, which delivers metrics like open and click rates. This report serves as a preview of how people are interacting directly with your digital communications, but that means it’s only showing you half the picture. When you send a public bulletin and post it to Facebook or Twitter, your social media followers may share your content, driving more traffic to your website. To accurately gauge the efficacy of your communication strategy, you should know when a govDelivery bulletin leads to increased traffic, and what information it contains.

But how do you track information like this to get the full picture? Through UTM parameters. Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters are customizable pieces of text that can be added to the end of a URL and read by analytics software like Google Analytics or Autopilot. There are several standard UTM parameters that exist:

  • Source – Describes where the traffic is coming from; govDelivery is the source.
  • Medium – Categorizes the method that brought your traffic to you, in this case “email” or “bulletin.”
  • Term – Identifies important keywords.
  • Content – Calls out content within your bulletin, like a preview of what it contains. Seeing what content drives traffic is helpful for a/b testing.
  • Name – If you use govDelivery to communicate about specific initiatives, you may use the name to track the traffic that comes from bulletins in those campaigns.

Each of these help pinpoint exactly how a website visitor reached you. The best part? govDelivery has the ability to help you track UTM parameters built right in. These can be at varying levels of granularity: at the account, bulletin, or link level.

  • Account Level: You can apply a source and a term, such as “govDelivery” and “bulletin,” to every link you send through the platform. Account level UTMs will tell you how many users access your website via any link on any bulletin.
  • Bulletin Level: Use UTMs to measure to the impact of a single bulletin. You can glean more detail with bulletin-level UTMs than you can with those at the account level. For example, you can see how many users reach your website via an individual bulletin that includes the keywords “inclement+weather+closures,” contains the content “safetyinstructionsheet,” and is a part of an “awareness2019” campaign.
  • Link Level: The highest level of insight are UTMs set at the link level. Using this will show not just the individual bulletin from govDelivery that resulted in the traffic, but exactly which link in that bulletin. If you include the same link on multiple bulletins, you can set up the UTM parameters so that you know which bulletins resulted in the highest engagement related to the specified link.

An even more advanced way to use UTMs within the platform is with segmentation. govDelivery already allows administrators to parse out their audience based on who acted on any call to action within a particular bulletin. If you are an Advanced Package user, you can further segment your audience based on who engaged with a single call to action. This level of specificity is made possible by setting up UTM parameters on the links you want to segment by. Segmenting with UTMs is especially helpful if you send more than one link in per bulletin. The ability to follow up with people that you know accessed certain information increases the relevance of your send and thus the likelihood of subscribers taking action.

UTM tags are one of the two “pillars of tracking needed to make sure that the source of your traffic is captured correctly,” according to Puru Choudhary, founder of Terminus, a UTM building and management software company. If you monitor your web traffic data and are interested in optimizing govDelivery, you should implement UTM parameters in your digital communications. UTMs give you the ability to better leverage the communications you’re sending and develop a set of best practices for your content and audience.

Interested in setting up UTM parameters in govDelivery? Get in touch with us today to learn how!