How To Effectively Use Tracking Links On Facebook


You spend the time to make a beautiful Facebook ad, your custom audiences are dialed in. You publish your campaign and…

You see you are getting clicks but you aren’t sure why you aren’t getting the results you intend.

More than likely you don’t have proper link tracking set up on your Facebook marketing campaigns.

I will walk you through the best ways I have found to track what customers do after they leave Facebook and come to your website or app.

UTM links are my favorite way to track clicks

You may have heard of UTM links and likely have seen them. In my opinion, they are the best way to track what someone is clicking on because you can easily send the data back to Google Analytics (a free analytics software that nearly every website can integrate with).

What does a UTM link do?

It adds some extra information to your link and then sends it back to Google Analytics where you can run custom reports.

You obviously must have Google Analytics installed on your website to use these effectively.

For instance, when someone clicks on your UTM link you can see…

  • How long they stayed on the page
  • What page they went to next
  • If they added anything to their cart
  • What browser or cell phone they are using
  • Where they are visiting your site from
  • Which campaign they came from (Facebook, Adwords, YouTube, Twitter, etc)

What does a UTM link look like?

UTM links work by utilizing what is called a query string. They look like this.

http://alexzerbach.com/tracking-links/?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=facebook-marketing-posts&utm_term=tracking-links-post&utm_content=tracking-links-post

I know this looks complicated but let’s break it down piece by piece.

A UTM link is made up of 6 parts.

  1. Website URL
  2. Campaign source
  3. Campaign medium
  4. Campaign name
  5. Campaign term
  6. Campaign content

You will notice in the long URL above that each of these is used after an & symbol

  1. Website URL = http://alexzerbach.com/tracking-links/ (this is the page you are sending the traffic to).
  2. Campaign source = ?utm_source=blog (this is where the traffic is coming from…Facebook, Google Ads, etc).
  3. Campaign medium = utm_medium=blog (what type of content is this? Blog post, newsletter, billboard ad?)
  4. Campaign name = utm_campaign=facebook-marketing-posts (the name of the campaign, example Fall Fashion 2017)
  5. Campaign term = utm_term=tracking-links-post (what keyword is this being optimized for, mainly for Google Adwords)
  6. Campaign content = utm_content=tracking-links-post (this helps define which ad is driving the click within the campaign, so be specific here).

Pro-Tip: Try leaving extra space out of your UTMs as it can cause problems. Instead, use a – when you want more than one word. For instance, “fashion-blog” instead of “fashion blog”.

How do I create UTM links?

There are a couple really simple ways you can generate a UTM link. I would strongly recommend using one of these as opposed to doing it yourself so you can avoid messing up the link.

  1. Google’s Campaign URL Builder is my go to tool for one off links.
  2. This spreadsheet from Luna Metrics is great if you want to create UTM links that your team can use or you need to reference them later.

Heads up: Spelling and convention matter with UTM links. If you have a link with a campaign called Facebook and one that is lowercase facebook, they will be tracked as two seperate instances. So be consistent. It is best to meet with your team and discuss the convention of your tracking links. It will literally save you hours of pulling repots later. Trust me.

Where do I use these UTM links in my Facebook ads?

You will just insert the UTM link where you have been putting your website link.

Go into Facebook and select an ad and copy your UTM link where it says website URL.

And that is it.

Whenever someone clicks on your Facebook ad the UTM link will send data back to Google Analytics so you can track what people are doing on your website.

Where do I find the campaign tracking information in Google Analytics?

Setting up custom tracking in Analytics is outside the scope of this post (if you need some personal help setting up your tracking let me know and I would be happy to help).

However, you can get some basic information out of Google Analytics very easily.

Login to your Google Analytics account…

Go to Acquisition > Campaigns, All Campaigns and click the one you want to look at.

If you have e-commerce tracking set up you can see how much revenue has come through that campaign.

But what if you want to get more specific?

Remember above I said you can see which ads are driving the traffic?

Well, all we need to do is a secondary dimension by one of our UTM categories.

Here is how to do that…

This will sort by the last category you built out in your UTM link and you can see which links are driving engagement.

And that is how you can effectively set up link tracking on your Facebook campaigns.

But what if I don’t want to use Google Analytics, what else is out there?

For some businesses, Google Analytics might be too complicated (although you would have a tough time convincing me of that). But I get that it’s not for everyone.

Some other common alternatives are…

  • Clicky
  • Heap
  • Open Web Analytics
  • Shopify stores have some built in analytics
  • Kissmetrics
  • Mixpanel
  • IBM Analytics (for big enterprising companies.

Wrapping it up

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you use to track your links and ads as long as you are using something.

Never spend money advertising online unless you can track if it’s working or not.

The best way to tell if you set everything up is buy your own product. Sure it costs you some money but at least you can sleep good at night knowing you will be able to accurately measure your ROAS.

If you need help tracking your marketing campaigns let me know, I might be able to help.

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