Have you been relying on free UTM builders for tracking and analyzing your marketing campaigns? While they may seem convenient, being aware of their limitations is essential.
Free UTM builders offer a quick and easy way to add tracking parameters to your URLs. However, they do have certain drawbacks that can impact your marketing efforts.
Understanding these limitations is crucial to make informed decisions about your tracking and analysis strategies.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how solely depending on free UTM builders can cost you more than you think.
By examining the potential limitations of free UTM builders, we can uncover hidden costs and explore alternative solutions that offer more robust features and functionality.
In the following sections, we’ll discuss these limitations and how they can affect your tracking accuracy, data analysis, and overall campaign performance.
What are UTM parameters?
To track and analyze your website’s marketing campaigns, UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are a crucial component. These parameters are information added to URLs in the query string after the “?” symbol, providing data to analytics tools like Google Analytics.
Using a UTM parameter, you can understand where your website traffic originates and how users interact with your marketing endeavors.
“Dimensions” refer to specific attributes or categories that can be assigned to track various aspects of your campaigns. These dimensions allow you to segment and analyze your data based on different criteria.
For instance, you can track the source of your traffic, the medium through which visitors arrive, the particular campaign that led them to your website, and other relevant details.
An example URL that includes UTM parameters in the query string:
In this snippet, the UTM tracking codes are utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign.
- The utm_source parameter indicates that the traffic came from Facebook.
- The utm_medium parameter reveals a CPC (Cost-Per-Click) campaign.
- The utm_campaign parameter specifies that it was related to a summer sale.
What do UTM Parameters help with?
Tracking the source of website traffic
To better understand your website traffic, UTM parameters can be added to your URLs to pinpoint the source of your visitors, such as search engines, social media platforms, email campaigns, or referral websites.
Measuring the effectiveness of marketing campaigns
You can accurately measure the performance of your marketing campaigns by assigning a unique UTM code to each campaign, which helps in campaign tracking by allowing you to track traffic, engagement, and conversions associated with each campaign.
Identifying the most successful marketing channels
UTM codes also provide insights into the effectiveness of your marketing channels. By analyzing the data captured through UTM tags, you can determine which channels generate more leads, drive higher quality traffic, or result in better conversions.
Understanding user behavior and engagement on the website
By tracking UTM-tagged URLs, you can identify how users interact with your website, which campaigns or channels are driving users to specific pages or sections of your site, and popular content or products.
Analyzing conversion rates and ROI of marketing efforts
UTM parameters enable you to measure the conversion rates and return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns.
By associating UTM tags with specific goals or conversion events on your site, you can track the number of conversions, revenue generated, or other key metrics tied to your business objectives.
Free UTM Builder Tools
Looking to track the success of your campaigns? Before discussing the limitations of free UTM builders, let us talk about some of the tools that help you build UTM tracking links for free.
Google’s Campaign URL Builder
Google Campaign URL Builder is one such tool that allows you to specify parameters like source, medium, and campaign name. This enables you to gain insights into the effectiveness of your Google-based marketing efforts.
Facebook URL Builder
Facebook URL Builder is another free feature within Facebook Ads Manager that allows you to add UTM parameters to your ads.
By including parameters like source, medium, and campaign, you can track the performance of your Facebook campaigns and measure the traffic and conversions they generate.
Bitly is a popular URL shortening service that also provides UTM parameter functionality. This tool allows you to create custom short links for your marketing campaigns while adding UTM parameters for tracking purposes.
With Bitly, you can track click data and measure the success of your campaigns across different channels.
The LiveChat UTM Builder allows you to generate UTM parameters to track your marketing campaigns and measure their effectiveness.
By inputting the necessary information such as source, medium, campaign, and more, the tool will create a URL with appended UTM parameters that can be used in your marketing materials.
Raventools URL Builder
Raventools URL Builder is a free tool offering UTM building functionality and other marketing features. It allows you to create UTM tracking links for your marketing campaigns across various channels.
With Raven Tools URL Builder, you can easily define UTM parameters, customize your URLs, and gain insights into campaign performance through reporting and analytics.
5 Limitations of Free UTM Builders
We’ll now discuss the limitations of free UTM builders that can cost you more time and resources than you think.
- Free UTM builders limit your ability to create custom UTM parameters, making tracking specific metrics or campaigns important to your marketing efforts difficult. This can hinder the gathering of precise data for custom analysis and evaluation.
- They do not provide custom short URLs, which can negatively impact your brand image and user experience.
Without the option to create custom short URLs that align with your brand’s identity, you may end up with unbranded or impractical long links that are impossible to share and fail to leave a lasting impression on your audience.
Adding to the limitations of free UTM builders, they often fall short regarding reporting.
The reports generated by free tools sometimes lack relevant details like-
- Conversion metrics
- Attribution data
- Segmentation data
This will make it difficult for you to extract meaningful insights and track the performance of your UTM-tagged URLs effectively.
Without comprehensive reporting, you may struggle to identify which sources, mediums, or campaigns drive the most traffic and conversions. This limitation hampers your ability to make data-driven decisions and optimize your marketing strategies for better results.
No Data Retention
Many of these tools do not retain your UTM data for an extended period of time. This can impact your ability to analyze trends over time or compare the results of multiple campaigns effectively.
Without data retention, you will face challenges in tracking the long-term performance of your UTM campaign. Observing patterns and identifying changes in user behavior becomes difficult without access to historical data.
Furthermore, comparing the effectiveness of different marketing efforts or conducting post-campaign analysis becomes more challenging due to the absence of continuous data.
Risk of Errors
Using free UTM builders can lead to errors in your tracking codes, which can be time-consuming and prone to mistakes when copy-pasting codes manually.
It’s important to note that analytics tools like Google Analytics are case-sensitive, meaning even the slightest difference in capitalization can lead to separate campaign entries in your reports.
In addition to errors, improper formatting of UTM tracking codes can also cause problems.
Certain characters, such as:
- Question marks (?)
- Ampersands (&)
- Hashtags (#), and
- Equal signs (=), should be used correctly within the codes.
Spacing characters should be consistent to ensure the accurate classification of values. Failure to adhere to these formatting rules can result in misclassified and confusing data.
Free UTM builders also do not enforce formatting and naming conventions, which can create challenges in analyzing campaign performance.
Inconsistent values like-
- incorrect use of source and medium (filling both fields with the same data), and
- confusing campaign names (like ‘FB,’ ‘fb,’ and ‘Facebook’ or using too many numbers like ss11824 instead of SummerSale2022)
can hinder your ability to derive meaningful insights from your data.
Manual data entry only adds to the data problems and confusion. Therefore, using reliable and standardized tools like TerminusApp is crucial to ensure accurate tracking and analysis of your campaigns.
Let’s accept free UTM builders are not scalable, particularly when managing large-scale campaigns or generating/tracking bulk UTM codes.
While manually filling in the website URL and campaign parameter fields may suffice for a small number of tracking links, it can be a laborious process for bigger organizations managing multiple campaigns across various channels or regions.
Free URL builders only create links one at a time and do not provide any visibility into previously created codes or offer templates for duplicate campaign codes.
This manual approach can be particularly challenging for paid search, social media, or advertising teams that need to generate a large volume of tracking links for each ad variation.
Also, validation is crucial in ensuring accurate data flow to Google Analytics. However, free UTM builders do not have a mechanism to verify if the landing page URL is live, appropriately tagged, or if the code on the page is connected to the Google Analytics account.
This validation process must be repeated manually for every UTM code, which can significantly drain time for more extensive campaigns.
What is the Alternative?
TerminusApp is an exceptional solution for managing UTM parameters and tracking links. It provides an intuitive and user-friendly platform that helps you efficiently track your marketing campaigns and obtain valuable insights.
With TerminusApp, you can effortlessly create and manage UTM parameters, enabling you to track the origin of your website traffic and measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
TerminusApp is designed to be easy to use and adaptable, making it suitable for small businesses and large-scale campaigns alike.
How TerminusApp help overcome these limitations?
TerminusApp empowers marketers to track campaigns effectively, analyze data accurately, and optimize their marketing efforts for maximum impact by offering a comprehensive set of tools and functionalities.
Say goodbye to the limitations of free UTM builders and unlock the full potential of your campaign tracking with TerminusApp.
- TerminusApp takes UTM tracking to the next level by offering real-time suggestions while you type, allowing you to refine your UTM parameters for more effective monitoring and reporting.
Moreover, you can elevate your tracking links by using your own custom parameters.
The platform also features an auto-shortening function that simplifies the process of generating shortened URLs for your tracking links. You can ensure consistent branding and enhance the overall user experience with complete control over your tracking links.
- TerminusApp is an exceptional tool that enables you to store and access your data effortlessly, ensuring it remains secure and available for analysis whenever needed.
You can easily deactivate any unused UTM parameters, which helps you keep your tracking URLs organized to avoid any confusion or clutter in your reports.
Additionally, TerminusApp allows you to save your frequently used parameters and values as presets, which can be quickly applied to your URLs without manual input.
- TerminusApp provides various reporting features, including time-based reports, distribution reports, and drill-down reports. These reports offer users comprehensive insights into their campaigns, media, sources, terms, and content.
Users can easily identify the most effective campaigns with just a few clicks and filter on one or more campaign parameters for more detailed insights.
The best part? Reports can be conveniently downloaded in CSV format, allowing for further analysis in any spreadsheet.
- Spaces in URLs can cause issues and lead to broken links or incorrect tracking. With TerminusApp, you can easily replace spaces with appropriate characters or symbols, ensuring your URLs are formatted and error-free.
Analytics tools like Google Analytics are case-sensitive, meaning that “utm_source=Facebook” and “utm_source=facebook” would be treated as separate sources.
TerminusApp helps you maintain consistency and accuracy in your UTM parameters by enforcing lowercase characters. TerminusApp allows you to group UTM parameters into meaningful sets. This helps in organizing and structuring your URL-building process.
- TerminusApp can handle the intricacies and quantity of creating and overseeing multiple URLs, ultimately saving you time and energy.
This allows you to effortlessly monitor and analyze a wide range of campaigns, channels, and marketing endeavors, even for large-scale operations.
Furthermore, TerminusApp provides a seamless and reliable UTM tracking system for your email campaigns. Rather than laboriously constructing URLs one by one, TerminusApp simplifies the process.
You can promptly create UTM-tagged URLs for your email campaigns, ensuring precise tracking and eliminating the need for repetitive tasks.
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If you’re a business looking to track your online campaigns accurately, free UTM builders may initially seem like a helpful solution. However, they can limit and hinder your marketing efforts in the long run, resulting in inaccurate data and wasted resources.
TerminusApp is a powerful tool with advanced capabilities to help you overcome these limitations and take control of your campaigns.
With TerminusApp, you can easily track and analyze your campaigns, optimize your marketing efforts, and achieve your business goals.
It offers a simple and efficient way to generate tracking links, simplifying the process of analyzing conversion rates and understanding user behavior on your website.
Don’t let the limitations of free UTM builders hold you back. Watch this demo video of TerminusApp today and experience the difference it can make for your marketing efforts.