What are Campaign URL Builders and why do we use them?
Without UTM Parameters you go blind 🙈 without Campaign URL Builders you go crazy 🤪.
Campaign URL Builders make it easy(ish) to build and apply UTM Parameters to your links across different marketing channels so that you can accurately identify what initiatives are driving users to your website.
If you have ever tried to push a digital campaign, then you quickly realize the importance of UTM parameters to understand how your campaign is performing.
Now if you ever tried to apply granular UTMs at scale you can quickly see how creating, implementing and maintaining consistency across each advertising network can quickly become a time consuming and tedious process.
Fortunately, there are some useful tools out there to make your life easier.
What will we be talking about?
This post is a roundup of Campaign URL builders to stop you from pulling ‘some’ of your hair out. I will review the following tools compared to the Google URL Builder:
- Raven URL Builder
- Terminus App
- UTM Builder
- Terminus App
- UTM.io [Effinamazing UTM Tracking Code Builder ]
- EasyAutoTagging – Facebook Only
If there are any Campaign URL Builders on the list you would like to see added then; please let me know in the comments below
A Quick update on UTM Parameters
UTM stands for Urchin Traffic Monitor and comes all the way back from the Urchin days before acquired by Google and re-branded as Google Analytics.
UTMs are a snippet of code you can append to any URL on your site with the following standard parameters:
When appended they look something like this:
This allows marketers to identify what campaigns, ads, keyword or audiences are most effective within reporting platforms specifically Google Analytics.
Note: You can check out Tracking Custom Parameters as Custom Dimensions if you want to track custom parameters such as audience and see these in Google Analytics reporting.
A quick recap on the Google URL Builder
The Google URL Builder is probably the most used and familiar Campaign URL builder. It’s free and straightforward however there are some limitations
You cannot scale tagging your campaigns since you can only create one UTM at a time [also compromising consitency] and you are locked into the default parameter values they provide.
How each Alternative Campaign URL Builder is rated
Automation/Scaleability – Is it possible to quickly generate UTMs with minimal manual input across many ad campaigns.
Customization – The level of flexibility and customization available in using dynamic values and creating custom parameters.
Consistency – Relying on humans to be consistent when applying UTMs across a large set of ads is practically impossible. Consistency looks at features within each platform to manage UTM implementation across larger accounts
URL Shortener – Can you shorten the URL either natively or with a tool like bitly
Click Tracking – Does the platform provide click tracking stats. I don’t necessarily see the value in having an additional view for click data since the primary objective is to see session/user data and this is provided within the reporting platform. However, click data can be useful for content curation or sharing third party links.
Import Mapping – Does the tool provide an option to import cost data into Google Analytics matching UTM Parameter definitions so that the imported data is clean and maps to session data. Importing cost data and mapping this to session data is a crucial piece to analyze data seamlessly in Google Analytics.
Raven URL Builder
The Raven URL Builder is a super simple free builder and functions similarly to the Google URL Builder. There is no better value in comparison to the Google URL Builder since they both take the same manual approach.
|Raven URL Builder||Google URL Builder|
Best URL Builder
With Best URL Builder you can build and store UTMs. They offer UTM templates so that you can standardize naming conventions and quickly apply consistent UTMs across a team.
Best URL Builder also offers a reporting feature for tracking click stats within their platform.
As mentioned above I don’t know how useful that is for first party links since I usually add UTMs to identify performance within reporting platforms looking at session/user not click data.
|Best URL Builder||Google URL Builder|
Terminus UTM URL Builder
What is excellent about Terminus is that it is built to manage UTM consistency across larger accounts in a dynamic manner as opposed to managing these in a messy spreadsheet.
If you are managing a large digital media team and want to provide consistency across your campaign initiatives, then this might be the tool for you.
Terminus also provides a chrome extension (similar to Effin Amazing) so that you can build UTMs and use presets directly from your browser.
|Terminus||Google URL Builder|
UTM Builder provides some similar features to Terminus above such as UTM management for consistency and their chrome extension.
They do have a super intuitive tagging system, and although they only utilize the 5 standard UTM Parameters, they can dynamically add additional information stitched together for each parameter field.
They also seem to have a decent track record of more prominent brands utilizing their tools.
In addition, UTM Builder supports parameters for additional reporting platforms such as Adobe or Piwik.
|UTM Builder||Google URL Builder|
UTM.io [Formerly Effinamazing UTM Tracking Code Builder]
UTM.io known for its Effin Amazing chrome extension is a pretty neat tool. They do have the basic builder available here, but that is pretty much the same as the Google URL builder.
However, the chrome extension allows you to define presets for consistency across a team, automatically save all of your links in a google sheet including notes, and bitly links as long as you are connected to your bitly account.
All of this can be done right from the extension when you are on any webpage that you need to generate UTMs for.
Note: Some of the features above require the paid version.
|Effin Amazing||Google URL Builder|
EasyAutoTagging (Yes that’s us)
Note: At the time being EasyAutoTagging is built for Facebook only while we continue to build out the platform for additional integrations.
EasyAutoTagging gives users the ability to define rules using ‘initiatives’ that can be assigned to any Facebook account. Within these initiatives, you can create campaign filters, choose to use the native shortener and assign custom parameter definitions. The platform will then automatically detect new ads in your Facebook Account and populate parameters based on your definition. This removes the manual process of creating and pasting UTMs into Facebook for each ad into every campaign making the UTM process scalable. Easyautotagging also supports adding custom parameters so that you are not restricted to the 5 default values.
UTM consistency can be a nightmare from a management standpoint. This is where UTM Profiles come in to make your life easier. UTM Profiles allow you to define UTM values either dynamically using campaign values or statically entering the text value. Creating profiles ensures consistency across accounts and teams removing the human error factor.
As an optional feature, you can choose to enable Automated data Imports. This will import Facebook Campaign cost, impression and click data into Google Analytics using the same tagging UTM definitions for seamless Facebook and session mapping in GA.
|EasyAutoTagging||Google URL Builder|
In conclusion, building, assigning and reporting in a fragmented landscape can create moments of [extreme] frustration. However, some of these tools can make your life easier by providing ways to build and manage the tagging process consistently.
What is your favorite tool? Let me know in the comments below.