URL parameters are a way for marketers like you to keep track of and collect analytics on a specific link shared online.
Imagine you want to create a post online, asking your fans to visit your homepage. Using Google Analytics, you can easily see how many people visited your website, but how do you know how they got there? If you post your website on several forums and social media pages, how can you see which posts actually got people to visit and make purchases, and which ones did not?
URL parameters allow you to keep track of information within the link someone uses to get to your site by adding some text to it, without changing anything about your website itself. You probably have seen these parameters before: if you click on a link you will often see something like “?source=Google”—this is a URL parameter. With parameters, you can keep track of many things, such as referral codes, source identifiers, or Google UTM trackers.
Parameters always have two components: a parameter name, and a value. The parameter name defines what it is you’re tracking (e.g. “source,” “referrer,” or “ad-version”) while the value is the related information you want to store (e.g. “company-website,” “sales-rep-mary,” or “version-3”). Website analytics services (such as Google Analytics) will automatically detect parameter use, and provide info like clicks, actions, and conversions separated by value for each parameter.
For example, if you want to track which clicks come from a Facebook vs. a Twitter post, you might use a parameter called “source,” and set the value to “twitter” or “facebook” depending on which site you’ll post each URL to. Then, when you look at the URLs’ analytics, you can see the data separated by the source.
You can do many powerful things with URL parameters, such as easily running A/B testing, evaluating the effectiveness of your campaigns, or giving credit where credit is due for referrals or sales.
It’s easy to embed URL parameters into any link with IntellaSphere’s built-in URL Shortener (meaning you’ll see the parameter data, but people clicking the links won’t). To learn how, see How do I use URL parameters and parameter templates with the URL Shortener?