Set up audiences based on URL parameters

Learn how to send data from any source (e.g. Facebook, ads, a CRM, a form, email,...) to Unless to create a personalized website experience.

What are URL parameters?

Parameters are little snippets of information, added to a URL. They transfer information between places and are great for creating a personalized website experience. The information transferred through parameters can come from

  • ad networks (e.g. Facebook, AdWords)
  • your own data sources (CRM or ESP)
  • your website (= a hash or string at the end of a URL)

Inspiration & ideas for parameter-based audiences

  • Symmetric Messaging: Use UTM parameters to transfer information from your ad to your landing page. Learn more.
  • Memorize Google Ads data: Send information from Google Ads (AdWords) to your website and store it using audience membership. Learn more.
  • Hyper-targeted Facebook ads: Store Facebook targeting data (e.g. gender, age, interest,...) in form of audience memberships. Learn more.
  • Personalized landing pages for email traffic: Use so-called merge tags to send information through the email link to Unless. Unless can pick up these tags and create audiences around it. This way you can personalize your email landing pages.Learn more.
  • Personalized checkout experience: Does your checkout or eCommerce solution store data in the URL (e.g. mysite.com?first_name=john)? Inject user-specific data into your page using dynamic content insertion.

Targeting options for parameter-based audiences

  • UTM source: Create an audience based on the utm_source attached to the URL. Example: utm_source=adwords
  • UTM medium: Create an audience based on the utm_medium attached to the URL. Example: utm_medium=paid-search
  • UTM campaign: Create an audience based on the utm_campaign attached to the URL. Example: utm_campaign=shoe-promotion
  • UTM content: Create an audience based on the utm_content attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "content" to describe the ad/newsletter/post, which allows for identifying individual promotions. Example: utm_content=summer-shoes
  • UTM term: Create an audience based on the utm_term attached to the URL. It is typically used to identify keywords for paid ads. Example: utm_term=black-leather-boots

target audience 1

  • Hash: Hash marks (#) introduce an optional fragment near the end of the URL. They're typically used in eCommerce and affiliate marketing.
  • Query String Parameters: Query string parameters are used for sending information through the URL (e.g. example.com/?search=dresses). This is one of the most powerful targeting conditions, so we dedicated a separate article to it (the article is focused on email merge tags but the principle applies to any URL parameters).

target audience 2

Here we selected "city" as the query parameter key. So, that matches mysite.com/?city=Amsterdam, ?city=Paris, ?city=London... To target a specific key value (e.g. Amsterdam) you would have to change the trigger to "city=Amsterdam".

Tips and best practices

  • The triggers "is empty" and "is not empty" are particularly useful here to set up audiences that trigger if no (or any) parameter is set.
  • When applicable, try to use the "contains" trigger instead of "equals". This is especially true for triggers based parameters. For example, if you used "utm_source equals adwords" but the link is "mysite/?utm_source=adwords/", the personalization wouldn't trigger correctly. The / at the end of the link wouldn't be an exact match.
  • Query String Parameters are the most powerful targeting condition. With query string parameters, you can leverage information stored by your email service or CRM platform (e.g. your lead's job title).
  • Remember to correctly use the AND/OR function. For example: You can target visitors from two UTM campaigns but a person can only view one ad campaign at a time. So, use the "OR" function to combine those triggers.