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)

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

audience-utm-parameters

  • 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).

audience-querystring-parameters

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 on 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.