Personalize 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)

Ideas for parameter-based personalization

  • Symmetric Messaging: Use UTM parameters to transfer information from your ad to your landing page. Learn more.
  • Memorize AdWords data: Send information from 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.
  • Personalize based on purchasing history: In your CRM or ESP you store customer information? Use it to create a personalized website experience. 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: Show a specific variation based on the utm_source attached to the URL. Example: utm_source=adwords
  • UTM medium: Show a specific variation based on the utm_medium attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "medium" to define the traffic channel. Example: utm_medium=paid-search
  • UTM campaign: Show a specific variation based on the utm_campaign attached to the URL. Best practice suggest to use "campaign" to define a marketing activity. Example: utm_campaign=shoe-promotion
  • UTM content: Show a specific variation 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=red-shoes
  • UTM term: Show a specific variation based on the utm_term attached to the URL. It is typically used to identify keywords for paid ads.

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 priciniple 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.