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
  • 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? Inject user-specific data into your page. Learn more.  


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. 
  • 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 condition, so we dedicated a separate article to it

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.
  • Unless checks your audiences in descending order. If the visitor doesn’t match the first audience, it checks the second audience, then the third, and so on. And if a visitor doesn’t fit into any audience you created, they’ll see the unpersonalized, default version of your website. 
  • 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. 
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