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How Apple's iOS 17 Update is Affecting UTM Parameters: What You Need to Know

October 11, 20233 min read

Introduction

In the world of digital marketing, tracking the performance of your campaigns is crucial. One of the most common ways to do this is through UTM parameters. These are tags that you add to a URL. When someone clicks on that URL, the tags are sent back to your analytics tools, giving you data on where your traffic is coming from and how effective your campaigns are.

However, Apple's recent iOS 17 update has thrown a wrench into this system. While many UTMs are still functioning as they should, some key ones have been stripped from URLs, affecting the way marketers track campaign performance. In this post, we'll delve into what UTMs are, which ones have been affected by the iOS 17 update, and what this means for your marketing efforts.

What Are UTM Parameters?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. These are simple code snippets that you can attach to a custom URL to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.

For example, let's say you have a URL like this: https://www.example.com. You could add UTMs to it so it looks like this: https://www.example.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=summer_sale. This tells you that the traffic came from Google, it was a paid click (CPC), and it was part of your "summer_sale" campaign.

The iOS 17 Update: What's Changed?

Apple has always been about user privacy, and the iOS 17 update is no different. However, this time, some UTM parameters are being stripped from URLs, making it more challenging for marketers to track the effectiveness of their campaigns accurately. Here's a rundown of the affected UTMs:

  • cid: Stripped

  • fbclid: Stripped

  • twclid: Stripped

  • gclid: Stripped

The rest, including commonly used UTMs like utm_campaign, utm_content, utm_medium, and utm_source, are still functioning as expected.

The Impact on Marketing Campaigns

The stripping of these UTMs can have a significant impact on your marketing campaigns. For instance, gclid is used for tracking Google Ads. If you're running a PPC campaign on Google, this could affect your ability to measure its success. Similarly, fbclid is used for tracking Facebook ads, and twclid is used for Twitter.

While these changes won't make your campaigns ineffective, they will make it more challenging to measure their effectiveness. This could lead to less optimized campaigns and, ultimately, a lower ROI.

What Can You Do?

Firstly, it's essential to update your tracking and analytics setup to account for these changes. You may need to rely more on first-party data and other tracking methods that are less affected by these changes.

Secondly, consider using SalesUp Machine's advanced tracking capabilities. Our platform is designed to adapt to changes in the tracking landscape, giving you the most accurate and up-to-date data possible.

Conclusion

Apple's iOS 17 update has made some significant changes to the way UTMs are handled, stripping some key parameters from URLs. While this won't make your campaigns ineffective, it will make it harder to track their effectiveness. By staying informed and adapting your tracking methods, you can continue to run successful, data-driven campaigns.

So, how are you adapting to these changes? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

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All rights reserved.

This website was built with ❤️ in Kansas using SalesUp Machine.

Unlike our competitors, we drink our own Kool-Aid.

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This site is not a part of Google™ website, or network of sites such as Youtube™, or any company owned by Google™ or Youtube™. Additionally this website is not endorsed by Google™, Youtube™, or Meta Inc. in any way. Google™ is a trademark for all their respective companies, FACEBOOK™ is a trademark of Meta, Inc.


By reading this website or the documents it offers, you assume all risks associated with using the advice given, with a full understanding that you, solely, are responsible for anything that may occur as a result of putting this information into action in any way, and regardless of your interpretation of the advice. You further agree that our company cannot be held responsible in any way for the success or failure of your business as a result of the information provided by our company. It is your responsibility to conduct your own due diligence regarding the safe and successful operation of your business if you intend to apply any of our information in any way to your business operations. In summary, you understand that we make absolutely no guarantees regarding income as a result of applying this information, as well as the fact that you are solely responsible for the results of any action taken on your part as a result of any given information. In addition, for all intents and purposes you agree that our content is to be considered “for entertainment purposes only”. Always seek the advice of a professional when making financial, tax, or business decisions.