Google Analytics is an incredible tool for monitoring your website traffic, but its capabilities are limited to only the traffic on your website. When you want to dive deeper into the numbers and figure out how your marketing campaigns off-site are performing, you’ll need to add tracking parameters to the URLs that you use. That’s where UTM tags come in. Start by visiting the Campaign URL Builder, which is a free tool that helps you build custom URLs with UTM tags.
What Are UTM Tags?
Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) Tags are parameters that are added to the end of a URL that provides Google Analytics with information about the traffic that used that URL.
For example, if someone were to click on your Website button in Google My Business without a UTM tag attached, it would show up in Google Analytics as (direct) traffic. To Google, it looks the same as if someone just typed your URL into their address bar, which is obviously not the case. In order to fix that, you can add the UTM parameters to the end of the URL, which would look something like this:
UTM tags have four mandatory components to fill out–Website URL, Campaign Source, Campaign Medium, and Campaign Name. There are three other optional parameters you can set–Campaign ID, Campaign Term, and Campaign Content. Let’s go over each parameter in detail.
This is a self explanatory one. Choose the page on your website you want to direct users to wherever you’re putting this particular link. Whichever URL from your website you insert into this field is where the traffic will end up.
The Campaign Source should be the referrer of the traffic. In the prior example, users are coming from Google, so the source is google. If your link is part of a tweet you send out, the source is twitter. If the link is coming from a third party online directory, then the source should be the name of the third party directory. You get the point.
The Campaign Medium is the type of traffic that your campaign is directed towards. Here’s where it gets a little dicey. There are a few categories set as defaults in Google Analytics, and they cover nearly all of the traffic you’ll see going to your site. When it comes to setting the campaign medium, we recommend sticking to one of those default mediums. They are: social, organic, ppc, display, and referral. Be sure to make whichever medium you choose lowercase, because an uppercase medium will result in Analytics creating an entirely new medium, which will muddle the traffic you see.
You might be running multiple campaigns on Twitter or Google at the same time, so the Campaign Name helps you differentiate them. In the above example, the campaign name is set as google_my_business so we can filter out only the traffic from Google My Business when we look at our Analytics profile.
While this isn’t a mandatory field, we recommend using it to break down your marketing campaigns into more granular pieces. In the example given above, the Content of the link is “website_button,” which indicates that the user not only got to the website through Google My Business, but that they used the website button, as opposed to the appointment button. This helps inform you on how users like to interact with your campaigns.
This is an optional parameter if you have assigned a number ID to your marketing campaign. It’s rarely used, but can be helpful if you have a large number of campaigns to sift through.
For paid ad campaigns, you can sort them by the keyword that each one was targeting by filling out this field. For example, if you have paid ad campaigns across multiple platforms (bing, yahoo, google) that are all targeting the same keyword, you would be able to sort by that keyword in Google Analytics.
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