How to track analytics with UTM parameters ??

What are UTM codes?

“UTM” stands for “Urchin tracking module.A UTM code is part of a custom URL that allows you to track a sourcemedium and campaign so you know exactly where your website traffic is coming from. It was originally used in conjunction with Urchin, a web statistics analysis program developed by Urchin Software Company. Google purchased the software in 2005 to grow Urchin’s online product, which we now know as Google Analytics.

UTM codes are bits of text you can add to a link that tell Google Analytics (as well as other analytics tools) a little bit more information about each link. You can track it all, and you can track it for free: all you need are Google Analytics and a little bit of UTM link codes.

 

Why are UTMs important?

If you’re spending a lot of time in social media, you might be publishing hundreds of new links per day.

UTM codes help you track the performance of each of those links so you can see where your traffic is coming from.

You can use the UTM variables within the link to track general information, like how much traffic you’re getting from social media. You can use them to track the fine details also, like how much revenue you get from your Twitter bio.

There are many, many ways to track links with UTM codes.

And the good news: If you settle on a strategic way to tag your links now, you’ll save yourself a lot of time (and headache!) in the future.

I’m about to share an approach to UTM tagging that has been especially helpful for me when it comes to measuring the success of my links, and I hope it will be for you, too.

But before we jump into that, let’s quickly set our expectations for what a well-tagged URL can accomplish for you.

 

The 3 Essential Questions a UTM Link Can Answer

When all UTM’ed up, a link should be able to help you answer some basic questions about your web traffic:

  1. Where is the traffic coming from?
  2. How is it getting to me?
  3. Why is it coming to me?

Essentially, UTM codes tell the story of how your traffic is coming to you.

This works by using three (or four) elements called “UTM parameters,” which we’ll cover in detail below:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Content (optional)
  • Campaign

That’s why a UTM-tagged URL looks like this:

https://buffer.com/email-courses/actionable-social-media-strategies/?utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=post-original&utm_content=-image&utm_campaign=25-social-media-strategies

See all those “utm_” bits? That’s where we’re labeling the traffic that comes from this link.

 

What Can You Track With UTM Codes?

Social

UTM parameters let you track social media efforts, allowing you to show which content was most effective on which channel.

Emails

In-email links can have UTMs attached. You can get differential click-through metrics from the same email – are more people clicking the link at the top, or the bottom? Tag the same landing page or signup URL in emails sent to different lists or at different times and get a unique level of granularity.

Advertisements

PPC advertising can be monitored closely with UTMs. Distinguish between sidebar and banner ad performance, or A/B test designs, graphics, sizing and copy.

And More…

Anything that involves someone clicking on a link or typing a URL to come to your website can be tracked with UTMs. Even print ads can offer a shortened URL, usually a redirect to keep your domain visible, which can then be used to track response rates.

The one place you really don’t want to use UTMs is internal tracking: every time a link containing a UTM parameter gets clicked, Google flags a new visit. If someone navigates around a few pages on your site using UTM’d URLs, you’ll see them in your analytics as multiple new visitors, reducing your data to a mess. The UTMs will also override the original referral data so you’d still be left none the wiser as to the real source of your traffic. It makes more sense to use event tracking or JavaScript’s track Page View function.

How to setup UTM

Setting up your UTM tags is simple. If you’re doing a small campaign or a one-off, use Google’s URL Builder.

Adding the snippets of code after the question mark doesn’t affect anything on the page — it just lets your analytics program know that someone arrived through a certain source or overall marketing channel as part of a certain campaign. Here are the five things you can track with UTM codes:

  1. Campaign: Groups all of the content from one campaign in your analytics.
    • Ex: utm_campaign=20percentpromocode
  2. Source: Which website is sending you traffic.
    • Ex: utm_source=Facebook
  3. Medium: The type of marketing medium that the link is featured in.
    • Ex: utm_medium=socialmedia
  4. Content: Used to track the different types of content that point to the same URL from the same campaign, source, and medium codes. Often used in PPC or with two identical links on the same page.
    • Ex: utm_content=sidebar link or utm_content=header link
  5. Term: Used to identify the keywords you’ve paid for in a PPC ad.
    • Ex: utm_term=marketing+software

How To View the Results of Your Campaigns in Google Analytics

Once you have started using URLs with custom UTM parameters, you will want to start seeing the results of your campaigns. To do so, go to your website’s Google Analytics profile. In the old version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Campaigns. In the new version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.

Here, you will see your different campaigns designated by the utm_campaign parameters you specify as shown in the example above. From here, you can click on your Goal Sets to see how each campaign has led to conversions based on goals you have set up in google analytics. You can also drill down into each campaign to see the specific traffic sources and mediums for each campaign by clicking on its name. You can also click on a Goal Set to see which traffic source and medium led to conversions as shown below.

As you can see, Google Analytics campaigns can show you some powerful information that will help you be able to choose which advertising, banners, and online marketing strategies lead to the best results in conversions.

Conclusion

UTM parameters excel in two distinct ways at the same time: you get excellent granularity, and you get it across channels with the results all in one place. You also get it the way you want it, with control over how it’s logged and presented. It’s something every marketer should be doing!

One final note for those concerned about SEO. Be sure to use canonical tags in the head of your webpages. This will eliminate any duplicate content issues UTM links may create.

What are UTM codes?

“UTM” stands for “Urchin tracking module.A UTM code is part of a custom URL that allows you to track a sourcemedium and campaign so you know exactly where your website traffic is coming from. It was originally used in conjunction with Urchin, a web statistics analysis program developed by Urchin Software Company. Google purchased the software in 2005 to grow Urchin’s online product, which we now know as Google Analytics.

UTM codes are bits of text you can add to a link that tell Google Analytics (as well as other analytics tools) a little bit more information about each link. You can track it all, and you can track it for free: all you need are Google Analytics and a little bit of UTM link codes.

 

Why are UTMs important?

If you’re spending a lot of time in social media, you might be publishing hundreds of new links per day.

UTM codes help you track the performance of each of those links so you can see where your traffic is coming from.

You can use the UTM variables within the link to track general information, like how much traffic you’re getting from social media. You can use them to track the fine details also, like how much revenue you get from your Twitter bio.

There are many, many ways to track links with UTM codes.

And the good news: If you settle on a strategic way to tag your links now, you’ll save yourself a lot of time (and headache!) in the future.

I’m about to share an approach to UTM tagging that has been especially helpful for me when it comes to measuring the success of my links, and I hope it will be for you, too.

But before we jump into that, let’s quickly set our expectations for what a well-tagged URL can accomplish for you.

 

The 3 Essential Questions a UTM Link Can Answer

When all UTM’ed up, a link should be able to help you answer some basic questions about your web traffic:

  1. Where is the traffic coming from?
  2. How is it getting to me?
  3. Why is it coming to me?

Essentially, UTM codes tell the story of how your traffic is coming to you.

This works by using three (or four) elements called “UTM parameters,” which we’ll cover in detail below:

  • Source
  • Medium
  • Content (optional)
  • Campaign

That’s why a UTM-tagged URL looks like this:

https://buffer.com/email-courses/actionable-social-media-strategies/?utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=post-original&utm_content=-image&utm_campaign=25-social-media-strategies

See all those “utm_” bits? That’s where we’re labeling the traffic that comes from this link.

 

What Can You Track With UTM Codes?

Social

UTM parameters let you track social media efforts, allowing you to show which content was most effective on which channel.

Emails

In-email links can have UTMs attached. You can get differential click-through metrics from the same email – are more people clicking the link at the top, or the bottom? Tag the same landing page or signup URL in emails sent to different lists or at different times and get a unique level of granularity.

Advertisements

PPC advertising can be monitored closely with UTMs. Distinguish between sidebar and banner ad performance, or A/B test designs, graphics, sizing and copy.

And More…

Anything that involves someone clicking on a link or typing a URL to come to your website can be tracked with UTMs. Even print ads can offer a shortened URL, usually a redirect to keep your domain visible, which can then be used to track response rates.

The one place you really don’t want to use UTMs is internal tracking: every time a link containing a UTM parameter gets clicked, Google flags a new visit. If someone navigates around a few pages on your site using UTM’d URLs, you’ll see them in your analytics as multiple new visitors, reducing your data to a mess. The UTMs will also override the original referral data so you’d still be left none the wiser as to the real source of your traffic. It makes more sense to use event tracking or JavaScript’s _trackPageView function.

How to setup UTM

Setting up your UTM tags is simple. If you’re doing a small campaign or a one-off, use Google’s URL Builder.

Adding the snippets of code after the question mark doesn’t affect anything on the page — it just lets your analytics program know that someone arrived through a certain source or overall marketing channel as part of a certain campaign. Here are the five things you can track with UTM codes:

  1. Campaign: Groups all of the content from one campaign in your analytics.
    • Ex: utm_campaign=20percentpromocode
  2. Source: Which website is sending you traffic.
    • Ex: utm_source=Facebook
  3. Medium: The type of marketing medium that the link is featured in.
    • Ex: utm_medium=socialmedia
  4. Content: Used to track the different types of content that point to the same URL from the same campaign, source, and medium codes. Often used in PPC or with two identical links on the same page.
    • Ex: utm_content=sidebarlink or utm_content=headerlink
  5. Term: Used to identify the keywords you’ve paid for in a PPC ad.
    • Ex: utm_term=marketing+software

How To View the Results of Your Campaigns in Google Analytics

Once you have started using URLs with custom UTM parameters, you will want to start seeing the results of your campaigns. To do so, go to your website’s Google Analytics profile. In the old version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Campaigns. In the new version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.

Here, you will see your different campaigns designated by the utm_campaign parameters you specify as shown in the example above. From here, you can click on your Goal Sets to see how each campaign has led to conversions based on goals you have set up in google analytics  You can also drill down into each campaign to see the specific traffic sources and mediums for each campaign by clicking on its name. You can also click on a Goal Set to see which traffic source and medium led to conversions as shown below.

As you can see, Google Analytics campaigns can show you some powerful information that will help you be able to choose which advertising, banners, and online marketing strategies lead to the best results in conversions.

Conclusion

UTM parameters excel in two distinct ways at the same time: you get excellent granularity, and you get it across channels with the results all in one place. You also get it the way you want it, with control over how it’s logged and presented. It’s something every marketer should be doing!

One final note for those concerned about SEO. Be sure to use canonical tags in the head of your webpages. This will eliminate any duplicate content issues UTM links may create.

One Comment

  1. March 24, 2018 at 1:26 pm

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