Introduction to UTM Parameters


What are UTM parameters?

UTM parameters (codes) allow you to track traffic and its source in the most effective way. They let you see which channels, medium and particular campaigns that drove the most traffic or sales your way. By being linked to Google Analytics, the results are visible feeding the data straight to your dashboard.

Why should you use UTM parameters?

  1. They help Google Analytics identify and aggregate your traffic.
  2. UTM parameters also give you the extra level of detail regarding your traffic and its source.
  3. They give you the opportunity to track a specific campaign performance across channels.

UTM parameters explained

UTM parameters are an add-on at the end of your URL. They contain information about your marketing campaigns and help you track its performance.

  • utm_campaign: The name of the marketing effort, e.g. launch, blackfriday, birthday_deal, automated_email, newsletter etc.
  • utm_source: Identify the source of the traffic. It could be a website, advertiser, etc. e.g. linkedin, facebook, google. For email it would be How did someone join this mailing list? I.e: newsletter, launch, myaccount
  • utm_medium: Identify the medium used by a visitor to come to your site, e.g. email, social, cpc, display.
  • utm_content: Identify content or call to action, also great to use for A/B testing (like CTA testing) e.g. buy now, learn more, etc.
  • utm_term: Used for paid search keywords, don’t use for social traffic.

When should you use UTM parameters?

Email Campaigns

Since Referrer doesn’t work in email client services (like Gmail app for example), it is worth using UTM parameters to track your email performance. Also, for a better understanding of how your email works, you can use different UTM codes to track performance of different CTAs in the email.

Social Media Campaigns

Social is another great channel to use the UTM codes. It allows you to track not only performance of a specific social media channel but also lets you track performance of specific post types.

Paid Advertising Campaigns

Using UTM codes will help you see performance of your paid campaigns in Google Analytics and compare it against other paid campaigns in much greater detail.

Note: Google Adwords can be linked to your Google Analytics and therefore the performance data will be automatically visible in GA too.

Affiliate Marketing Campaigns

If you have other people or businesses promoting your services, you can give them a unique UTM code to track performance of their channels.

Where can you find how a specific campaign performed

This information can be easily found in Google Analytics. You can track it in the campaigns performance:

Acquisition > Campaign > All Campaigns

Or Source & Medium traffic:

Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium

UTM Parameters best practices

  1. Be consistent all across your campaigns to avoid confusion.
  2. Set on a naming convention that works – dashes/underscores, case (capitalised or lower case) – Google Analytics are case sensitive too.
  3. Avoid repeating terms in different UTM parameters.
  4. Keep a track of your UTM codes in a spreadsheet, here’s an example you could copy and use.

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