What is utm tagging
Google Analytics is a great tool for looking at your website’s statistics. Google Analytics does a lot of automated performance tracking for you. It tells you where the traffic comes from (what is the source) and where (what pages) your visitors have spend their time. However, sometimes these statistics are not quite detailed enough to provide us with good insights. The numbers may tell you that you are getting a lot of traffic from Facebook, but it does not tell if it is a general link or a post from your Facebook page. More specifically, it does not tell you which post on your Facebook page is generating the traffic. This is where utm tagging comes in.
With utm tags -often referred to as utm codes- you can add additional parameters to urls/links that can be seen in Google Analytics. Thus, you specify names to certain campaigns or links in order to see the performance of these campaigns/links in Analytics.
To give you an example. Say we want to track the performance of the promotion of this specific article. We can post it on Facebook and Twitter and link to the url of this page, which is: http://sideshoreonline.com.au/google-analytics/utm-parameters/
Now in Google Analytics, we will be able to see the performance of Facebook and Twitter under the Medium ‘referrals’ and under the Channel Group ‘Social’. Google is smart enough to do this automatically. However, we won’t be able to see what this exact post has brought us. Especially since we may have more than 1 post on Facebook or Twitter per day.
This is where utm codes come in. We can specify extra tracking parameters that will be picked up by Google Analytics that will give us more insight in the performance of this particular post.
The url with tracking parameters could be something like:
The original url is depicted in blue, and the utm parameters are shown in orange. All the information that we have added in the parameters, will now be available in Google Analytics. Thus will we be able to see how many people on Facebook have clicked on the content ‘utm-tagging’.
utm tagging and newsletters
Another example would be the use of utm tags in newsletters. Digital newsletters are usually send out on a regular basis and you can actually track the performance of each link in that newsletter. An example of setting up utm parameters for a newsletter:
Available utm parameters
In total there are five utm parameters that can be used to populate an url.
Source: location where the traffic is going to come from. This is usually the referrer (Google, Facebook, Newsletter)
Medium: the medium that is used to share the links (social media, email, display, cpc, banner, display)
Campaign: the marketing campaign that you are running (20percentdiscount, blog-post, autumn-sale, product, slogan)
Content: this can be used to further differentiate between ads (logo link, text link, side bar, header link)
Term: this can be used to populate search terms (keywords) in ppc advertising. It identifies the paid keywords.
It is always good to think about how you are going to set up, use and structure your parameters. Think ahead about the possible media sources you are going to use and different types of campaigns you may to be running.
Using the Google URL builder
You can use the Google URL builder to generate custom parameters to track the performance of your campaigns. This url builder is simple tool where you can specify the desired um parameters. This little Google tool will then create a link for you that contains all relevant utm codes. It is easy to use, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll just as easily add the utm parameters to urls yourself.