When you place your website’s link elsewhere, and you want to measure the traffic originates from that link, you have to know how to do UTM tagging. Google’s campaign URL builder is a handy tool for this purpose, and I will show you how it’s done in just a minute. Let’s check out little background info first and then proceed by tagging your links.
As digital marketers, we usually execute a digital analytics measurement plan as a part of a digital strategy. Measuring digital marketing KPI’s and reporting them using a tool such as Google Analytics is vital. We have discussed in Google Analytics Main Functions & 5 Unique Uses, that one of the most important metrics is our website’s traffic channels. If we know where we acquire most of our traffic, we can optimize our efforts and reach our goals faster.
To check where our website traffic is originated, we often use the source/medium section in acquisition reports on Google Analytics. In most cases, GA can show you where your website visitors are coming from, but in some cases, it’s a best practice to use UTM tags and tag your links. This is especially the best way to measure the performance of custom campaigns such as email campaigns, digital advertising campaigns, or referrals. You can also go ahead and create UTM tags for your social media, Facebook, and Instagram profile links, posts, and stories.
How to do UTM tagging?
UTM is an abbreviation of the Urchin Tracking Module and refers to parameters that are used by digital analytics tools to identify different traffic sources. Below is an example that I created using the campaign URL builder, and often we refer this as a UTM code or link. I recommend you to start practicing as well right now, here is the link for URL campaign builder.
Here is a UTM that I created for my Facebook Ads campaign. Let’s say that I’m running a website traffic ad to one of my landing pages. I typed my URL. The source would be Facebook, and the medium is CPC. Then I typed a unique campaign so that I can recall it when I see it in my Google Analytics Acquisition reports.
When someone clicks on my Facebook ads, they land on my website, and because of the parameters, I should be able to pinpoint this traffic. To do that, in GA, I go to acquisition – all traffic – source/medium. After that, I add a second dimension and choose a campaign. When I do that, I can see the traffic originated from my tagged campaign.
Protip: The real reason why we do this, we want to see if our campaigns are successful. Once we locate the tagged campaign in Google Analytics, we can choose a conversion such as add to cart, form submit, or purchase! Now we can see the performance of our campaigns in Google Analytics much more accurately! This is the exact reason why we do UTM tagging.
Let me show you another more practical example. Let’s tag a couple of URLs for the links we use throughout social media.
UTM Tagging Example for Social Media Posts
I recently published a new article on Google Search Console Functions & Uses, and I want to share this in my social media channels. To measure which social channel works the best, I can use UTM tags before sharing. This way, I compare the performance of different social media channels. If I don’t tag them, there is still a chance that Google Analytics will automatically assign values, but I prefer tagging them.
Before posting my article on Facebook, I created a UTM tag, as shown in the above screenshot. I can do the same for all different social media channels and post types. All we need to do is changing the campaign medium and campaign name to its respected channel. Now let’s see how it looks on Google Analytics.
As you can see, this works like a charm. You can adjust this strategy according to your needs and use it wherever you need it. If your business is advanced in digital marketing, you would be creating a lot of UTMs. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to make a spreadsheet for your UTMs.
If you are a small business and you don’t run a new highly segmented campaign every day, you can create a generic UTM code for your Facebook and Instagram posts and use the same tag every other day. This is especially a good tactic if you are consulting for a client, and they don’t have the technical skills. You can create the UTM tags, and your client can use it every day when posting on social media.
I hope from now on, you can start creating your UTM tags and get a clearer picture of your custom campaigns in Google Analytics. Below is the explanation of the UTM parameters. Check them out if you think that would help you to familiarize yourself with them better.
There are four required fields to create your UTM tags: website URL, source, medium, and campaign name. Let’s check out these parameters and their uses.
utm_source: Identify the advertiser, site, publication, etc. that is sending traffic to your property, for example: google, newsletter4, billboard.
utm_medium: The advertising or marketing medium, for example, CPC, banner, email newsletter.
utm_campaign: The individual campaign name, slogan, promo code, etc. for a product.
utm_term: Identify the paid search keywords. If you’re manually tagging paid keyword campaigns, you should also use utm_term to specify the keyword.
utm_content: Used to differentiate similar content or links within the same ad. For example, if you have two call-to-action links within the same email message, you can use utm_content and set different values for each so you can tell which version is more effective.