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How to Track Campaigns in Google Analytics Using UTM URLs

Tracking Campaigns in Google Analytics Using UTM URLs

One of my favorite—yet underused—website tracking tools is the UTM URL from Google.

What are UTM URLs?

A UTM* URL is Google’s way of attributing custom sourcing information to website traffic. In other words, understanding where website traffic is coming from based on parameters you choose.

It’s basically a string added on the end of any URL. For example:

UTM URL Example

Each URL string has three required parameters:

  • Campaign
  • Medium
  • Source

Why should you use UTM URLs?

Data from the UTM URLs can help you make strategic decisions about your marketing efforts.

For example, we track our social media advertising. After a few months, we found that traffic from LinkedIn ads wasn’t staying and wasn’t converting, so we redirected that advertising money elsewhere.

Understanding exactly where your website traffic comes from and what users do once they get there provides insight that makes marketing decisions easier.

How do you create UTM URLs?

You create the UTM string using Google’s fancy UTM URL builder. Simply input your URL and the required custom parameters into the form and click “Generate URL.”

CREATE ONE NOW

You and your team determine these parameters. It’s important to remain consistent for the best results. If you vary in your use of abbreviation or capitalization, your data will be tracked separately.

We use a spreadsheet to ensure the whole team uses them consistently. Here’s a sampling of our standard UTM parameters:

Campaign

Medium

Source

Social Organic

Social

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Blog

Social

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+

Email

RSS

Social Ad

CPC

Facebook

Twitter

LinkedIn

Google+


If you have promotions and sales, UTM URLs are a great way to track the performance of each. For example:

Campaign

Medium

Source

Fathers Day

Email

Version1

Version2

Social

FacebookAd

FacebookOrganic

July 4

Email

With Photo

 

 

No Photo

 

Social

Twitter

 

 

Facebook


Where do you share UTM URLs?

You can use a UTM URL anywhere you can share a link.

Any time we link to the Far Reach website publicly—i.e., social media and email—we use a UTM URL. It helps us understand where traffic is coming from, how different audiences are using our site, and which traffic sources are meeting our goals.

Far Reach UTM URL Example For Facebook

You use the UTM URL just like you’d use any other URL. If you don’t like the aesthetics of the long URL, you can use a shortener like
bit.ly or goo.gl. We do this on Twitter.

How do you see UTM URL results?

Data from the UTM URLS shows in Google Analytics under Acquisition < Campaigns < All Campaigns.

Campaigns in Google Analytics

Here you can see important analytics broken down by campaign, source, or medium. You can compare how each parameter performs in terms of:

  • Sessions
  • New users
  • Pages per session
  • Time on site
  • Goal completions

UTM Google Analytics Campaigns

UTM URLs can be intimidating.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.

*For you curious folks, UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module.”

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