What are UTM parameters?
UTM parameters are short pieces of text that are added to the end of a URL in an ad. These parameters send data to Google Analytics that tells you more about where the ad came from, what the content was and what marketing campaign it was a part of.
Why do we need them?
Simply put, UTM’s tell us exactly where your website traffic is coming from. The out of the box source tracking that is offered in Google Analytics (GA) is not enough if you are running any kind of paid media or campaign-specific tactics. While GA will break down your source traffic natively, you should use UTM’s to refine and separate your organic traffic from paid. Adding UTM’s to your campaigns will give you more insight and allow you to make better decisions with your data.
Our free UTM parameter template allows you to easily generate UTM links to use with your ads while keeping track of everything in one place.
What are the 5 UTM parameters?
utm_source: Identifies which site/partner sent the traffic
utm_medium: Identifies the overarching type of media
utm_campaign: Identifies a specific promotion or strategic campaign effort
utm_content: Name of the ad/creative that was clicked on. Great for A/B testing.
utm_term: Helps you identify the keywords that drove clicks, although if you are using auto-tagging with Google Ads, this one might not be necessary.
In this example below from one of our recent paid social campaigns, you can see how we included 4 UTM codes so our team knows exactly what ads are driving traffic and web engagement.
This was the destination URL for this ad:
How do I create UTM parameters?
- Check out our UTM builder here. To use this template, you’ll want to make a copy; go to “File” then “Make a copy.”
- Figure out a naming convention and stick with it. Consistency is important so that your data is easier to read. Other people on your team should be able to interpret the data in GA, even if they didn’t set up the UTM’s themselves.
- Once your ads go live, check the Acquisition report in Google Analytics. You should start seeing the traffic that you tagged in here, depending upon how you’ve named your parameters.
Our UTM template is a starting point for you and your team to start tracking your paid traffic. Find a naming convention that works for you and remain consistent, that’s the key. Do this and you will be able to track the success of your campaigns. Of course, if you need any help along the way, feel free to drop us a line.
Dave is Manager, Search & Analytics at RDW. Fascinated by the way buyers make purchase decisions, you’ll usually find him optimizing a PPC campaign, researching keywords or trying to keep up with the latest Google trends. If not that, he’s probably out on the water or up in the mountains depending on the season.