While their use has been around for quite some time, I’ve found that many marketers are confused about how they should be leveraging UTM parameters to track their digital efforts. UTM parameters are tags added to the end of a URL that will allow marketers to obtain data from different marketing campaigns. The tagged UTM data can be captured in various systems such as website analytics, marketing automation and CRM platforms for reporting and analysis. This is important information that can then be used to assess the effectiveness of various digital marketing initiatives.
There are five primary UTM tags:
You should always use utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign; utm_term and utm_content are optional.
In addition, there are two UTM tags that are generally leveraged for Google AdWords tracking (although their use is not restricted to Google AdWords):
In order for UTM parameters to be effective for our clients, we recommend adhering to Google’s defined tagging to ensure Google Analytics properly records and segments the data. This is especially true for utm_medium which impacts Google Analytics Channel reporting.
The following is an overview of utm_medium tags and their Channel alignment in Google Analytics:
|Direct||Source exactly matches direct AND
Medium exactly matches (not set)
Medium exactly matches (none)
|Organic Search||Medium exactly matches organic|
|Social||Social Source Referral exactly matches Yes
Medium matches regex ^(social|social-network|social-media|sm|social network|social media)$
|Medium exactly matches email|
|Affiliates||Medium exactly matches affiliate|
|Referral||Medium exactly matches referral|
|Paid Search||Medium matches regex ^(cpc|ppc|paidsearch)$
Ad Distribution Network does not exactly match Content
|Other Advertising||Medium matches regex ^(cpv|cpa|cpp|content-text)$|
|Display||Medium matches regex ^(display|cpm|banner)$
Ad Distribution Network exactly matches Content
The following are a few tips to ensure your UTM deployment is successful:
Once you create and deploy a consistent framework for UTM tagging there will be a lot more detail available in your reporting. You will be able to evaluate individual marketing campaigns and efforts to determine their impact on your goals and business. This will give you solid data about what is most (and least) effective in your marketing strategy and allow for the successful evolution of your campaigns.
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