Digital Marketing Trends


google analytics

Google Analytics: How Do I Use UTM Tags?

Are your customers responding well to your email blasts OR How can you measure the success of your online marketing campaigns?

The answer: Google Analytics UTM Tags.  These UTM tags or “Urchin Tracking Modules” are necessary for tracking individual marketing campaigns, via the different values you assign them.  It can be a challenge to track and measure the success of an email campaign or other online promotion and identify which recipients followed your “instructions”, especially if you are running several at once or your campaigns are across different mediums.

Example: You create an email blast to promote your new website and mail it out to a few hundred people.  How do you measure its success?  Who’s clicking your email link and who’s simply a new visitor to your site?  That’s where the Google Analytic UTM Tags come in to play.  UTM tags allow you to add specific extra information at the end of a link and then view this information later as a report in “Traffic Sources”.  You’ll be able to see who followed the link on your email blast and measure the success of your campaign.  It’s also effective for ePostcards, banner adds, and other online mediums.  You’ll need to create a landing page for your campaign, then add UTM Tags to that URL.

Here’s an example of a link with UTM Tags Added: &utm_medium=Mailer&utm_campaign=Product

Let’s discuss the required UTM values:

Utm_Source indicates the search engine, email list or domain that is the source of the link.

Utm_medium is what medium you’ve chosen for your campaign, examples being postcards, banner ads, email blasts, etc…

Utm_campaign is the unique name you give your campaign, such as “Fall_Specials” or “Winter_Sale”.

To create your new link, add a “?” to the end of the URL you want to track.  Then, add on the other UTM values with “&” between each term.  Google Analytics has a UTM URL builder to walk you through this process.

Viewing Your UTM Tag Results:

After you’ve added UTM tags to your links and promoted them, set up a PPC campaign, or emailed them to potential customers, you can log into Google Analytics and view your results.  Keep in mind that it may take Google Analytics a few hours to collect the data.

Click on “Traffic Sources” and then view “All Traffic Sources”.  Locate your URLs with UTM values, filtering by report information if your website is traffic-heavy.  You’ll then be able to see how many individuals clicked a specific link.

Google Analytics UTM tags are a great way to measure the success of an online marketing campaign by allowing you to create unique links.  You’re not limited in any way the medium you distribute these links, be it email, banners, ads, and even marketing campaigns that run offline.

If you have any questions about Google Analytics UTM tags, we’d be happy to answer them.

8 Comments. Leave new

  • What’s the difference between UTM and events tracking? Can I use events tracking to track outbound links? How about redirects?

  • ericaronchetti
    April 19, 2010 10:15 am

    Thanks for your question, George.

    Event tracking tracks visitor actions that don’t correspond directly to pageviews, whereas UTM uses redirects to track campaign performance and referrals traffic.

    Event tracking will not alter your pageview count. This makes it the preferred method for tracking a variety of visitor actions:

    Downloads of a PDF or file
    Interaction with dynamic, AJAX sites
    Interaction with Adobe Flash objects, embedded videos and other media
    Any Flash-driven element, like a Flash website, or a Flash Movie player
    Page gadgets
    Load times for data

    Read more about event tracking:

    UTM tags are used to evaluate a campaign’s response level, e.g. an email newsletter, coupon, flier, e-postcard, by use of 301 redirects.

    Normally, event tracking can not be used to track outbound links.

    To track redirects, we’ve used cross domain tracking.

    Learn more about cross domain tracking:

  • Great post! GA offers a URL builder for this exact purpose. It’s also helpful to create a “cheat sheet”/how-to guide for your 3rd party agencies and internal development teams.

  • I am trying to use to auto feed my twitter page. TwitterFeed has options for UTM tags. I have a Google Analytics account. But when I log in I do not see a “Traffic Sources” button, link or option.

    I can “create an account” but that asks just for the web site, when I tried to enter a URL with UTM tags i receive an errors messgae that the URL is invalid.

    In Google Analytics how to I setup tracking since the “Traffic Sources” is not there?

  • Where do you find the results of your campaign in Urchin?

  • Thanks for you post Erica. I have set up UTM tracking on all our banner ads and though I do see the campaigns I’m tracking in the Campaign section under Traffic Sources it doesn’t separate it according to campaign source. I have also looked under All Traffic Sources and can’t find any of my URLs with the UTM tags on them. Any advice? Was I supposed to set up a report somewhere? Any help you could give me would be much appreciated. Thanks.

  • Actually I figured it out. If you go to Traffic Sources, Campaigns and then change the dropdown to “campaign,” it lists everything out. Thanks again for your post!

  • Thanks on this article, I really like the way you laid all the information. It is well written and very informative.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.