Let’s review what UTM tags are and why online businesses use them. In essence, UTM tags (UTM Codes) are link modifiers that add analytics information to your URLs. They don’t change where you go.

All they do is allow you to collect stats when running your own tracking or javascript is prohibitive. Email or paid ads anyone?

You can post a link with UTM tags in a Facebook group and have different tags for another link in an email newsletter. From here you’ll be able to track people that clicked the link and how they interacted with your website or other destination.

When you’re trying to track ROI or just regular outreach efforts, this is an amazing tool to show your boss or client.

Using UTM Tags Correctly

If you use different UTM tags in simple terms, your performance by source and medium will be easily measured. Besides the campaign name, the medium and source are the most important tags you can add. According to Google’s Analytics Support page on this topic:

  • Medium refers to the general category of the source. So this could be how they get to you by organic search, referrals, or paid search.
  • Source refers to the origin of your traffic. So this could be where they come to you from Google search, a Facebook page, or the name of your newsletter segment.

The goal is to match up mediums and sources without going crazy. Just because you can collect information doesn’t mean you always should.

If you over do it, your reports will get very hard to read. After all, what’s the point of going through the trouble of collecting information that you can’t easily make use of.

Usable UTM Tags

Campaign NameMediumSourceCampaign TermCampaign Content
utm_campaign=utm_medium=utm_source=utm_term=utm_content=
Required, name of the campaign you want to track. Used for keyword analysis, specific product promotion, or strategic campaign.Recommended, Organic search, Paid search (CPC), Email, etc.Recommended, Social Media, Email Service Provider, Search Engines, Newsletter Names, Websites, etc.Used for paid search. Use this to note the keywords for this ad. Can also be a phase within the campaign.Used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. This differentiates ads or links that point to the same URL.

When starting out, I would recommend you just stick with the first 3, unless you have a need to use all 5 major UTM tags.

UTM Tag Example

Let’s look at an example by one of my favorite content creators, Pat Flynn.

In this example, he’s tracking sales of his course 1.2.3 Affiliate Marketing. The UTM tag section starts with a question mark (?) and each tag is separated by an ampersand (&) since that’s how you append UTM tags. Once you see this you can almost read the whole thing like a sentence.

https://pages.smartpassiveincome.com/123am-2018-05-replay/?utm_source=convertkit&utm_medium=email&utm_term=in-case-you-missed-the-download&utm_content=ck-campaign-1286958&utm_campaign=123-affiliate-marketing

Pat Flynn’s UTM example for a webinar selling his course

Example UTM Breakdown

  • Website: https://pages.smartpassiveincome.com
  • URL Slug: 123am-2018-05-replay
  • Campaign Name: 123-affiliate-marketing
  • Medium: email
  • Source: convertkit
  • Campaign Term: in-case-you-missed-the-download
  • Campaign Content: ck-campaign-1286958

Secondary UTM Example

Check out this website link in Ramit Sethi’s Facebook page (in About section):

http://iwillteachyoutoberich.com/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=facebook-bio-link

Ramit Sethi’s UTM example from Facebook linking to his website

It’s interesting to use these tags within your own stuff and without a product.

UTM Tag Generators

I get it. Not everyone likes to nerd it up and type up their own UTM tags. Here are 2 of the most popular UTM generators:

  • Google Analytics people can head over to Google’s Campaign URL Builder.
  • HubSpot people can head over to Reports > Reports Home > Tracking URL Builder > Create New Tracking URL after you already have a campaign created.

Conclusion

The full benefits of using UTM tags probably won’t be apparent without actually using them. I recommend give them a whirl no matter which analytics suite you’re using.

Let me know what other thoughts you have on UTM tags in the comments below.

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