Edinburgh Web Development

Track your links with UTM tags

Checking marketing campaign effectiveness

by Iain Wilson

19 April 2013
google analytics

If there is one thing that marketing people agree on, it is measurement of results.  Not everyone does it, of course, but they all agree it is important!

In web marketing, it really is important to know where traffic to your website is coming from so you can decide which online/offline strategies are working and which aren't.

Where's that web traffic coming from? 

If your web development company has set it up for you, Google Analytics has a heap of information that will help you work out which pages are popular, what search terms people are using to find you, the length of time people stay on your site, their page route through your site, and so on.

What it can also do is tell you how much traffic is coming to your website due to a particular campaign or from a particular source.  For example you might want to know if traffic has come from

  • A marketing campaign such as a Free Trial
  • Social networking posts - Twitter, Facebook, Google etc
  • A direct mail drop advertising a product or service
  • A paid advert or sponsorship on someone else's site

Well you can - by using UTM tagging of your campaign links.  A UTM tag is simply a little bit of coded information that is added on to the end of the link you create for your campaign.  It's simple and straightforward.

Setting up the tagging

For example, let's say you were going to post an entry on Facebook that contained a link to your Products page on your website and a picture of the product.  If your product's page link address was

http://www.yoursite.com/product.php

you could add UTM tags to indicate that it was coming from Facebook by changing it to 

http://www.yoursite/product.php?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=pic&utm_campaign=summer

 Now when you post the link on Facebook, Google Analytics will record the source as 'facebook', medium as 'pic' and campaign as 'summer'.  Note the use of the ampersands to separate the tags.

Google recommends you should use the following tags at a minimum

  • utm_source
  • utm_medium
  • utm_campaign

and their generator tool will only work if you use this minimum.  Testing we have done indicate it doesn't even record unless you have at least these three.

Do the same on with the other places that you post, but change the tags appropriately, and you will be able to see which sources worked best for driving traffic.  

To view the stats in Analytics, just go to Traffic Sources, then use Primary and Secondary to choose and filter your tracking results.

In addition to the tags above, you can also add tags for a variety of other uses including A/B split testing, all of which give you more measurement of what works, and what doesn't.

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