Back to blog

Understanding the basics of UTM tags

May 11, 2023 | Teemu Raitaluoto
a price tag in flat illustration style with gradients and white background

Are you tired of losing track of where your website traffic is coming from? Do you want to know which marketing campaigns are driving the most conversions for your business? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you need to understand the basics of UTM tags.

UTM tags are simple code snippets that you add to your website's URLs. They allow you to track the performance of your online marketing campaigns and understand which channels are driving traffic and conversions to your website. With UTM tags, you can get a clearer picture of your website's analytics and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

In this article, we'll dive into the world of UTM tags and explain what they are, why they're important, and how to use them to track your online marketing efforts. Whether you're a marketer, a business owner, or just someone looking to gain a better understanding of website analytics, this guide will provide you with the knowledge you need to make the most of UTM tags.

What are UTM tags and how do they work?

UTM tags, or Urchin Tracking Module tags, are small snippets of code that you add to the end of your website's URLs. These tags help you track the performance of your online marketing campaigns and understand where your website traffic is coming from.

Here's how UTM tags work:

  1. You create a unique UTM tag for each marketing campaign that you run. This tag includes information such as the source of the traffic (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.), the specific campaign (e.g. newsletter, social media, etc.), and any other relevant details.

  2. You add the UTM tag to the end of your website's URLs. For example, if you're running a social media campaign on Facebook, you would add the UTM tag to the end of your website's URL when you create a Facebook post.

  3. When someone clicks on one of your links with a UTM tag, the information contained in the tag is sent to your website analytics platform (such as Google Analytics). This allows you to track how many clicks each campaign is generating and how those clicks are converting into actual website visits.

  4. You can then use the data collected from your UTM tags to understand which campaigns are working best for you and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

In short, UTM tags are a simple and effective way to track the performance of your online marketing campaigns and make more informed decisions about your marketing efforts.

Personalize every website interaction
Try for free

The benefits of using UTM tags

UTM tags are a valuable tool for marketers and businesses looking to understand their website's analytics and track the success of their online marketing campaigns. Here are some of the key benefits of using UTM tags:

  1. Better campaign tracking: UTM tags allow you to track the performance of each marketing campaign that you run, giving you a clear picture of which campaigns are driving traffic and conversions to your website.

  2. Improved ROI measurement: By tracking the performance of your marketing campaigns, UTM tags allow you to measure the ROI for each campaign and understand which campaigns are providing the best results for your business.

  3. Data-driven decision making: With accurate campaign tracking data, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies and allocate your resources more effectively.

  4. Increased transparency: UTM tags provide a clear and transparent view of your website's analytics, allowing you to see exactly where your website traffic is coming from and how it's performing.

  5. Easy integration with analytics platforms: UTM tags can be easily integrated with analytics platforms like Google Analytics, giving you access to a wealth of data and insights about your website's performance.

In short, UTM tags are a simple but powerful tool that can help you better understand your website's analytics, track the success of your online marketing campaigns, and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

How to create UTM tags

Creating UTM tags is a simple process that can be done in a few steps. Here's how to create UTM tags:

  1. Determine the information you want to track: Before you create your UTM tags, you need to decide what information you want to track. This typically includes the source of the traffic (e.g. Facebook, Google, etc.), the specific campaign (e.g. newsletter, social media, etc.), and any other relevant details.

  2. Use a UTM tag generator: There are many online UTM tag generators available that make it easy to create your tags. Simply enter the information you want to track and the generator will create the UTM tag for you.

  3. Add the UTM tag to your website's URLs: Once you have your UTM tags, you need to add them to the end of your website's URLs. For example, if you're running a social media campaign on Facebook, you would add the UTM tag to the end of your website's URL when you create a Facebook post.

  4. Test your UTM tags: Before you start using your UTM tags, it's a good idea to test them to make sure they're working correctly. You can do this by clicking on one of your links with a UTM tag and checking your website analytics platform to see if the information is being recorded correctly.

In short, creating UTM tags is a straightforward process that can be done in a few simple steps. With UTM tags, you can track the performance of your online marketing campaigns and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

Common UTM parameters and their use cases

UTM tags are made up of different parameters that define the information you want to track. Here are some of the most common UTM parameters and their use cases:

  1. Source (utm_source): The source parameter is used to identify the platform or website that is sending the traffic to your website. Examples of sources include "Facebook", "Google", "Twitter", etc.

  2. Medium (utm_medium): The medium parameter is used to identify the type of marketing campaign that is sending the traffic. Examples of mediums include "email", "social media", "paid search", etc.

  3. Campaign (utm_campaign): The campaign parameter is used to identify the specific campaign that is sending the traffic. For example, you might have a campaign called "February Newsletter" or "Summer Sale".

  4. Term (utm_term): The term parameter is used to identify the keywords that are associated with a paid search campaign.

  5. Content (utm_content): The content parameter is used to differentiate between different versions of a campaign or to track specific links within a campaign. For example, you might use the content parameter to differentiate between two versions of a newsletter or to track the performance of different links within a social media post.

By using these parameters, you can get a clear picture of the performance of each of your marketing campaigns and understand which channels are driving the most traffic and conversions to your website.

In short, UTM parameters are an essential component of UTM tags and provide a wealth of information about your website's analytics and the performance of your marketing campaigns.

Best practices for UTM tag implementation

Implementing UTM tags correctly is key to getting the most out of your website's analytics and tracking the success of your online marketing campaigns. Here are some best practices for UTM tag implementation:

  1. Make your tags descriptive and meaningful: Use clear and descriptive names for your UTM tags to make it easier to understand the information they're tracking. For example, instead of using "utm_c1", use "utm_newsletter_february".

  2. Use a consistent naming convention: Establish a consistent naming convention for your UTM tags to make it easier to track and analyze the data. For example, you might use a naming convention like "utm_medium_campaignname".

  3. Use UTM tags for all of your campaigns: To get the most out of your UTM tags, use them for all of your marketing campaigns, not just a select few.

  4. Test your tags: Before you start using your UTM tags, it's a good idea to test them to make sure they're working correctly. You can do this by clicking on one of your links with a UTM tag and checking your website analytics platform to see if the information is being recorded correctly.

  5. Keep your tags up-to-date: Regularly review and update your UTM tags to ensure that they're providing accurate and up-to-date information.

  6. Use a spreadsheet or document to keep track of your UTM tags: To make it easier to manage your UTM tags, use a spreadsheet or document to keep track of the information they're tracking and the tags you've created.

In short, following these best practices can help you get the most out of your UTM tags and make it easier to track the success of your online marketing campaigns.

Integrating UTM tags with Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a powerful tool for tracking and analyzing your website's analytics, and integrating it with UTM tags can provide even more insight into your website's performance. Here's how to integrate UTM tags with Google Analytics:

  1. Install Google Analytics on your website: To integrate UTM tags with Google Analytics, you first need to have Google Analytics installed on your website. You can do this by adding the Google Analytics tracking code to your website's HTML.

  2. Create UTM tags: Next, you need to create your UTM tags as described in previous answers.

  3. Track your campaigns: When you create a new marketing campaign, add the appropriate UTM tags to the end of your website's URLs. When someone clicks on one of your links with a UTM tag, the information contained in the tag will be sent to Google Analytics.

  4. Analyze the data: You can then log into your Google Analytics account to see how your campaigns are performing. You can view information such as the number of clicks, the number of conversions, and the bounce rate for each campaign.

  5. Create custom reports: You can also create custom reports in Google Analytics that allow you to see the performance of your campaigns over time and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

In short, integrating UTM tags with Google Analytics is a simple process that can provide you with a wealth of information about your website's performance and the success of your online marketing campaigns.

Measuring the success of your marketing campaigns using UTM tags

UTM tags allow you to track the performance of your online marketing campaigns and understand which campaigns are driving traffic and conversions to your website. By measuring the success of your marketing campaigns using UTM tags, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies and allocate your resources more effectively.

Here's how to measure the success of your marketing campaigns using UTM tags:

  1. Add UTM tags to your campaigns: To measure the success of your marketing campaigns, you need to add UTM tags to the end of your website's URLs for each campaign.

  2. Track your website's analytics: When someone clicks on one of your links with a UTM tag, the information contained in the tag is sent to your website analytics platform (such as Google Analytics). This allows you to track the number of clicks, the number of conversions, and other important metrics for each campaign.

  3. Analyze the data: You can then log into your website analytics platform to see how your campaigns are performing. You can view information such as the number of clicks, the number of conversions, and the bounce rate for each campaign.

  4. Compare campaign performance: By comparing the performance of your different campaigns, you can see which campaigns are driving the most traffic and conversions and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

  5. Make data-driven decisions: With the information you gather from your UTM tags, you can make data-driven decisions about your marketing strategies and allocate your resources more effectively.

In short, measuring the success of your marketing campaigns using UTM tags is a simple and effective way to get a clear picture of your website's analytics and make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

Common mistakes to avoid when using UTM tags

UTM tags are a powerful tool for tracking the performance of your online marketing campaigns, but they can also be easy to misuse. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when using UTM tags:

  1. Not using UTM tags consistently: To get the most out of your UTM tags, you need to use them consistently for all of your marketing campaigns. Not using UTM tags for all of your campaigns can result in incomplete or inaccurate data.

  2. Using generic or vague UTM tag names: Use clear and descriptive names for your UTM tags to make it easier to understand the information they're tracking. Using generic or vague names like "utm_c1" can make it difficult to understand the data and make informed decisions about your marketing strategies.

  3. Not testing your UTM tags: Before you start using your UTM tags, it's a good idea to test them to make sure they're working correctly. Failing to test your UTM tags can result in incorrect data and a false understanding of your website's performance.

  4. Not regularly reviewing and updating your UTM tags: UTM tags should be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure that they're providing accurate and up-to-date information. Failing to do this can result in outdated data and a false understanding of your website's performance.

  5. Not using UTM tags in conjunction with other analytics tools: UTM tags are just one tool in your analytics arsenal. To get the most out of your data, use UTM tags in conjunction with other analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and heat mapping tools.

In short, by avoiding these common mistakes, you can make the most of your UTM tags and get a clear picture of your website's performance and the success of your online marketing campaigns.

Advanced UTM tag usage and tips

Once you have a solid understanding of the basics of UTM tags, there are several advanced techniques you can use to get even more out of your website's analytics. Here are some advanced UTM tag usage tips:

  1. Use UTM tags to track specific pages: You can use UTM tags to track specific pages on your website, such as your product pages or landing pages. This can help you understand which pages are performing well and which pages need improvement.

  2. Use UTM tags to track the success of A/B tests: UTM tags can be used to track the success of A/B tests, allowing you to compare the performance of different versions of a page or campaign.

  3. Use UTM tags to track offline campaigns: UTM tags can also be used to track offline campaigns, such as direct mail campaigns or events. By adding a unique UTM tag to each offline campaign, you can track the performance of your offline campaigns in the same way you would track your online campaigns.

  4. Use UTM tags to track the success of retargeting campaigns: Retargeting campaigns can be difficult to track, but UTM tags can help. By adding a unique UTM tag to each retargeting campaign, you can track the performance of your retargeting campaigns and see which campaigns are providing the best results.

  5. Use UTM tags to track the success of email campaigns: UTM tags can also be used to track the success of email campaigns. By adding a unique UTM tag to each email campaign, you can track the performance of your email campaigns and see which campaigns are providing the best results.

In short, there are many advanced techniques you can use with UTM tags to get even more out of your website's analytics and track the success of your online marketing campaigns. By using these tips, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing strategies and allocate your resources more effectively.

UTM tag case studies and real-world examples

UTM tags are a powerful tool for tracking the performance of online marketing campaigns, and there are many real-world examples of businesses using UTM tags to get insights into their website's analytics and improve their marketing strategies. Here are a few UTM tag case studies and real-world examples:

  1. E-commerce website tracking: An e-commerce website used UTM tags to track the success of their email marketing campaigns. By adding unique UTM tags to each email campaign, the website was able to see which campaigns were driving the most traffic and conversions, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their email marketing strategies.

  2. Social media campaign tracking: A business used UTM tags to track the success of their social media campaigns. By adding unique UTM tags to each social media post, the business was able to see which posts were driving the most traffic and conversions, allowing them to make more informed decisions about their social media strategies.

  3. Tracking offline campaigns: A business used UTM tags to track the success of their offline campaigns, such as direct mail campaigns and events. By adding unique UTM tags to each offline campaign, the business was able to track the performance of their offline campaigns in the same way they would track their online campaigns.

  4. A/B testing tracking: A business used UTM tags to track the success of their A/B tests. By adding unique UTM tags to each version of their landing pages, the business was able to compare the performance of each page and make more informed decisions about their website design.

These case studies and real-world examples show how UTM tags can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to get insights into their website's analytics and improve their marketing strategies. By using UTM tags, businesses can make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies and allocate their resources more effectively.

Over to you

UTM tags are an essential tool for tracking the performance of online marketing campaigns and understanding which campaigns are driving traffic and conversions to a website. UTM tags are made up of different parameters, including the source of the traffic, the type of marketing campaign, and specific details about the campaign. To create UTM tags, you can use a UTM tag generator and add the tags to the end of your website's URLs. UTM tags can be integrated with Google Analytics to provide even more insights into website performance.

When using UTM tags, it's important to avoid common mistakes, such as not using UTM tags consistently or using generic or vague UTM tag names. There are also advanced techniques and real-world examples of businesses using UTM tags to track the success of their campaigns and make more informed decisions about their marketing strategies. In short, UTM tags are a powerful tool for getting insights into your website's analytics and improving your online marketing strategies.

Want to use UTM tags to personalize your website for different campaigns? Try Markettailor for free.


Related posts

The Impact of UTM Tagging on Search Engine Optimization

When it comes to optimizing your website for search engines, there are a lot of things to consider. From keyword research and backlinks, to content creation and site architecture, the list can seem overwhelming. But one aspect that often gets overlooked is UTM tagging. If you're not familiar with...

Read more

The Impact of UTM Tagging on Search Engine Rankings

As digital marketers, we're always looking for ways to improve our website's search engine rankings. One of the methods that we can use to boost our rankings is UTM tagging. But what exactly is UTM tagging and how does it impact search engine rankings? In this article, we'll dive into the world of...

Read more