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We are all naturally inclined towards tracking the growth of anything with the potential to grow. The main drawback, though, is the hurdle of physical tracking in most realms. What if we told you that tracking the growth and journey of your online digital marketing and business is possible? Yes. We are talking about UTMs in Google analytics.

The following article will cover everything you need to know about tracking in Google Analytics using the powerful parameter tool, UTMs. Make sure to also check out how to track unique visitors in Google Analytics alongside the UTMs.

What exactly are UTMs?

The full abbreviation of UTM is Urchin Traffic Monitor. You add these small parameters to your website URL, which in turn acts as a powerful tool. The central role of UTMs is to track the data of external traffic of visitors to a website. 

By external traffic, it means the number of new visitors to your website. UTMs precisely track those visitors that click and visit your website link – either organically or by reference. 

UTMs generate information based on the segregation of the different platforms for the discovery of your website. For example, it gives information on the source of discovery to your website via Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc. 

How are UTMs the modern version of customer tracking?

Customer background tracking has been prevalent even before the advent of digital platforms for businesses. The execution was in the form of handout leaflets for surveys or a set of questionnaires in the subscription forms. 

Tracking your customer’s journey or potential client behind the screens seems almost impossible in the digital world. It is where UTMs come to the rescue. 

Computer showing an analytics screen

Tracking UTM Parameters in Google Analytics

You need to understand the proper UTM parameters before activating it. Therefore, here is a brief explanation of the terminologies and functionalities of the different UTM parameters in Google Analytics.

The tracking parameters of UTM comprises of five major components –

Purpose (utm_campaign)It denotes the purpose of tracking the traffic of a product/service provided by your website. The tagging code is utm_campaign, while the report from Google analytics shows it as a campaign.

Brand (utm_source)

The UTM tagging code utm_source indicates the source of the traffic to your website from a brand. Here, the “brand” stands for those potential sources of viewer base that convert into audience traffic. Examples of which are Facebook, Linked In, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.

Type (utm_medium)

Under the parameter of “Type” with the tagging code is utm_medium. The parameter that differentiates the different types of viewer traffic falls under this category. The three most common types are –

  • Organic – manual searches of your website by an audience using a search engine.
  • CPC – costs per click for paid ads.
  • Email – the links sent across through email newsletters.
  • Shares –link sharing through social media as references. 

Headline/subject (utm_term/keyword)

Although optional, this parameter also plays an important role in understanding the impact of the right keyword. Headline/subject runs in UTM using the tag utm_term/utm_keyword. It includes the tag line/headline/keywords used in a campaign or the subject line used in an email share campaign.

When Google analytics generates a report, it clarifies the paid, manual, or organic keyword search.

Details (utm_content)

The UTM parameter of details of a campaign uses the code utm_content. It is also an optional parameter, although very crucial if running several ads under one campaign. 

For example, you have a set of 4/5 different images/video ads for a particular campaign. Adding this tracking UTM parameter will allow you to gain insight into which image/video garnered more audience traffic & attention. 

Related Post:   How To Use Keywords In Content Writing

How to set up and track UTMs in Google analytics?

The primary function of Google analytics is to give you a detailed insight into the different online traffic sources to your website. However, you need to activate or set up the UTM in your Google analytics for it to be functional.

Setting up UTMs in Google Analytics –

  1. Using Google search engine, type the keyword “URL builder.”
  2. The first ad page under the banner “Campaign URL builder – Google Analytics Demos and Tools” is your source.
  3. That site is a toolbox extension provided by Google to help you set up UTMs. Clinking on will direct you to a homepage.
  4. An application type format will appear on the screen. You will have to fill up about six sections for setting up the UTM.
  • Website URL: Here, you will enter the link address to your website page.
  • Campaign Source: It refers to your preferred choice of referrer amongst social media apps – Facebook/ Instagram /Twitter/ newsletter, etc.
  • Campaign Medium: This one accounts for marketing mediums. E.g., CPC (costs per click), email marketing, banner, etc.
  • Campaign name: Here, you will have to enter your product name, one-liner slogans, or promo codes. E.g., Valentine’s gift under budget, mid-summer sale.
  • Campaign term: While adding your campaign term, it also includes the paid keywords.
  • Campaign content: Specifying the content type helps differentiate between different ads.

Tracking UTMs in Google Analytics –

After filling in with the credentials, Google will automatically generate a URL for your target campaign. The URL is no ordinary or regular type of URL. It is a designer URL that includes all essential elements, using the reference of your target entries. 

Once Google generates the URL, all you need to do is copy the link and test its functioning. To try, paste the link and enter a search on a new website search engine. It should direct and load the website page the same way as the original website page. Now, you can send this URL to target mediums as the website page.

As simple as that, the activation of UTM for your website is complete. You have to sit back and relax. The UTM parameters will now do the traffic tracking of audiences to your website. 

How to check if the activated tracking UTMs in Google Analytics is working?

After you have activated your UTM parameters, the next step is to share them across different social medial platforms. The next crucial step is to check if the UTM tracker is working. 

Steps to check activated tracking UTMs in Google Analytics –

  1. Go to your Google Analytics Home screen.
  2. Underneath that homepage, there is an option on the left-hand side menu bar under “Reports.” 
  3. Click on it, and you will come across a drop-down menu bar. Click on the first option for real-time reports. 
  4. Under real-time reports, you can view the results of traffic under different courses of action. It includes segregation based on an overall overview, location, traffic sources, content, events, and conversion.
  5. Quickly test the working of the UTM tag, click on the options bar “traffic sources.” If your UTM tag is working, it will instantly flash open a real-time report graph. It will show a detailed report of the different mediums you have chosen to run those UTM tracking in Google analytics.