Beginners Guide to Using UTM Parameters

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When it comes to your well-planned marketing efforts, being able to track your campaign success and relevant traffic is key for your business to learn and grow. This means that any tool that will allow you to track more competently is always going to be beneficial — and that’s where using UTM parameters come in.

What is UTM?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Urchin is the name of a software company which was previously acquired by Google, and built upon to become what businesses know as Google Analytics today. This means that UTM parameters and Google Analytics work hand in hand to deliver the best results for your business.

UTM parameters and coding are pieces of text which can be added to any link to allow Google to see more information regarding what the link is.

utm example

How UTM Works

UTM implementation means that Google can better understand the purpose of a link through more information being provided. This is good news if you’re trying to push certain links and information when marketing your business and driving keywords or landing pages, as using UTM means you can better track all the traffic which is gained through each and every link through using analytical tools.

Adding a UTM to a link is, therefore, simply a tag. This tag then sends analytical data to Google Analytics whenever the URL is used.

How to Add UTM Parameters in Google Analytics

Using UTM parameters is one of the best ways to understand which URLs are working to attract the most website traffic to specific pieces of content. When looking at how to add UTM to Google Analytics and how to set up UTM tracking, you will need to use Google’s URL builder.

This is a very simple tool provided within Google Analytics that you can use to set up all your URLs. It’s located within the help center.

When using Google’s URL builder, you will need to submit the following information:

  • The campaign source. This is where all the traffic will originate from. So if you’re intending traffic from a new email newsletter you’ve just sent out, then the campaign source relating to this URL would be your email newsletter.
  • The campaign medium. This means the method which you will use to source your traffic. UTM campaign medium examples include paid advertising or social media campaigns.
  • The campaign term. This is applicable to a paid campaign, wherein you will track specific terms and keywords.
  • The campaign content. This will help provide details about your ads and help to separate links that indicate the same URL.
  • The campaign name. This is simply a way you will recognize each campaign, so provide a name that you can use to identify your campaign’s purpose easily.

UTM in google analyticsConsistency is Key

To get into good habits when it comes to UTM implementation, and making sure that you’re always keeping on top of Google Analytics tagging best practices, then consistency is key.

These good practices include:

  • Using dashes
  • Using lowercase. While lowercase may not be correct for things that require capitalization, using correct capitalization or camel case means you need to remember more consistently always to do so. Therefore knowing that you only ever use lowercase in your UTM implementation means it’s easier to stick to that one rule all the time.
  • Setting goals with your UTMs. This means you always have a purpose with every UTM, URL, and campaign you create, to generate revenue
  • Link your tracking data with every URL so that you always have access to helpful traffic data

UTM Content Examples

Below are listed some ways you can implement UTMs into content and URLs at any time.

Use UTMs for all URLs you Share Via Social Media

When analyzing your performance on social media, and seeing which platform is generating the most success and traffic with campaigns, using UTMs will help analyze that traffic and best understand the most valuable platform to you. UTMs can help you to understand your social media referral traffic better.

Furthermore, social media allows you to track each link individually, meaning you can have a wide variety of promotional links and track them one by one.

Better Understand Links Used in Your Email Newsletters

Newsletters are extremely effective in generating traffic, but UTMs allow you to dig deeper into this and precisely understand which links within your newsletters generate the most clicks.

Optimize Your Paid Marketing

Understand the ads you’re paying for by making sure that you know which ads are performing the best, through UTM tracking. This tracking allows you to understand which forms of advertising are more popular and know which websites are generating the most traffic through ads.

UTM Source Tracking

One tricky aspect of looking to add UTM to URL names is that UTMs bond with the original source and link. This means that, should links be shared through copying and pasting on to other platforms or webpages, analytics tools will still correspond to this specific UTM and URL with the original source.

For example, a link with a UTM copied from Facebook and shared through copying and pasting to other social media platforms, like Twitter or Instagram, will still show as Facebook in the analytics traffic data.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand the pitfalls that can happen with misleading UTM data — as they can happen with any analytics data — meaning that UTMs should only be used as a contribution to good traffic management, and not as a complete solution.


A UTM parameter is just another helpful tool to offer insights into your traffic and data. UTMs allow you to understand your target market’s behavior better and therefore tailor your content and activity to better suit that behavior. Be sure to use required UTM parameters for your links, and keep track of a Google UTM parameters list to better use and understand your own UTMs. The right GA UTM tags mean that you can more successfully promote traffic and increase revenue and sales for your business.

If you’re looking for further information on how to set up UTM parameters, you can contact our team at Click Intelligence for content marketing guidance and support.

Author: Self

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