Better insight in your campaigns? Use UTM Tags

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You create the basis for a successful marketing campaign with the proper setup in Google Analytics. Use UTM codes for all your campaigns to see how your campaigns perform. This allows you to keep track of sales from the start – (like a Facebook post, email or even a brochure) to the end (the conversion page)!

UTM tags in Google Analytics
You pass tags on to a URL with a UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitor) code. The correct tags allow you to see in Google Analytics where the traffic on your website originates from and what this then does. Google Analytics see incoming visitors in a number of different dimensions. These dimensions are used to categorize the visitors to your website in different groups and are therefore the parameters you can pass on to a URL. There are five primary dimensions:

Source: Source name, ‘referrer’ of the website visits, like a newsletter (or Mailchimp), Facebook or Google.
Medium: The medium type, like email, social post or CPC.
Campaign: The campaign name.
Term: Campaign word like the Awords entry or the advert set in Facebook.
Content: Campaign content, content of the add to differentiate between various adds.

To follow the performance on campaign level, you need the ‘source’, ‘medium’ and ‘campaign’ tags. It is important to differentiate properly between ‘source’ and ‘medium’. The ‘source’ is the one who sent the visitor to your website and the ‘medium’ tells you how. If you want to track your campaign performance on an add level, you have to use all five dimensions.

Example of destination URL with UTM tags
Let’s look at the method for creating a URL for an email campaign, for instance. You want to send out a newsletter to promote an event. The source could be “newsletter” (because you are sending from the newsletter email template), the medium is then “email” (because you are sending an email), the campaign may be called “February-2015-Blaudzun” (because you want to promote the Blaudzun event in February 2015). The URL you will then use in the email will be the following:

https://www.website.nl/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=February-2015-Blaudzun

You can then choose to insert a unique UTM code for every link in the newsletter, so you can track which links receive the most links. You do so by adding the ‘content’ parameter to the URL.

Tips for tagging URLs
Luckily Google has a tool to add the UTM parameters to your link. The tool generates the URLs so you know for sure the UTM tags were created properly. Go to the Google Analytics URL Builder to create your destination URL. There are a number of tips you could consider when tagging URLs:

Make sure the tags are consistent
Make sure everyone uses the same terms for the same type of traffic, always use the same tag.

URL tags are case sensitive
URL tags are case sensitive. So choose a clear guideline as to how the letters will be used.

Tag all the traffic
Go through all the traffic in Google Analytics and identify the non-tagged traffic. Check the links you have created allready, like the reference to your website from all your social media channels. You can’t tag all the traffic, but if you do it properly, only the real ‘referral’ URLs and real direct traffic will remain.

Don’t forget your offline media
You can also measure your offline media. Place an easy to remember, modified URL in your offline media, for instance a mail post. You can then convert this URL to a new page containing a UTM code.

If you ensure the website traffic is tagged properly, you can see the effect of all your marketing campaigns in Google Analytics on Acquisition > campaigns> all campaigns. This way you will know which adds and campaigns lead to sales and which actually have very little effect.

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