UTM Parameter

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. With UTM parameters you have a useful tool at hand when it comes to evaluating your campaigns on the Internet. Because: You can specifically track where the accesses to the content of your website come from. As a result, you can address your target group and your users even more efficiently and precisely. Setting up a UTM campaign is quite simple, because Google has its own tool for this: The Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.

A URL with UTM parameters is always built up according to a scheme, in the generation of which the Google tool, for example, supports you. A total of five different parameters are available for this purpose. Three UTM parameters must always be filled in, and you can optionally select two more. The correct creation of your link is mandatory so that Google can recognize it. Choose only the necessary parameters for your campaign, so as not to unnecessarily inflate your URL. Also, when creating your parameters, make sure that they are clearly named. This will make it easier for you to evaluate the campaigns later on.

You must always fill in these three parameters for creation:

utm_sourceCampaign sourceWith this value you define the source of the traffic, i.e. where your users come from.Newsletters, social media platforms or search engines
Utm_mediumVisitor sourceThis determines the advertising or marketing medium.Emails, posts or contributions on social networks, or a cost per click.
Utm_campaignCampaign mediumThe campaign name is defined by you via this UTM parameter. Choose your name uniquely.“content marketing” or “newsletter-july”

In addition to the three mandatory parameters mentioned above, you can define the following two values:

utm_contentCampaign contentTo delimit multiple links within a display, you can additionally select this transfer value.When two links with UTM parameters are used within one newsletter.
utm_mediumCombat termThis parameter is used for tracking paid searches.If you have opted for a paid keyword campaign.

In the end, a link with UTM parameters looks like this, for example:

The graphic shows the structure of a link with UTM parameters. At the beginning of the link is the website URL. In this case: https://www.eology.de/. This is followed by the campaign source with ?utm_source_instagram. Then the visitor source is named with &utm_medium=post. Finally, comes the campaign name. In this case &utm_campaign=blogpost-contentmarketing
Link building with UTM parameters

When creating the link, note that Google distinguishes between upper and lower case here. Thus, utm_medium=email and utm_medium=Email will be played separately in your analytics results.

When is tracking with UTM parameters useful?

Using UTM parameters makes sense for tracking various advertising activities. Your created links can be used in different areas:

Social MediaHere you can evaluate how much attention and how many clicks your post has received. Note that in some social networks the complete links are displayed (e.g. Facebook). In others, however, they are not (e.g. LinkedIn). A user tends to rarely click on long and hard-to-read links, so you should make sure that visible links are not too complex.
Newsletter-MarketingYou can use the values for the analysis of your newsletter marketing. The parameters track the clicks on the links within your email.
Banner advertisingIf you have advertising banners in use, tracking with UTM parameters is worthwhile. It provides information about the size and positions of banner ads that are most effective for you.
PDFs, E-Books, Online documentsWith tracking in this area, it is easy to find out what content interests and appeals to the user. From the analysis of the data you can deduce what the website visitors like. Based on this, you can deliver more of this content if needed.

UTM parameters at Google Analytics

In principle, Google Ads campaigns are automatically tracked by Google Analytics. All you need to do is link your Google Analytics account to your Google Ads account. You can easily evaluate your UTM parameters in Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns. The previously recorded parameters can be evaluated here in different formats.
You can choose from the following evaluation options:

The screenshot shows a section of Google Analytics under which item the evaluation of the UTM parameters can be found.
Here you can evaluate the success of your campaigns more precisely if you use UTM parameters

What does Google Analytics collect if no UTM parameters are used?

For some links it makes little sense to define UTM parameters. Especially for internal links, you should refrain from doing so. If no UTM parameter is defined for a link, Google uses three different factors to evaluate how the visitor came to the website.

  1. Organic: This criterion shows when the user visits the website through the search engine function result list.
  2. Refferal: Here you can see if the visitor comes to you via an external link from another website.
  3. Direct: This section displays the traffic that occurs via direct input in the browser, the bookmark function or, for example, via links (without UTM parameters) from newsletters.

With these three output values, you can already read a lot about the usage behavior of your website. However, the targeted evaluation of campaigns will be difficult for you. Since the data cannot be selected more specifically, it will be more difficult for you to see whether your advertising measures are running as planned or need to be optimized. For these purposes, the use of UTM parameters makes sense for you.


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