Make Sense of Your Traffic with UTM Tagging

- April 13, 2016

Do you know that by default Google Analytics doesn’t know the difference between an editorial link published in an article on a website and a banner ad you’ve placed on that same website? If you don’t specifically tag your links from that marketing effort with UTM parameters, then traffic from the ad will just be bucketed into a referral from that website. If you do properly tag, however, then you’ll see both any referral traffic from editorial links and, separately, any campaign-specific traffic from your paid banner ad. This ability to better divide your data is particularly important when you’re paying for placement and want to be able to ascertain how much traffic and how many conversions came from the ad vs. a more “natural” referral.

So what kinds of links should be tagged with UTM parameters? Links to pages on your website (not PDFs) from:

  • Paid online ads
  • Organic social media posts on your own channels
  • Email marketing messages you send

And vanity URLs can redirect to another URL with unique UTMs applied to them. For example:

www.example-website.com/offer could redirect to

http://www.example-website.com/service-a?utm_source=our-database&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=4-2016-offer&utm_content=header-image

Ultimately, UTM tags can help you identify a variety of campaign-specific details like:

  • The source the visitor originated from
  • The marketing medium
  • The promotion associated with the visit
  • The subject matter of the link
  • The location in a piece of creative (a button, a banner, a text link, etc.) that the click came from

For a step-by-step guide to start tagging your Campaign URLs, use MoreVisibility’s free Google Analytics’ URL Tagging Tool.

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