Let’s imagine you’re about to start a marketing campaign.
You have your special promotion page on your website with its unique URL that was spread among your newsletter subscribers through your email campaign. You have also shared this link on social media channels and bought some online ads.
The only problem is that you want to know which channel directed the most traffic to your website.
You might think that once you have your Google Analytics account setup on your website, all data will be there, but it won’t give you the detailed information related to your campaign.
For example, it can tell you that you have plenty of visits from Linkedin, but it won’t tell you which action was the most successful. Was it posting the URL on your profile or was it posting it in a group you belong to?
Or what will happen if you test two different versions of an email and send them to two different segments of customers? Google Analytics will tell you that the traffic came from email, but won’t help you distinguish which email was more effective!
Luckily, there is URL builder .
What are UTM parameters
UTM parameters are unique tags that are added to your URL in the URL builder.
When users click on one of your custom links, these unique parameters are sent to your Analytics account so you can identify the URLs that are most effective in attracting users to your content.
Here’s an example of a standard URL:
And here’s how it will look like once you have created a new version of it in URL builder:
There are five parameters you can add to your URLs:
- utm_source (e.g. newsletter to identify traffic that comes from a newsletter),
- utm_medium (the advertising or marketing medium, e.g. CPC, banner, email newsletter),
- utm_campaign (the individual campaign name, e.g. “july” for a July newsletter),
- utm_term (identify paid search keywords; you can specify a keyword here),
- utm_content (used to differentiate similar content, or links within the same ad, e.g. if you have two CTAs within the same email message, you can use this UTM parameter).
It all might sound complicated, but the good thing is that when you add parameters to a URL, you should always use utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign.
The rest is optional.
Thanks to this tagging, you will be able to see the details of your traffic and, instead of general information, you will receive the exact information from where the traffic came.
How to use UTM code builder
Google URL builder is a simple and quick tool that helps you build your campaigns’ URL. Such custom URL contains additional information that will be passed to your Analytics account.
Below, you will see how it should be filled. I pasted the Business Sidekick podcast URL, as a campaign source I entered “july newsletter,” as a campaign medium “email” and campaign name – “business sidekick.”
Now, all you need to do is to press “Generate URL” et voilà! Your custom URL is ready!
6 tips on using URL builder
Here are six tips that will help you use URL builder even more efficiently.
1. How to find your custom campaigns in Google Analytics
There are a couple of ways in which URL building can be found on your Analytics account. Depending on how your profile is set up and what the version of your Google Analytics is, you can go there by choosing different paths.
In the old version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Campaigns. In the new version of Google Analytics, the data can be found under Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns.
Acquisition > Campaign > All Campaigns will also work for you.
2. Don’t use URL builder for internal linking
The reason why you should never tag internal links on your website is simple: because Google Analytics will track these links anyways. But if you overwrite it, you will also overwrite the original data and you won’t be able to restore it.
You don’t want to mess with your metrics!
3. Stick to the naming convention
Google Analytics is case sensitive.
It means that it doesn’t consolidate duplicate entries that are uppercase and lowercase. For that reason, you should decide how you want to name it and stick to it. A good practice is to write everything in lowercase letters.
3. Shorten the link if you don’t like it
One of the reasons why people don’t like to use URL builder is that the link is obviously longer and those who know how it work, will immediately know that they are clicking a commercial link.
If you don’t like the length of it, you can always shorten it with our free URL shortener. Here’s the example of my Business Sidekick URL; now it looks like that:
4. Don’t use “/” in your tags
If you want to give your campaign a name “june/july newsletter,” you should reconsider. Slash is used to separate paths, so it can cause problems.
A better practice would be to use underscore instead, so it looks like that: “june_july newsletter.” And the perfect version would not contain space and would look like that: “june_july_newsletter.”
5. You don’t have to use UTM code in paid campaigns only
A great thing about UTM parameters is that they can be used any time you want to post your link. You can share it on your social media sites, in your email campaigns, add it to the guest posts or email signatures.
You can use such URL everywhere you want as the goal is to track which actions bring you the most website visits!
Befriend UTM parameters
At first, even though the whole thing might look complicated it is worth every effort.
Google Analytics is a great tool, but it’s not perfect and won’t be able to track all your traffic. Another thing is that it only gains general information about your traffic and if you’re thinking seriously about your traffic and revenue, you need to know where your customers are coming from.
So once you will track referral links, you will also get insight into which channels are bringing you the most traffic and which of them will help you to succeed.
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