Using UTM Codes to Measure Campaigns

Teun van den Acker
Published on April 05, 2018
By Teun van den Acker

UTM - parameters are tags that are added to the end of a URL to track web traffic. If you add UTM tags to a URL, this specific traffic will be visible in Google Analytics. This gives you the opportunity to identify traffic, filter, segment and ultimately analyze and optimize your campaigns. If you do not use UTM tags, then the traffic from your campaign comes in as 'referral' traffic and you can't see which ad performs the best.

Using UTM Codes to Measure Campaigns
UTM tags can help you answer these questions:

  • Where does my traffic come from?
  • How is it sent to me?
  • Which campaign performs best?
  • Does Ad A or B deliver the highest quality traffic?

UTM Structure

UTM tags consist of different parts, as indicated by the different highlighted text below:
utm_source=blogpost utm_medium=socialmedia utm_campaign=spring2018 utm_term=analytics utm_content=ad1300x250

In the above example, I want to send traffic to the US homepage of our website. Behind the link are the different UTM tags. All of the colored tags above are further explained below:

Campaign Source


These tags are the only necessary tags to use.

Use utm_ source to determine the campaign source, for example a search engine, name of a newsletter or another source.

Example: Blog post

Campaign Medium


This tag is used to determine the medium, such as email, cpc, or social media.

Example: Social media

Campaign Name


This allows you to define the name of your campaign and therefore cluster different UTM links by campaign name.

Example: utm_campaign=spring2018

Campaign Term


This UTM tag was once intended for paid search. If you use AdWords and link AdWords and Analytics, it works automatically, so you don't have to do anything further. Bing also has solutions for this, so you will not use many terms. 

Example: analytics

Campaign Content


In the content tag, you can name the content from your 'advertisement'. This is useful if you want to a/b test different ad formats to see what happens after the click. Then you can determine the value of each ad. 

Example: ad1300x250

In practice, you'll probably use Source and Medium . Please advise, before you start working with UTMs, think about the structure and possible deployment. With that, you can determine the rules concerning the use of UTMs so that in the future, you and your coworkers can create consistent UTMs. 

You can create UTM tags by typing them as text. You don't have to pre-create them in Analytics, but this tool makes it even easy and clear: 

Get to Work!

Okay, now that you have created UTM tags and your campaign is running, it's time to dive into Analytics and follow your campaign. In Acquisition, you can choose Campaigns> All campaigns. From there you can infinitely filter and segment with the different tags that you have created yourself. 

Another tip to conclude: because you sometimes get very long URLs with UTMs, it is often useful to get them through a shortening tool like Bitly. Then it immediately looks neat and the tracking remains intact, and it gives you an additional check to see if the number of clicks match in your campaign dashboard and Analytics.

Tags: Digital

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