What are UTM tags?
UTM tags allow you to measure the success of any marketing campaign that drives visitors to your website. They rely on adding specific parameters to links to your website. This blog post looks specifically at campaign tagging in Google Analytics, although the same principles apply to many other web analytics tools.
If you are unfamiliar with what campaign tagging is, or would like a more detailed explanation, have a look at our introductory post on campaign tagging.
Why do you need standardized UTM tags?
As creating links with UTM tags has become easier and more common, in many organizations this is no longer the responsibility of just one person. With multiple people across different departments all creating campaign tags, it is becoming increasingly common to end up with something like this:
Someone examining the above might expect all of the traffic as a result of the “summer fun” campaign to be included under “summer fun”, “Summer Fun” and “Summer campaign Banner-ads”. Unfortunately, it is easy to miss the “FB Post – SF” campaign and any other variations of the “summer fun” campaign name that are lower down on the list. This is as a result of using different variations of the same variable and is a real problem when it comes to analyzing campaign performance.
How to start with standardizing your UTM tags
- The first and easiest rule for standardization is to stick to a case structure. It is best practice to pass all parameters in lower case.
- The second area that often sees discrepancy is dealing with spaces. As you cannot pass a space in the URL, it is necessary to replace spaces. There are however different ways around this:
- Replace spaces with a dash (-),
- URL encode the space as %20
- Replace it with ‘%’ or ‘+’, both of which are recognized as a space in Google Analytics.
- Stick to a given list of names, this is especially important for source and medium.
Regardless of which of these options you decide to go for, it is important that everyone creating campaign tags sticks to the same structure.
Use our tagging tool to make it easier for your team
As the number of people creating UTM tags increases, it becomes harder to enforce all of these standards. To help solve this problem, we have designed a UTM Builder that makes sure standardized variables are used in creating campaign tags.
Here is the link to our public UTM Builder:
To use the UTM Builder, follow the steps below
- First, make a copy of the UTM Builder to your Google Drive (File > Make a copy)
- You can then add your own campaign names, sources, and mediums with which you will be able to create campaign tags. To add a variable, simply click on the “UTM Builder” menu item and then choose the applicable item from the menu. Please note that all sources are associated with mediums, so when adding a source, you will be asked which medium you would like to associate it with.
- Choose from the variables you have created in the drop-down lists in the campaign, source and medium columns and add your link in the “URL” column.
Congratulations, you are now able to create standardized campaign tags.
Backup Tagged Links
The UTM Builder provides a backup function that will allow you to keep a historical record of your tagged links in a separate tab. This means that they can’t be accidentally changed and the UTM Builder sheet is uncluttered and easy to work with.
To backup all links currently in the UTM Builder tab simply click the Backup option in the UTM Builder menu.
You are now ready to create standardized UTM tracking. We hope that this helps you in your endeavor for good and clean web analytics data!