This is a quick tutorial on how to use UTM tracking to enhance your analytics collection when tracking website visits from your different campaigns. Essentially, you could use tracking links that you set up connected with your URL, and have that data flow into your Google Analytics. Those could be Facebook campaigns, they could be Google ad campaigns – they don’t even have to be paid ad campaigns, they can be organic. Here is how to set it up and where you would go in Google Analytics to check its progress:
1: Go to the Acquisitions section in your Google Analytics dashboard (00:56).
Everything you see when you’re looking at the reports in this section of Google Analytics are focused on how people got to your website. Now there’s a special section down here in the bottom, when you click the drop-down, that says Campaigns > All Campaigns.
You might have nothing but zeros when you look across the data. However, if you have some type of tagging set up, this is the section that’s reserved for tagged URLs that run from your website on other websites such as Google, Facebook and so on.
These are the actual campaigns that are running. What this simply means is, for example, there’s the official Google merchandise store. So, shop Google merchandise. Let’s go to the URL that’s connected to the Google Analytics account that we’re looking at:
So, this is an e-commerce store. Let’s say I’m running a campaign on social media to let people know about some of our sale items. So, if I’m running a campaign and marketing this online, I must send people to URLs to help them know about what I have for sale, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other ads.
2: Choose a link to track (3:03).
Let’s say, for example, I want everyone to go to this link:
This is the link I’m trying to drive people to, so that they can look at different products that we have in the clearance section of our website. This is the link that I want to track.
Now, if I don’t put a special tracking code on it, will data from this link populate into Google Analytics? It absolutely will. It will normally go into the Behavior section. You’ll find any clicks and data to this page either under All Pages, or Landing Pages, or sometimes even Exit Pages.
However, the reason why I want to assign a specific tracking link to this is I might want to know the difference between visitors who come to this link from a Facebook ad campaign versus a Facebook organic reach. I might want to know the difference between people coming to this link that came from a click off of an Instagram bio, or maybe we put an announcement about this on Twitter. What the tracking URL does is it helps me distinguish the source of where the clip came from, and I can see that when it comes into Google Analytics.
3: Tag the URL with Google URL Builder (4:33).
In order to tag the URL, this is where we get into what we call UTM tracking. Google has a tool that you can look up called a Google URL Builder. The first thing I want to do is drop in the URL I want to track.
4: Complete the required fields (5:25).
The next three areas with red asterisks are required fields: Source, Medium, and Name.
In this case, I’m going to put this link up on Facebook. So, Facebook becomes my Source because that’s where I’m going to use the link once I finish setting it up for tracking.
The Medium would be social media. That just describes the traffic channel that Facebook is affiliated with. Facebook is social media, so I would name the Medium “social media.” If I were listing Google as the source and it would appear in Google Ads, then my Medium might be CPC.
The campaign Name can be whatever you want it to be. In this case, I’m going to name it Winter Clearance Sale 2020.
Naming the campaign is really important, because whatever campaign name you give it, that’s the name that’s going to appear here when you go into Google Analytics to see what clicks you got. One way you could define this even more is you could say “Winter Clearance Sale 2020 FB.” Then I know it ran on Facebook specifically, or similarly Twitter with “Winter Clearance Sale 2020 TW.”
This is the point where you actually grab the tagged URL. Now we have a tagged URL ready to use on Twitter because we’ve identified that as the Source. Here’s the thing to notice: the URL, if I go to it, it doesn’t change anything about the URL itself. The URL is exactly the same whether it’s tagged or untagged. So, here’s our untagged URL,
and here is our tagged URL. Notice that we have just a long ending to it. And, again, this is UTM tracking. Any time you see a link that looks like this and you see the UTM in there, that’s how you know you’re looking at a UTM tracking link.
5: Shorten and post the tracking link on your Medium of choice (8:19).
When I go to post this on Twitter, Twitter’s probably going to shorten that automatically. You could use a simple website like Bitly to shorten the link if you don’t want it to look really long and cumbersome. So, I could simply go there and click Shorten, and now I have a nice short link that I can use instead of the really long one that it generated here. So same thing, if I go to that Bitly link I just created, it’s just going to hide the super long one. That’s easier to put out on social media.
What Happens Next? (9:04)
That’s the basics for actually setting up the tracking URL. Now what will happen is our data will begin to populate into Google Analytics. This is really helpful because now we have data that helps us understand and distinguish one campaign from the next. Then we can see what users came and how many sessions that resulted in. In this case, I’m going to change my viewing criteria to Purchase Completed. So, if there are actual purchases happening in relation to some of these links, I can actually see that.
Now, this is an additional step you would have to set up in Google Analytics. Unless you have Gold Tracking set up, you’ll get zeros in that section. At the very least, you’ll just be able to see a little bit of the activity. For those of you that are a little advanced and are familiar with UTM tracking, you can go a step further and add in what’s called a Secondary Dimension to your report. I like to add in Source/Medium because, again, that’s going to help me see specifically where these clicks came from. You can also look at some of your other options as a Secondary Dimension, which will add in a second column, and segment out your data a little bit more.
Final Thoughts (10:38)
The final thing I’ll also remind you about when you’re using the Campaign URL Builder, the names that you give your Medium ideally should be consistent with the names that are in Google Analytics. For example, right here we’re looking at Source/Medium, and Google Analytics has certain Mediums already kind of pre-named. It’s ideal if you use those same names rather than making up names when you’re identifying your Source and your Medium.
One more cool bonus to UTM tracking is a tool very well-known in the PPC space, called Cardinal Path. The one downside to the URL Builder is you would have to build each link individually versus Cardinal Path lets you do it in bulk.
First, I would need to make a copy of the spreadsheet, because they make it where you can’t edit in their original version. So, you need to make a copy that is editable for you. It’s a Google Drive sheet, not an Excel file, so you would need access to Google Drive in order to use this tool. Once I have made my own copy, I’m going to go to the Link Tag Generator tab. Here, they even show you some pre-loaded examples. But I’ll use my example again. I’ll grab my original link, and just do the same thing as before but in spreadsheet format, which lets me create links faster and in bulk.
Now what’ll happen is it automatically generates that link for me. So, this is the actual URL that I would grab:
This is cool because I can now save these URLs that are created on my sheet, and then I can always go back and reference them if I need to use them again.
Thanks for listening to today’s little tutorial and updates. If you have any questions, feel free to tag us on social media or get in contact with us. We’re happy to answer any additional questions you all have!
Watch our first tutorial in our How To Use Google Analytics series here!