Set Up UTM Tracking to Know Which Campaigns/Ads Worked

Getting tons of traffic from all over the web is great. It’s easy to see where users came from. If you’re starting at your analytics, you’ll see something called your traffic source and your traffic medium. A traffic source is a category, or traffic type such as Social, Direct, Paid, or Organic. Your traffic medium will go deeper into where that traffic came from within this category. For example, if your traffic source is Social, you can drill down to see that you received traffic from Facebook and Twitter.

It’s good to know where your traffic came from, but you won’t know exactly where your visitors came from within that traffic medium. If you’re very active on Facebook and you’re posting to your page, Facebook groups, and also running ads, all your traffic will come from “Facebook”. This is especially frustrating if you’re running many ads at once and you’re not sure exactly which one is making you money and which one is costing you. Sure, the ads manager reports back what it thinks it provided for you, but if you’ve run any ads for long enough, you’ll know that they’ll take credit for things that they shouldn’t have.

Make use of UTMs

To get the exact details of where your traffic came from, you’ll need to start using UTMs, or Urchin Tracking Module is a stupid-simple way to add tracking to anything you share online. If you’re sharing a link to your website, all you have to do is append some parameters to your URL.

If you’re sharing this URL:

You’ll want to add your UTM code the end of the URL, which looks like this:


The question mark “?” is telling the user’s browser to send some extra data along with the webpage visit. There are 5 UTM parameters you can use with your URLs, and you can add all five at once if you so choose. The final URL will look like this:

Now, if you were to visit this URL, my analytics would show that a user visited this blog post and the source of that visit was from this page. I would look at my analytics and sort my acquisition by utm_source. To see your UTM tagged traffic, you will need to first wait for GA to process your traffic and add it to your reports. Even with realtime data, it still takes a few moments to process campaign data. Once processed, you can see the data in your reports under Acquisition > Campaigns.

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