Tracking & Analytics

UTM tracking – What is it and why should you care?

Whenever someone was asking me to review their funnel one of the first things I ask them is if they have UTM tracking setup.  The normal response is what’s UTM tracking?

UTM tracking is kind of like flossing – it’s boring, and you probably don’t want to do it. But if you don’t then all your teeth will fall out. Metaphorically speaking.

UTM tracking – What is it?

It’s the system for telling Google analytics where traffic is coming from,  whether that’s:

  •  Facebook ads
  •  one of your email sequences
  •  Google ads
  •  etc

If you’ve ever seen a website address that looks something like this

That’s UTM tracking

What does UTM stand for?

Okay this is a bit of weird trivia that you’ll never need to know. It stands for Urchin Tracking Mechanism – which tells you almost nothing useful. It was originally built by a company called Urchin which then got acquired by Google and built into Google analytics. Hence the name.

Why should you care?

If you start using UTM tracking now then there will come a day when you are really grateful for it.

You can ask yourself are these working or is this email sequence actually converting into sales and if you’ve set up UTM tracking then you’re going to be able to use Google analytics to figure out the answer.

If you can go into Google Analytics and see what campaigns work then you’re able to know which ones to keep going with and which ones to stop.

And what’s really important is it actually doesn’t take very long to do it, and you don’t need to be doing it personally – you can set up a system or an SOP for it.

The places where it’s really important are with email marketing and with paid advertising. 

Google Analytics and Google ads actually connect really easily, so no need to worry too much about it for there.

But for Facebook ads you really need this lot.

UTM tracking SOP

You’ll need to be consistent across different campaigns so you need to decide  whether to use CPC or paidsearch for example.

1. Campaign Source

The source parameter allows you to track where the traffic originated from. The parameter added to your URL is utm_source. Sources you may track could be facebook, google, bing,, or the name of an email list.

Example: &utm_source=twitter

2. Campaign Medium

The medium parameter tracks what type of traffic the visitor originated from – CPC, email, social, referral, display, etc. The parameter is utm_medium_

Example: &utm_medium=cpc

3. Campaign Name

The campaign name parameter allows you to track the performance of a specific campaign. For example, you can use the campaign parameter to differentiate traffic between different Facebook Ad campaigns or email campaigns. The parameter is utm_campaign.

Example: &utm_campaign=example-campaign

4. Campaign Content

In case you have multiple links pointing to the same URL (such as an email with two CTA buttons), this code will help you track which link was clicked. The parameter is utm_content.

Example: &utm_content=navlink

Now what?

If you do this in every campaign that you run then you will be able to figure out whether a campaign worked or not.

Go to  Google Analytics, click on Acquisition – Campaigns –  All campaigns

Here, you’ll be able to see data sorted by Campaign, or by the Source/Medium you’ve used:

If you don’t want to switch between table tabs, you can also go to Secondary dimension – select Source/Medium, and you’ll have all the info in one place, like this:

Tracking and analytics is crucial for making data driven decisions. We pay so much attention to numbers and analytics that we’ve put data-driven in our agency’s name. If you don’t measure, you can’t improve. The most important thing is to have precise data. UTM codes help with that.

If you want to learn more about scaling your business using funnels sign up for Scale Course Revenue On Autopilot Free webinar. I also mention and explain why tracking is important and what are some benchmark numbers you should strive for.

By John Ainsworth

John Ainsworth is a funnel builder, and marketer with over 10 years of experience. He founded Data-Driven Marketing to help people who are making great courses and need help with their funnels in order to scale their business.