how to create Google UTM tracking code

You started a marketing campaign, posted it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and also send through email. You monitored a few days and notice there is a spike in your web traffic after the campaign starts.

After a week, your management asked you to generate a report on how has the marketing campaign performed. Is there a spike in web traffic? Where are these traffic coming from? Which social platform give us the best performance?

You might go to your Google Analytics -> Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Referrals for the data.

Google UTM tracking code 1


From the above chart, we can clearly see the different referral sources. If you look at one of the sources let say Facebook, can you confirm that the figure is coming from the marketing campaign post and not other Facebook post?

The answer is NO, we cannot differentiate which post the user click for them to come to the page since there is no proper tagging. In order to solve this problem we have to make use of UTM parameters.

Before I go ahead to explain what is UTM parameters if you are new to Google Analytics, I have previously wrote a few articles on

  1. How to setup Google Analytics for your website.
  2. Google Analytics basic configuration guide.
  3. How to read the Google Analytics report.

Do get yourself familiarize with these articles before reading further down. If you already know Google Analytics let’s find out more about UTM tracking.


What is UTM parameter?

UTM mean Urchin Tracking Module, it’s an additional code added to the end of a URL to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns.

Example of a UTM tracking code

There are a total of five different parameters which you can append to the URLs for tracking, and in most of the cases, you just need to use three *.


What are the five parameters

* Source: Where this referral came from, e.g, Google, Facebook

* Medium: What type of post / marketing medium, e.g, Email, CPC, Banner

* Campaign Name: The name of your campaign.

Term: Normally used for paid keywords / traffic. Such as Adwords campaign

Campaign Content: Normally used for paid keywords / traffic. Used to differentiate links

* These fields are required


How do you generate the UTM tracking code?

  1. You can do it yourself
    • Your URL of the page which you want the visitors to go =
    • The source = utm_source=facebook
    • The medium = utm_medium=post
    • The campaign name = utm_campaign=mooncake-giveawayNow you have to join all the four points together
  2. You can use the the Google Campaign URL Builder follow the steps to generate the URL.
    Google utm tracking code


How does it work

Once a users click on the link or type the URL in the browser, it will bring them to your site. To the users nothing has changed but from Google Analytics it will know where the user came from all because of the additional code added to the back of the URL.


Where do you find the data in Google Analytics

  1. Login to Google Analytics
  2. Click on Acquisition Tab.
  3. Campaigns.
  4. All Campaigns.Google UTM tracking code

You might also need to change the date range.

On the right side, click on the Campaign link and you will see in more detail where the source came from.

Google UTM tracking code 4

From the image above, you can see that I have label properly name every post so I will know which medium give me the most clicks.


Something tips for you

  1. Do not hyperlink to a pdf as it will not be able to track by Google Analytics. In the first lesson, we learn how to install Google Analytics code into every page of the site. With that, any action you done on the page such as click on any links, Google Analytics will be able to capture it. But when you hyperlink directly it to a pdf, there is no Google code installed in the pdf so it will not be able to capture your action. To solve this, you have to create a page, then in the page provide a link for users to download the pdf. In this case it will be able to track the number of user download.
  2. Don’t share the link to different platform. Let say a user copy the link (which included the UTM code) from Facebook and share it with their friends in Twitter or Whatapp. Once their friends click the link, Google Analytics will treat that they are accessing the link from Facebook since the utm_source is showing Facebook. Google Analytics is not so clever to know that the source has changed.
  3. Tag all your source, medium and campaign name properly. You might be running two or more campaign concurrently so you need to clearly differentiate the different campaign.
  4. Keep all the naming conversation to lowercase. Google Analytics is case sensitive.
  5. Create multiple link for different platform, so you can differentiate where it come from.
  6. Create a shorten-er URL. No user will remember a long URL, so you can use Bitly shorten it create a shorter URL for user to type.


How to use URL shortener

  1. Go to utm tracking code
  2. Copy your URL into the text boxGoogle utm tracking code bitly 2
  3. Click Shorten buttonGoogle utm tracking code bitly 3
  4. Now you can copy the shortener and use it in your social media


Bonus: How to do offline tracking

Make use of URL shorten on your poster or brochure to track offline campaign. In this case it is better to use your own URL shorten (if you know how to do it) than a free version, it is for your branding purpose.

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