premium training

Quick & Dirty Guide to UTM Tracking (Important!)

This is a premium training for Inner Circle members only.

More about this video

Want to run marketing campaigns for your clients? You better know one thing: how to track and report performance accurately.

There’s A LOT to cover in analytics and there will be a lot more analytics trainings coming, but we’re getting started with UTM tracking. Why? Because it’s critical and it needs to be setup as soon as possible.

In this video you’ll learn exactly what UTM tracking is, how it works, and how it reports inside of Google Analytics (it works in other analytics packages, too).

Video Transcript

Believe it or not, one of the toughest parts of running marketing for clients is actually tracking and reporting the results accurately. This also happens to be very important because if you don’t track and report results properly and accurately, you don’t really know if you’re generating a solid ROI for the client. If you don’t know that you’re generating a solid ROI for the client, they don’t really want to run marketing campaigns with you anymore. They definitely don’t want to expand their marketing services with you. So that’s a huge downfall to you. It’s a huge downfall to them. So in this training, what I’m going to do is I’m going to help you with the tracking side of things. Now, there’s a lot that goes into tracking marketing campaigns, but there is one really helpful tool that you need to know about and you absolutely should be employing for every client that you are doing any marketing for whatsoever on advertising platforms, even offline you can use this technique.

It’s called UTM tracking and I’m going to go ahead and screen share so we can dive right into this. So a UTM parameter of which there are many, you can think of these like tags and they’re added to the end of a URL and they tag that URL and then effectively tag that visitor with specific terms. These terms are related to the source, which is where a visitor came from. We also have the medium. We have the campaign itself, sorry, these notes are popping up over when I click on one and then we have the term. What we have to do is number one, we have to get organized, we have to understand, all right, what are our sources going to be, what are our mediums going to be, what’s our campaign, what’s our terms going to be, all of this has to be very organized and it has to be very consistent because the way this works is we’re putting this data into the URL, we’re taking that URL and I’m going to show you all of this in real time, we’re taking that URL and we’re putting it on an ad campaign, for example, let’s just say a Google ad campaign.

So when Google asks you where do you want to send people? Well, in my case, for our digital gravy ad campaign that we’ve been doing, we don’t want to just send them to digital We want to send them to digital and then have a lot of UTM parameters after that that are tagging all of those visitors, letting me know that hey, these visitors came from Google, they came through paper click, they came via this specific campaign and here’s the term or the key word that that campaign and that specific ad actually was targeting. Those are four different UTM parameters, these are the four that I use, there’s actually one more available to you, it’s called content and it can actually track down to a specific ad if you’re running multiple ad variations or if you’re using these links in things like emails, you can actually use different UTM links per link in the email so that your analytics actually tells you hey, this first link is performing a lot better than this last link or vice versa or if you’re running e-commerce emails, right, you’re going to have a bunch of products in there, you want to know which one was leading to the conversions and so you’re able to track the same campaign, even maybe the same terms but different content inside of whatever ad or email the person happened to be viewing at the time.

This obviously depends on the type of campaign you’re running and where you’re running the campaign on which ones are actually useful to you. Now there are three that are considered required, the source is required, the medium is required and the campaign is required, the term is optional and then the other content option is optional as well. So we’re going to take a look at how this actually works in real life because right now we’re just talking in abstract terms but I want to give you a crystal clear example so that you understand. Now there are UTM generators online so you go to the UTM generator, you type in what the source, the medium, the campaign, the destination is and it generates the UTM URL for you. I created this spreadsheet and I’m making this spreadsheet available inside the inner circle so that you don’t have to go to a generator because the problem with the generators is yeah, they generate UTM URLs but they don’t organize them for you and they don’t show you your previously generated URL so that you can keep everything consistent because like I said organization and consistency is absolutely critical as we do this and you’ll see why that is more as we get deeper in.

So this spreadsheet is the tool that I would highly recommend that you use for organizing UTMs and by the way you’re doing this per client so every single client you work with needs their own UTM tracking sheet. And so what I’m going to do here this is the template so I’m going to go ahead and do a file, make a copy and I want to choose a different folder so we’re going to go out here and let’s see if I can quickly find here’s my drive and we’ll go to business and we’ll do advertising and we’ll just put it in here so I’m going to select that folder and then I’m going to call this digital gravy UTM tracking I’m going to make a copy it’s going to open it in a new tab this is what I would recommend you do as well to save that template that I gave you but make a copy of it for every single client and keep everything nice and organized. So you see here we have digital gravy UTM tracking. Now if you remember my campaign sends people to the homepage so which obviously I don’t typically recommend but we’re just doing this for learning and training purposes right. So I have this homepage that I’m going to be sending people to I want to go ahead and copy this URL this is the destination that I want people to arrive at so under destination URL I am going to paste that URL in.

Now I’m going to also put the date created just a little tip right here if you hold command and hits semi colon on your keyboard and I don’t know what that would be on windows maybe control and semi colon. It will just put today’s date in for you so you don’t actually have to type it out and I put a little note right here it says you can use command plus semi colon to automatically insert the current date so that makes it really easy like as you go down. Okay so we have the date created we have the destination URL now we have the source now I put these in drop downs to make this easy but what you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to customize this to your client because if your client’s not running Facebook anything on Facebook then you wouldn’t want Facebook as a source. Now keep in mind you can use UTMs for organic social media so if you’re doing social media of any kind on Facebook you can use you should be probably using UTMs if you’re trying to drive traffic to the website and then hope that people do something on the website when they arrive and I’m going to show you why this is so powerful in just a minute for tracking okay but you want to make sure that every source where your client is going to be using UTM codes or could possibly be using UTMs you want that available in this drop down and the way that you add additional options here is you go to data and then data validation and then you see right here it says list of items and here’s your list so if you just put a comma and add another thing it’s going to add that to the list if you want to remove something you just simply delete it and it will remove it from your list and then you go ahead and hit save and that’s going to be your options and it’s going to force you into choosing these options every time which is very important for consistency and again when I show you the analytics dashboard I’ll explain why consistency is so important.

Okay so I’m going to go ahead and choose Google notice that the source is not specific there’s no grain it’s not saying Google organic which we can’t really use UTMs for it’s not saying Google PPC it’s not saying Google display advertising it’s just saying the source is Google and that’s very important because you want as much flexibility as possible in how you analyze the data later so the granularity is actually going to come from things like medium and campaign that’s why those things exist so you want to keep the source very basic it is the literal source of the traffic next is the medium this is where you’re going to be saying okay this came from an email or it came from CPC which is the same as PPC cost per click a QR code is an option you can do organic social media you could even do billboards here right you know offline billboards with vanity URLs can actually redirect through UTM so if your clients is like I don’t know how to track the performance of our billboards you can get a vanity URL that vanity URL that people see on the billboard you can also do phone tracking this way right get a vanity phone number put it on the billboard but if you have a website address on the billboard get a vanity URL for that and then redirect that through UTMs and everybody that comes via that billboard URL will be tagged in your analytics and then you can see if those people are actually reaching the goals that you’ve programmed in for your website the conversion goals okay so there’s a lot of options here it’s not just for Google ads or Facebook ads you can do a lot with UTM tracking email tracking very popular with UTMs there’s a bunch of offline stuff you can do it’s skies the limit and it’s up to you as the advisor to your client because your client probably knows none of this to tell them what they can and should be tracking with UTMs and then you keep it all organized inside of this dashboard so this is going to be a CPC campaign of Google cost per click campaign and then we need the name of the campaign so this is where we’re going to actually go into the dashboard again and number one I want to refresh your memory on what we did or if you haven’t watched my Google ads training yet you need to be up to speed on this and I also made some changes in here that we’re going to want to be aware of so in Google ads and Facebook ads is very similar you have campaigns you have ad groups or ad sets and then you have ads inside of the ad groups and everything is inside of the other thing so ads are inside of ad groups ad groups are inside of campaigns so I want you to look at this one campaign that I’m running right here called web design and development I named it this because this is that these are the group of services that I am targeting all right now where are the specific services well for that we have to look at the ad groups because ad groups in Google ads is where you actually set up your keyword targeting so I’m going to go ahead and click on ad groups and you’re going to see three different ad groups now this is different from the original training that I did in the original training which was just the crash course getting one campaign with one ad set and one ad set up I did the web design campaign that is a service under web design and development because if you think about this and you have to think through this for your clients because you have to it’s like SEO in a lot of ways you have to logically group these things together people who need web development often search for web design and people vice versa right there’s a lot of combinations there’s also the ability to search for things like web design near me web development near me this is people like searching for services there’s also another group of keyword targeting where people are actually searching for an agency a firm a company right so it might be web design company web design agency near me web design firm near me web development firm near me I like to group all of these separately because it it’s a different mindset of the individual performing these searches and we really want to be able to isolate which one of these types of individuals does better or best than the others and so what we may find as we get deeper into these campaigns is people who search for web design like web design as a service they don’t convert very well people who search for web development as a service they convert way better people that search for web development agency web design agency those kinds of terms those people convert the best and I don’t know I’m just making that up but that’s what we could see if we separate these things out into ad groups and then what we can do is we can actually shift around our budget or targeting all of that type of stuff to maximize the group the cohort that we’re actually going after so I have basically expanded this campaign into three different ad groups now and you can see that one is for web design as a service the other is for web development as a service and then one is for the agency firm company type terms okay so I have three ad groups here so what I want is I want to go in here is the campaign though web design and development that is the name of the campaign so under campaign I’m going to do web design development and I want you to notice this is like URLs everything is like writing a URL always lowercase always dash spaced right so don’t just put spaces don’t use underscores use dashes keep everything lowercase we want maximum consistency the next thing is term because if you think about this we go back to this ad group situation that we’ve got going on here there’s ads in each of these ad sets well if somebody comes somebody clicks on the web design ad in here so I’m going to click on this they click on I’m going to go to ads they click on this ad right here well it’s going to tag them right now as they came from Google they came from PPC and they came from the web design development campaign but I don’t know which ad group they were in right I only know that they came from this campaign I don’t know if it’s an agency search person it’s a web design search person or a web development search person that is where term comes in so now the term and I have notes here says target keyword which is typically accurate however you can use the term in different ways but a lot of times it’s going to be like the target keyword or it’s going to be the service that you’re advertising but in this case it’s not the service because the service is like web design and development right this is like a subservice called web design or web development or agency company whatever so what I’m going to do is I’m going to map this basically as you see here I need three different links I need one link for each of the ad groups that we have set up here right so the first one is going to be web design the next one is going to be web development and then the next one is going to be and actually I can do design just to keep these shorter development here and then this can be agency all right so this is showing you the breakdown now I can make sure that the campaign is exactly the same across because these are not in different campaigns these are all done the same campaign they’re all CPC they’re all from Google they’re all going to this URL right there whoops okay don’t need to expand it out that much and they were all created today okay so effectively what I’ve done while I’m organizing these things and thinking about them the URL is being generated for me and so if we go look at the URL I’m going to actually copy this and paste it in the address bar up here so I want you to take a look at this it’s digital and then look at this it has UTM source equals Google then it has UTM medium equals CPC UTM campaign equals web design development and then UTM term equals design right so now what I’m going to do is I’m going to take my design URL and I’m going to go into my web design ad group and I’m going to go to ads ads and I’m going to edit this ad and all I have to do this is so simple paste that entire URL into the final URL field of my ad and then I’m going to go down and I’m going to hit save ad the other reason you do this by the way guys is not just you can target different keywords or groups of keywords but because you can tailor the ad to that group of keywords so for example my agency which is agency company firm type keywords if you look at that ad you’re going to see headlines and I’ll cover this again in the more follow up Google ads trainings but just to give you an idea here and reiterate things you can see like we’re targeting more agency type terms company company agency agency you know you get it right so those are not in the other ads for the other ad groups because the other ads were targeting services so they’re more service based headlines so you can really tailor your ads when you break up groups of things in your ad groups inside of your campaigns okay so I’ve done the web design one on let’s go just double check and make sure that that’s saved there it is right there okay now I’m going to grab the development one so I’m going to grab that copy and we’re going to go over to web development I’m already in my ad so I’m going to go ahead and hit edit on this ad I’m going to paste that URL here so notice it’s tagging this with all the other all the same things but the end is different it’s tagging it as development I’m going to go ahead and save that ad and then I’m going to click on agency ads and edit that ad and while that’s opening up I’m going to grab this URL and then I’m going to paste it right there and you can see the term is agency so now I’m going to save ad down here perfect now what we have to do is we have to wait because now we need traffic to actually go to those URLs before anything is going to show up in our dashboard in our analytics but I will go into Google Analytics and show you where this will show up why it’s so valuable and why it has to be consistent as well and by the way this doesn’t just work for Google Analytics in fact I don’t look at this this is the analytics for digital gravy it’s all zeros because I don’t even have Google Analytics installed on this domain I’m using plausible analytics the good thing is UTMs are basically universal so plausible analytics parses UTM values just like Google Analytics does and puts that into your analytics in plausible just as cleanly as it shows up in Google Analytics so doesn’t really matter what analytics package you’re you’re using any major and well developed analytics package probably supports UTM tracking so what I’m going to do is in Google Analytics because this is the most popular one I’m going to show you where this data shows up so we’re going to go to audience and no I’m sorry we’re not going to go to audience we’re going to go to acquisition because we’re tracking where we acquired this traffic from right so we go to acquisition and then we go to campaigns make sense right that we had our campaign right here and this is kind of the lead part of how this is organized in Google Analytics it’s by campaign so I would be looking for my web design and development campaign if I’m like hey I really want to know how my web design and development ad campaign on Google is doing of course you can look at your analytics inside of Google ads but as things get bigger and you’re combining multiple sources and you want all of this data in one place that’s where this really becomes super super powerful right all right so I’m going to go into analytics remember I went to acquisition campaigns I’m going to click on all campaigns now you see that there’s nothing here but once people start clicking on these links you’re going to see the campaign it’s going to say web design development right here then you’re able to click on that campaign and when you click on that campaign what is it going to show you next let’s go back it’s going to show you hey here’s your Google traffic right by the way here’s your paper click traffic from Google it has all of it separated out granularly so another reason why this is important web design and development as a campaign isn’t just necessarily from Google what if I’m also running Facebook ads for web design and development right and so I’ve got three different campaigns not campaigns but three different ad groups over here on Facebook and I’m running this as we can do this is CPC if it’s Facebook as well right okay because Facebook is paper clicked technically and then let’s say that we had all of these they’re same same campaign and then my term is going to be probably my ads right or my ad groups maybe my ad groups in inside of Facebook so however you want to however you decide is best it really depends on the campaign structure and targeting and all of that what you’re going to put here so imagine now we have two different sources they’re all CPC they’re all part of the same campaign but they’re all different ad groups or ads and so in our dashboard guess what we’re going to see we’re going to see okay here’s how your web development campaign is running and there’s one dashboard it’s going to say here’s how Google’s performing here’s how Facebook’s performing and if you’re like but actually want a little more data than that I want to see how the ad groups in Facebook are performing so you click on Facebook it drills down further and it says here’s all your Facebook ad sets here’s how they’re performing or if you click on if you’re in Google you click on Google and CPC you’re going to see all of your paper click ad sets now what if you were running display ads on top of that so you can see how a campaign is performing overall you can see how a let’s go back to here so back to our UTM list you can see how a campaign is performing overall you can see how a source is performing overall you can see how a medium is performing overall and then you can granularly see how your ad groups or your key word targeting is performing overall that’s so so so powerful and look at this in the dashboard because everybody’s like okay well I don’t just want users and sessions and bounce rate and things like that. No, no, no, no, this is awesome.

Because these campaigns in this area and Google Analytics map directly to the goals that you have set up in Google Analytics. So let’s say you have, as I do, a new inquiry goal, people that are filling out my form or doing my calendar. So if somebody schedules a call on a calendar, they’re taken to a thank you page after that. And that is marked as a new inquiry, right? So I’m going to see how every campaign, every source, every medium, every term is contributing to our campaign goals right here in one dashboard, right? I don’t have to bounce back and forth between, I got to log into the Facebook, ask the dashboard and see how those things are doing. I got to log into the Google dashboard and see how those things are doing. I got to log into the YouTube dashboard and see how those things are doing. I get it, I don’t know where my billboard tracking is. I don’t know where this is or that is. It’s all going to be right here when you use UTM parameters and you keep everything organized and you’re diligent about creating these links. Let me go ahead and delete these because I don’t want to, I don’t want to confuse myself later on. But once this sheet is like really full, all your emails, by the way, are going to be in here as well. If you’re being diligent with tracking your email marketing, so you can see the power of this and once you’ve actually set it up and you realize how much power and control this gives you over your data and how much clarity you’re going to be like, I wish I had known this 10 years ago because the problem with UTM is you can’t go back in time.

They only give you this power and this clarity in your data if you use it now. Like the sooner the better you get this set up. All right. So if you have any questions, drop them down below. I will say the one downside of UTM is it doesn’t do any on-site tracking and I will say this, don’t leave yet because you need to hear this. If you try to use UTM to track calls to action, for example, on your website from one page to another, you will destroy your data. Do not repeat. Do not use UTMs on internal links. Do not do that. You will destroy your data. UTM parameters are for external traffic sources. So that’s one caveat. Don’t use them on internal links. Only use them on external sources. The second caveat is you need control of the source in order to do the tracking. So organic traffic from Google will not be tagged with UTMs because you can’t possibly, you don’t control the link that Google is sending people to, right? The link is the link. It’s the direct link to your page. So you’re not going to be able to track that. But anything that you have control over externally, right? You can use UTMs for and you should be using UTMs for. So let me go back to camera here. That is a quick and dirty overview of what UTM tracking is, how to do it. The other thing I will say, let me actually, let me dive back in here. Let me dive back in one more time. I got one thing to tell you. Over here, bitly links. Don’t use bitly links. Bitly is a link shortening service, right? So you can take this long ugly URL. That’s one of the downsides of UTM URLs. They’re long and ugly. And you can actually shorten them with a link shortening service called bitly.

And if you do that, you get a nice little short, pretty link that you can use somewhere else. You can even use a branded link shortener. So it could be like D or something like and even probably shorter than that. If you can find one or if your client happens to have one, but you can just use a generic bitly link as well. But here’s the thing, more caveats. Don’t use bitly links for Google ads. It’s not a good practice. All right. You want to use the actual long ugly UTM. People are only going to see it in the address bar anyway. So it doesn’t really matter. But there are instances where you don’t want to use this long ugly URL. So you take it, you shorten it in bitly. And here’s an example, a social media post, right? So you write this post on social media and you want a link in there to send people to the website. You don’t want that long ugly UTM link in there. So shorten it and use the short link. And basically what bitly does is it redirects people through this link to the eventual destination. And so the tracking is still in place, but nobody saw it. Nobody knows it’s there, right? So that’s what this is for over here. Notice I didn’t shorten any links because these are for Google CPC in which case we’re not going to use bitly or any link shortners. If I wanted to use, if I wanted to send people to this source, but through another campaign like this destination URL, but from another source, another medium, whatever, I would create a brand new UTM link. And then that’s where I can use bitly link shortners.

That’s the other thing is these links should only be used for these exact situations. Don’t take this link and start putting it all over the place. Because again, that is going to corrupt your data. This link is assigned to these things. This place, this medium, this campaign, this term, nowhere else. Don’t use it anywhere else. You’ll destroy your data. Okay, I think I got the message across. All right, on how to be organized, how to be consistent, how to actually execute something like this. But if you have any questions, if you need clarification on anything, drop your comments below. I’m happy to help. I’m sure there’s plenty of other people who know what UTMs are as well. They can jump in and help you. There is some confusion sometimes around, what do I name my campaign, what do I name my terms? By the way, if you decide that you need, and I’m doing this as if you guys can see my screen, if you decide you need that content, all you can do is, all you have to do is grab that, put that there. Let me just pasting things wrong. Okay, and then this would be called content. And then you would just take the little formula right here, grab that last comma, copy it, paste. This is going to be G2. Okay, and now what you have effectively is the ability to put in content, which we could do whatever the ad is. Let’s say I had multiple, let me go into here now. So this is the design ad group. So I’m going to go into the design ad group. And there’s only one ad, but I could create an additional ad. And if I wanted to tag that with something, I could put that in my, where did it go? My content box. So we’ll just say example A, something like that. And then there could be an example B, an example C. And now I’m tagging my actual ads that are inside the ad group. And if I go to the process URL, you’re going to see when I copy it, come up here and paste. Oops, I don’t want to actually hit enter. Okay, great, whatever. But you can see up here in the top now that says UTM term equals example A. So I’ve effectively added additional data onto the end of my URLs. Again, that is totally optional. You don’t have to do that.

But this is where a lot of the confusion comes into play. And where it is helpful to ask other people, hey, what should I do here? How should I organize this? I don’t know what to put for my campaign. I don’t know what to put for my term. I don’t know what to put for my content. And we can jump in and help you out. So that’s it. That’s the end of the training. Should be nice and short and sweet. My main call to action to you is get this spreadsheet, make a copy of it, set it up at least for one of your clients or for yourself. Start doing testing with it, see the value in it, and then as quickly as possible extend this out to all of your other clients. All right, that’s it. I’ll be back very soon with another training. Peace.