What are UTM Tags and how to properly use them?

In the digital world, one of the fundamental aspects that any e-commerce specialist must take into account is the analysis and measurement of the success of their marketing strategy. Measuring the results of any online marketing campaign may seem quite difficult, since at first glance it is not easy to know which publications direct that certain percentage of traffic to your website. However, there is a fantastic way to track those results and it is to use special tags that are added at the end of the URL, called UTM tags.

The UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters or tags are small pieces of text that begin with a question mark (?) and are added at the end of the URL in order to assist in the monitoring and analysis of users. With these codes you will be able to know everything about the traffic that arrives to your web page from any link, regardless of whether the links are from Facebook, Twitter, a social announcement or an email message. Below is an example URL, with the UTM parameters highlighted following the question mark (?):


Adding the pieces of code after the question mark does not affect anything on the page, or the organic search engine optimization (SEO). Only allow your web analytics tool (for example, Google Analytics) to report which domains are and which campaigns are bringing traffic to your website. When a person clicks on a URL with UTM code, the analysis software interprets the visitor's origin. He then attributes everything he does on the visit to that same user.

In this way, the visitor will complete the web entry in a normal way. You will be able to know what type of website it comes from, the medium it has used to arrive or other information that will help you better profile your visitors. Each code will provide you with a specific type of information that you can use to know what your audience is like and follow it.

Types of UTM tags

UTM tags are five variants of URL parameters. However, in order to perform a correct measurement of results, it is mandatory to include these three variables: utm_source, utm_campaign, utm_medium. The five types of existing UTM codes are:

  1. utm_source: What website is sending traffic? To answer these types of questions, it is essential and mandatory to use this type of UTM, which in turn allows you to identify a search engine, the name of a newsletter or other type of source. An example of this type of UTM codes is the following: utm_source=facebook. Through this UTM code you identify that the source from which a user has reached you is Facebook.
  2. utm_campaign: What promotion has the client brought to your site? It is highly mandatory to use this type of UTM codes. This tag identifies the type of campaign that has definitely managed to attract traffic to your website. To know the campaign in which you are investing and to know if it is offering the expected results it is essential that you identify it with codes such as: utm_campaign=summer-sale, which allows to know that what has worked is the campaign to launch a new product in summer.
  3. utm_medium: What is the means of the campaign? Together with the UTM source and campaign codes, it is mandatory to measure marketing campaigns well. This is the code that measures the middle of the campaign. The code can identify media such as email or cpc campaigns. For example, the code utm_medium=cpc refers to the traffic coming from a specific cost-per-click campaign.
  4. utm_term: By what term have they searched for you? It is important to know what words the client uses to reach you. The keywords used in search engines are important for several reasons, but mainly to know with which word you position and discard the words that do not position you. For example: utm_term=honeymoons allows you to identify that the traffic comes from a campaign that attacks the keyword honeymoons.
  5. utm_content: What kind of content is it that has taken the client to the website? This type of UTM will help you get interesting data A / B tests. Knowing for sure what kind of element is the one that has taken the client to you is essential. With this information you will know that from now on you will have to bet on a specific type of content, which is what reports you visitors. For the A / B tests it is also necessary to know what kind of content to put in their pages and elements. For example, a style code of utm_content=product-4-photos identifies that the link from product contents with 4 photographs works to attract visitors.

How to create UTM tags

To define and add the relevant UTM parameters to the appropriate URLs, you can use a small on-line tool, like UTM Editor.

UTM Editor screenshot

Google Ads auto tagging

Automatic tagging automatically imports Google Ads data into Analytics. If you combine Google Ads data with the information provided by Analytics about user actions, you can find out what happened on your website after they clicked on the ads.

When you enable automatic tagging, a Google click ID called gclid is added to the landing page URL when a user accesses your website after clicking on an ad. For example, if your website is https://www.example.com/, when a user clicks on your ad, it will appear in the address bar as follows: https://www.example.com/?gclid=123xyz To enable automatic tagging you must do the following:

  1. Sign in to your Google Ads account.
  2. In the menu on the left, click on Settings.
  3. Click on the Account Settings tab above the table.
  4. Click on the Automatic labeling section.
  5. To enable automatic tagging, select Tag my ad destination URL.
  6. Click on Save.

Among the different advantages of using automatic Google Ads tagging are:

  • Save the job of manually tagging all final URLs.
  • Avoid errors that can occur when manually tagging URLs. For example, utm_source=Google is not the same as utm_source=google.
  • Analytics goals and transactions can be imported into Google Ads conversion tracking.
  • Offers more detailed Analytics reports.

Use of UTM tags

There are different cases in which you can make use of UTM tags, among them are:

1. Insert the UTM parameter in the URLs you share in your social media profiles.

Suppose you want to find your social network platform with better ROI and which links on this platform work best in terms of traffic. Then, UTMs can help you analyze your referral traffic on a social network.

For example, on Twitter, you have 4 options to promote your links a regular tweet, a promotional tweet, a website field and a profile / biography description. Except for the profile link (since it shows the first part of the URL you entered), you can track all clicks on these links separately. Below are some examples of UTM parameter strings, based on Twitter with different media values.


Similarly, on Facebook you can use UTM links separately to promote posts, contact information, posts in a group, organic posts from your page and more. Once you start obtaining data you will get a Google Analytics report rich in reference information.

2. Test the clicks from your newsletter

Do you want to understand the parameters within your newsletter that contribute to the majority of your website traffic? So, inserting UTM parameters to your URLs can help. Let's look at an example of an instant email response. All links within the email share these UTM parameters:


But different values for utm_content have been set correctly for all links. So, even when myredfin list subscribers go to the same page, Redfin knows the link they clicked on. You can implement more UTM parameters within your email signature to track what makes your visitors go to your site.

3. Track the most effective features of your brand ads

If you regularly do paid marketing such as using Google Ads, then I'm sure you'd like to know which ads work best.

With the UTM parameters, you can not only find the external site that brings the most traffic, but also know what ad location, design, size, color and type of ad are most effective. For example, suppose you use two ad sizes, 300px and 600px, to advertise an external website. Once you have labeled both sizes, you can easily find the one that is most effective and offer more for it. Once again, it should be noted that if you have set a set of goals in Google Analytics, then you can find the most valuable piece of information that affects your business.

4. Track the status of emails.

As is well known, most email service providers offer relevant information and statistics about the campaigns you send. So you usually just keep track of the status of emails: sent, opened, clicked, bounced, blocked, marked as spam, unsubscribe, among others. However, this does not allow you to really see what happened after the reader clicked on your call to action.
This is a limitation, since email service providers are not client management tools. This is where UTM tags can help you because they allow you to locate the source and medium of each link to your website, identify who visited what, and track visits to your website.

With this information, you will be able to know the preferences of your readers and send them more personalized offers and emails. You can attract (hopefully) your attention more easily and strengthen your relationship with your brand. In addition, making small modifications to your links can help you increase your income and interact better with your potential customers and existing customers.
Understanding precisely what drives your contacts to open your emails, click on your links and navigate your website is the best way to integrate your email strategy into your global marketing campaign.

Benefits of using UTM tags

The greatest added value offered by UTM codes is that you can combine them to get an exhaustive track of everything that happens in your media. Other benefits are the following:

  • Know specifically where the visits come from and what actions have taken them to the website or your landing page.
  • Optimize investment in marketing campaigns.
  • Optimize the list of keywords used in your marketing campaigns.
  • Discover what kind of content is the one that triumphs between your visits.
  • Obtain useful information to later use in the segmentation of the public and in the elaboration of the content.
  • Identify the promotion that has taken traffic to your website.
  • If you have several types of campaigns, with different media, it will help you know what specific campaign the customers come from.
  • Optimize actions in digital marketing in order to achieve more conversions.
  • Enrich the results of analytical systems.
  • Analyze the operation of content shared or created on social networks.
  • Knowing to what extent your social networks help position and promote your content.
  • Learn how each element created in the different communication channels available works.
  • Analyze the operation and effectiveness of internal links.


Combined with Google Analytics, UTM tags are a powerful tool to measure the results of your social media marketing efforts as they provide extremely valuable insights into your traffic. These will help you analyze in detail what works and what is not working, you can also dig a gold mine in your audience's behavioral data with them and in this way attract more clients, build loyalty and increase your sales.