Understanding the effectiveness of your marketing efforts is crucial for any business. One powerful tool for tracking and analyzing campaign performance is the UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) link. In this simple guide, we explain what UTM links are, how we use them at Phoenix Media, along with their benefits, how to create them, measure their performance using Google Analytics 4 (GA4), and the best way to integrate them into various marketing campaigns.

What is a UTM Link?

A UTM link is a snippet of text used to create a URL that has extra details added to help track where the traffic on your website is coming from. These unique links let you monitor how well your marketing campaigns and channels are performing, giving you valuable information on which efforts are bringing the most visitors and leading to the most conversions.

Fast Fact: In 2005, Google acquired Urchin Software Corporation, whose product served as the foundation for Google Analytics as it exists today.

UTM Link Benefits and Uses in Marketing Campaigns

At Phoenix Media, we regularly use UTM links to track and monitor the effectiveness of our clients’ digital marketing campaigns. If you are sharing lots of URLs as part of your campaigns, you might wish to consider using them too. Here are some key benefits of using UTM links:

Tracking Campaign Performance: By assigning unique UTM parameters to each marketing campaign, we can accurately measure the traffic, engagement, and conversions generated from different sources like social media, email newsletters, or paid ads. This helps us understand which strategies are most effective.

Determining Channel Attribution: UTM links enable us to attribute website traffic to specific marketing channels. This allows us to identify which channels are driving the most visitors to the site.

Content Analysis: By using UTM links for different types of content like blog posts, videos, or web pages, you can analyze which content is most effective at engaging your audience and contributing to conversions.

Paid Advertising Optimization: In paid ad campaigns on platforms like Google Ads or Facebook Ads, UTM links let you track the performance of individual ad creatives, keywords, or targeting options. This allows for better optimization and smarter budget allocation.

Social media: When sharing content or promoting offers on social media platforms, use UTM links to track traffic and conversions from specific social channels or campaigns.

Email campaigns: Include UTM links in campaigns such as e­mail newsletters or promotions to track e­ngagement and conversions from your email campaigns.

Referral Source Tracking: UTM links can help you identify where your referral traffic is coming from, such as other websites, influencers, or affiliate partners. This provides valuable insights into your most beneficial partnerships and collaborations.

How to Create a UTM Link

Creating a UTM link is a straightforward process, and Google provides a tool called the Campaign URL Builder to simplify this task.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Visit the Campaign URL Builder (https://ga-dev-tools.google/campaign-url-builder/).
  2. Once in the tool, fill out all fields below, and the campaign URL will be generated for you.

The required fields are marked by an asterisk on the page above and they are URL, Source, Medium and Campaign. Here is what you should see when filling out the tool:

UTM Builder


Website URL

The full website URL (e.g., https://www.example.com)

Campaign Source

The referrer (e.g., google, newsletter)

Campaign Medium

Marketing medium (e.g., cpc, banner, email)

Campaign Name

Product, promo code, slogan or campaign name (e.g., SpringSale)

Campaign Term

Identify the paid keywords

Campaign Content

Use to differentiate ads

Our Pro Tip: You’ll save a lot of time down the road if you use a template for your tracking parameters and follow it

UTM Template

Download our free UTM Builder Template here: https://bit.ly/PhoenixUTM

Also, as UTM links are case-sensitive, you won’t have consistent data if your naming standards are not fixed. For instance, your metrics will not align if you use “instagram” and “Instagram” as your sources in the same campaign.

We recommend just using lowercase characters everywhere for simplicity.

Related to this point, avoid symbols as well. Particularly, adding more “?” and “&” characters might cause errors in your UTM links.

How to Measure the Performance (via GA4)

To measure the performance of your UTM links, you’ll need to have proper tracking set up in your website analytics platform, like Google Analytics 4 (GA4). In GA4, you can view the details about the traffic and conversions generated from each of your UTM campaigns by going to the “Acquisition” reports.

Here’s an example of what the traffic report might look like when analyzing a UTM campaign:

Example UTM in GA4

The traffic acquisition report gives you valuable insights into how your UTM campaigns are performing. You can use this information to identify the most effective marketing channels, improve your strategies, and make decisions based on the actual data.

UTM links are designed to track details like the source (where the traffic is coming from), medium (how is traffic coming to you), and other specifics of website traffic generated by your marketing campaigns. We recommend including them in your marketing planning efforts, as the data can offer valuable insights to optimize your strategies and maximize your marketing investments.

Download our free UTM Builder Template here: https://bit.ly/PhoenixUTM (make a copy to add your own data)


  • Published on : Monday April 1, 2024

About the author

As the managing partner for Phoenix Media, Rob brings over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and running successful agencies in the UK, Australia and Thailand. Starting in a sales role he has covered all aspects of the agency from sales and service to technical ad operations. Reach him directly on rob@phoenixmedia.co.th

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