UTM tracking in Google Analytics allows you to determine where exactly someone is coming to your website from.  This is done by putting parameters in the URL.

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module.  Urchin was a software company that developed a web statistics analysis program.  Google acquired them and became Google Analytics.

Here is a sample URL with UTM parameters.  https://www.example.com/?utm_source=summer-mailer&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=summer-sale

The main reason to use UTM tracking is so you can determine exactly where someone came to your website.  This is possible because you build the URL with UTM parameters yourself.  So, you know where you added the hyperlink.  You can add these links to many marketing efforts like email newsletters, social media accounts and advertisements.  Since you can control the parameters, they can be descriptive to help you understand your campaigns effectiveness.

There are 5 parameters you can use.  They are source, medium, campaign, term and content.  The first three are required.  Source can be used to identify the place sending traffic like newsletter.  Medium can be the type of source like email.  Campaign could be the name of the campaign.  Term is used to identify paid keywords.  Content can be used to differentiate different campaigns.

It is important to note the you should standardize your values so they show in the same place in Google Analytics.  Additionally, the terms are case-sensitive so don’t mismatched capitalization in terms.

After you have added UTM tracking to your URLs on different websites, social media posts, email newsletters, paid ads, etc., you can see the terms in different reports in Google Analytics.

If you would like to learn more about how to setup UTM tracking in Google Analytics, check out a companion article on Digital Marketing Extreme.