How do UTMs work?
With a neutral URL like www.url-neutre.com, you can indicate which page you want your prospects to visit. Yet, by adding a little extra information, you can also find out exactly which channel they used to reach you and organise this information in Google Analytics.
How? Use Campaign URL Builder in Google Analytics:
Source: Google Analytics Link Builder
This involves enriching your basic URL (website URL) using 5 variables. The first 3 – campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name – are essential. The remaining 2 (term and content) are only really useful if you have large volumes of traffic or specific needs e.g. for A/B testing.
Source: Google Analytics Link Builder
The new URL will be longer but much easier for Google Analytics to understand and sort.
“But I thought Google Analytics analysed my traffic automatically!”
Yes, Google Analytics does just what its name suggests, analyse. The basic configuration provides various pieces of information about your traffic including language, country, site of origin and which ads are most effective. But…
… and if the source isn’t Google or Bing,
it doesn’t come from a search engine…
Four main reasons to this:
1. The preconfigured groups are very generic. Typically, if the source isn’t Google or Bing, Google Analytics considers that it doesn’t come from a search engine. This unbending rule enables Google Analytics to categorise almost all your traffic, except if, for one reason or another, a significant percentage comes from another search engine like DuckDuckGo or Baidu.
2. The sources assigned to your traffic isn’t 100% reliable. Sometimes Google Analytics confuses an internet site and click from an email.
3. The information collected automatically is limited. For example, it doesn’t include your campaign name. This is understandable – how could Google Analytics know?
4. Google Analytics isn’t able to categorise all the sources and is much less effective when the click comes from an email signature, WhatsApp conversation or PDF link.
So, we need to give a helping hand. Yes, it can be a little time-consuming, but it really is worth the extra effort.
Personalising your UTMs: an intricate art
To obtain clean analytics, it is vital to define the terms you want to use in each field in the Campaign URL Builder in advance with everyone involved. It’s best to create a written Lead SLA document that acts as a bible to answer any key questions like “what do we call a lead?” “Do we say newsletter, email or EMAIL?” (Yes, Google Analytics does take capitals into account).
“We don’t just want to collect data.
What matters is being able to interpret it.“
When creating your “Lead SLA” specifications, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The regrouping carried out automatically by GA follows precise rules, so it’s best not to stray too far. The acquisition channels that appear in the reports (e.g. organic, social and email) are attributed according to the medium and source parameters via Campaign URL Builder, and the options are limited. If you create an “online mail” category, GA will gently (but firmly) suggest using “email”, creating a new and separate channel as you can see on this help page.
We therefore recommend sticking as closely as possible to the terms used by GA. Why waste your precious time?
A word of warning: in some cases (email signatures and links from other sites), you have full control over the incoming links, and you can personalise the UTMs to ensure the correct attribution and make your data easier to read and more useful. In other cases, like for search engines, you don’t have a free hand, and the sources will be corrected by your Data Analytics configuration; but that’s a whole other story (and blog post)!
Once you’ve set your UTMs, make sure you’ve also implemented a tracking system to monitor your objectives. The next step involves establishing the link between your analytics and sales. You could even automatically integrate your analytics data in your CRM, so you can say with certainty that “last week, www.clique-ici.com earn me €2,300 in sales and 15 qualified leads.”
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