UTM Tagging with Google Spreadsheets

Tracking all your campaigns can be challenging, especially if you do multichannel marketing. Let me show you a simple tool that will increase your efficiency in campaign management and provide better data in Google Analytics.

UTM tagging is a great tool that Google Analytics gives to thousands of digital marketers. If used right, it helps us analyze more accurate data and make better informed decisions. It gives us the ability to be able to determine which campaigns perform well and which ones are just throwing money out of a window.

What are UTM parameters?

And why should I care?

UTM parameters are tags that you add usually at the end of a URL. These tags help Google Analytics recognize the source of visits by providing detailed information from where the user is coming.

Let’s see a few examples when using UTM parameters is quite essential:

  • You wrote an outstanding eBook with a few backlinks to your site.
  • You sent a newsletter to your mailing list.
  • You’re running AdWords campaigns.
  • You’re doing Facebook marketing.

If you don’t use UTM parameters in all these scenarios, you will be unable to evaluate whether or not your campaigns are profitable.

Types of UTM parameters

UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” and there are five parameters:

  • utm_medium (required) – the medium of your traffic (email, cpc, referral, etc.)
  • utm_source (required) – the source of your traffic (newsletter, google, etc.)
  • utm_campaign (required) – the campaign name (ebook launch, summer sale, etc.)
  • utm_term (optional) – the keyword (mainly used for paid ads)
  • utm_content (optional) – any other details (appropriate for A/B testing and differentiating links in an email, etc.)

If you want to learn more about UTM tagging, you can read this post from KissMetrics.

How to create URL with UTM parameters?

That was enough theory so let’s do some work. If I wrote an eBook and wanted to send a heads-up to my mailing list, I could use this URL:

https://linktosheets.com/ebook/

But I would rather send a link including UTM parameters:

https://linktosheets.com/ebook/?utm_source=newletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ebook-launch

Generating custom campaign parameters for your URLs is quite simple with URL Builder from Google.

Sounds easy, right?

However, once you start working with bigger campaigns or in a team, it may become more challenging to keep track of all UTM parameters that have been used before.

Inconsistent traffic sources in Google Analytics
An example of two emails from the same campaign that were tracked separately due to inconsistency in UTM tagging.

UTM tagging tool (spreadsheet)

In order to stay organized and keep track of all UTM parameters I have used before, I created a Google spreadsheet that adds UTM parameters to my URL.

Because I wanted to avoid mistyping campaign name, campaign source and medium, the sheet remembers those values and suggests them for further usage.

* To see suggestions, click on the arrow facing down on the right side of a cell.

Also, all these parameters are case sensitive, therefore, the sheet automatically transforms the parameters to lowercase.

  • eBook Launch => ebook launch

Lastly, there is a formula replacing spaces with %20. Is it necessary? Yes, because some characters simply can’t be used in a URL. It’s called percent encoding.

I hope you will find this spreadsheet helpful and it will help you manage campaigns more efficient.

Please feel free to share how you manage UTM parameters in comments. And if you have any suggestion how to improve this tool, write it down as well.

Open the Sheet

I'm an SEO Strategist who enjoys technical aspects of SEO and web analytics because you can't optimize anything if you don't measure it.
  • https://chrisschwartze.com Chris Schwartze

    This is really good dude. Thanks Robin

    • http://rozhon.com/ Robin Rozhon

      Thanks, Chris! I’m glad it’s useful for you.