We all need to track where our links go and Google has provided a system for tracking manually inserted links into Google Analytics – UTM tracking.

However, Google’s own tool for creating these links is great if you are only creating single links at a time, as well as it doesn’t provide you with an easy way of saving those links that you have created over the long term so you can reference back later.

This is why I have created this UTM link builder tool – so you can easily create tracking links AND save them in a format where it is easy to refer back to at a later date when you go through your Google Analytics account.

But first…

What is UTM tracking?

UTM tracking simply allows you to create offline or manual links that use the same five data points that Google Analytics uses for automatically tagged traffic. It’s important to remember that not all fields need to be used, in fact, only the utm_source field is required besides the URL of course.

If you delve into the various channel, medium and source reports, or use the channel grouping feature of Google Analytics, then you’re already effectively using reports based on UTM tracking. Think of it like this: if a user comes from an organic search click via the Google SERP, then effectively they’ve been tagged as coming from google as the medium and organic as the source, but these values have automatically been recorded for you by Google Analytics.

As smart as Google Analytics is, it can’t identify all traffic sources without a little help; think of it this way: if you manually write or copy a URL into a place where a user is expected to click on it, then you should tag that URL.

The main example of this is when creating emails that you send to your users. If you use your homepage as a link for the main call to action in the email, then when you come back later and check to see how well your email did, Google Analytics won’t know the difference between a click from your email or someone just typing in your domain into the browser. In fact, Google Analytics will record this session as a direct visit and all your hard work with your email will be in vain.

Now that you want to know if a transaction or conversion has taken place as a result of a specific email campaign. Or if your oh-so-witty social media post drove conversions. Then UTM tracking can do this for you. After all, it allows you to track clicks from anywhere in Google Analytics, including, say your email signature.

UTM tag elements

ElementUsed forExample
Website URLThe full URL for the user to visit This field is requiredhttps://example.com
Campaign sourceThe name of the referrer This field is requiredgoogle, mailchimp, facebook
Campaign mediumThe medium usedemail, cpc, social
Campaign nameTitle of the activity this tracked link is part ofchristmassale, marchnewsletter
Campaign termThe related keyword. Generally, you shouldn’t use this unless it a paid, keyword-based campaignutmtrackingdigital marketing
Campaign contentUsed to differentiate parts of a campaignmainlogo, footerlogo, skyscrapper

One important thing to note is that Google Analytics is case sensitive, therefore emailEmail and cpcCPC.

The UTM link builder template

Of course, you can use Google’s UTM campaign builder, but if you’re going to create multiple UTM-tagged links over time then it might make sense to keep all of those links in one spot. As such, I’ve created a Google Sheets UTM link builder template that you can find by entering your email below then keeping an eye on your inbox.

Get the free UTM link tracking template

In order to make a copy so you can use it yourself, then go to File > Make a copy. Simple!

Sam Wiltshire

Passionate digital marketer with an interest in most things sport, especially rugby union, food, booze, tech and music. Just wanting to help small content publishers with getting more content ideas that resonate with their users at scale. My Medium page where I write about more conceptual subjects.