Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Menu
Search the Staffnet siteSearch StaffNet
Search type

Tracking campaigns

If you are running University-related digital campaigns, it's very important that you understand the impact these campaigns are having, particularly the amount of traffic they are generating to University websites. The best way to track traffic to our websites coming from digital campaigns is by using UTMs. Please note that for tracking traffic coming from URLs used on printed publications the University has acquired the licence for ClickMeter, a URL shortener service. See more information about ClickMeter on our guidance page.

UTMs

UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) are a short piece of code that can be attached (appended) to a URL in order to ensure all website visits can be tracked in Google Analytics (GA).  By using UTMs we can examine the behaviour of users attracted by a specific campaign and compare this both to other campaigns and other mediums within the same campaign. 

UTMs look similar to this: 

?utm_source=communigator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19

Everything after the ‘?’ provides information for GA to correctly discern the source of visits from the link. 

A UTM must be made up of the following components: 

  • utm_source: This is the referrer of the visits, which could be an ad platform, 3rd party affiliate, email service or publishers. Examples:
    • communigator
    • facebook
    • topunis
  • utm_medium: This is the means by which the visitor arrived on our website. It’s important we use the correct medium in UTMs to ensure data is categorised correctly in GA (it’s assigned to the correct channel). Note that some mediums are automatically assigned in GA. 

    Channel grouping Medium How is channel assigned in GA according to medium
    Organic search organic

     

    Automatically assigned in GA when traffic comes from a search engine, Google, for example.
    DO NOT USE IN UTMs.
    Direct (none) or (not set) Automatically assigned in GA when traffic is created by a user typing a site URL.
    DO NOT USE in UTMs.
    Referral referral Automatically assigned in GA when traffic is created by a user clicking on a site link on another site. DO NOT USE IN UTMs.
    Social social or referral
    (when coming
    from social media channels)
    Automatically assigned in GA but it can be assigned manually in UTMs.
    PaidSocial paidsocial It is assigned manually in UTMs.
    Paid Search cpc Automatically assigned in GA but it can be assigned manually in UTMs.
    Other advertising advertising Automatically assigned in GA but it can be assigned manually in UTMs.
    Email email Automatically assigned in GA but it can be assigned manually in UTMs.
    Display display   or
    banner

    It is assigned manually in UTMs.

    Print print It is assigned manually in UTMs
    (Other) There is no match Automatically assigned in GA.
  • utm_campaign: This is the name of the campaign. If a campaign is used across different channels, the same campaign name should be used to ensure data is organised under a single campaign in GA.
  • utm_term: Manly used for tracking keywords during a paid GoolgeAds campaign (optional).
  • utm_content: Mainly used if A/B testing ads or to differentiate links that go the same URL (optional). 

Applying a UTM to a URL

To apply a UTM to a URL (for example www.example.com/courses/example-course/) we simply append it to the end of the URL as such: 

  • www.example.com/courses/example-course/?utm_source=communigator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19

Any traffic that arrives from this link will be attributed to the offerholdersnov19 campaign in GA.

UTMs should almost always be applied to the end of a URL (regardless of whether or not it ends with a /). The only exception to this rule is cases where the link uses an anchor link to direct visitors to a certain section of a page, in which case the anchor link should be placed after the UTM. Example:

  • www.example.com/courses/example-course/?utm_source=communigator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19#anchorname

UTMs for campaigns

When creating UTMs, use the respective medium shown in the tables below depending on the type of digital campaign you're running (this will ensure that the traffic is assigned to the correct GA channel). Please note that UTMs are case sensitive and should always be in lower case.

UTMs for social media campaigns

Source

Medium 

Campaign

Name of social media channel, eg twitter

social

Name of campaign


UTMs for paid social media campaigns

Source

Medium

Campaign

Name of social media channel, eg facebook

paidsocial

Name of campaign

 

Example: 

  • .../example-course/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19
  • .../example-course/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=paidsocial&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19

UTMs for email campaigns

Source

Medium

Campaign

Name of email channel, eg communigator

email

Name of campaign

Example: 

  • .../example-course/?utm_source=communigator&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eupdatedec19

UTMs for advertising campaigns

Source

Medium 

Campaign

Name of source, eg name of website in which the ad
will appear

cpc

Name of campaign

Example: 

  • .../example-course/?utm_source=ucaswebsite&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19

UTMs for display campaigns

Source

Medium 

Campaign

Name of online channel, eg name of online magazine

banner
display   

Name of campaign

 Example: 

  • .../example-course/?utm_source=timemagazine&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19

UTMs for print campaigns

Source

Medium 

Campaign

Name of print channel, eg pocketguide

print  

Name of campaign

 Example: 

  • .../example-course/?utm_source=pocketguide&utm_medium=print&utm_campaign=UGRecruitment

 

UTM Best practice

  • Ensure UTMs are applied to all traffic you have control over: every link that forms part of a digital campaign - even if it’s not a paid-for element - should be tagged with a UTM.
  • Be consistent in your use of tags 

In order to ensure data is easy to find and compare, it’s vital to be consistent in your use of UTMs, especially when referring to periodical campaigns (e.g offerholdersnov19 / offerholdersdec19) or a series of campaigns on the same theme. 

Some quick rules for consistency include: 

  • Use short, descriptive names: Abbreviations are fine as long as they’re understandable and be sure to avoid long phrases. You should strive to name a campaign in such a way as to allow someone who was not involved with it to interpret what it was about.
  • Use lower-case:UTMs are case-sensitive, so to prevent confusion or duplication,  all UTMs should be completely in lower case
  • Include dates: Be sure to include dates at the end of the campaign element. For example, if the campaign was run across - or during - November 2019, we would simply add ‘nov19’ to the campaign parameter.
  • Tag paid search traffic with medium  ‘cpc’ if not using GoogleAds autotags; using this tag will make it easier to compare paid-for search channels
  • Tag paid social traffic with medium ‘paidsocial’; this will prevent it from getting confused with that of paid search or organic social and allow easy comparison of campaigns. 
  • Don’t use spaces or special characters
  • Indicate geography if running the same campaign in multiple countries: simply preface the ‘source’ element of your UTM with a signifier for each separate country you’re running the campaign in. For instance the below UTMs would differentiate the same CPC campaign run in Germany and France:
    • ?utm_source=destudyinternational&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19
    • ?utm_source=frstudyinternational&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=offerholdersnov19      
    • See list of country abbreviations
  • Update UTMs if you’ve made mid-campaign changes to ads - if you’ve made significant changes to assets during the course of campaign, it’s important to update your UTMs to reflect these. 

Using Google’s Campaign URL Builder

One easy way to build a UTM is via Google’s Campaign URL Builder tool. This enables you to simply input the campaign URL and particulars and get a UTM-tagged URL that is ready for use.

Getting campaign traffic data from Google Analytics

To check data generated from campaigns in Google Analytics*, do the following:

On left hand side navigation go to Acquisition > Campaigns > All campaigns > (search for relevant campaign name on Campaign column)

The Sessions column will display how many sessions (visits) a specific campaign has generated to the destination page (how many times users have clicked on the UTM link).

*You need access to the site data in GA. If you don't have access please contact the site owner.