REACH Network Team
REACH Network Team
December 23, 2013
10:48 am

UTM Tags and How They Benefit PPC Advertising

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You know how sometimes when shopping you need to make a little effort to get a bonus. Like, you may fill in a questionnaire and get a discount card. It’s similar with UTM tags: you need to modify your click URL just a little to be able to get loads of valuable statistics in addition to your cool PPC campaign results. So let’s just see what UTM tags are all about and how they can make your life easier.


What is a UTM Tag?

Basically UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Well, this doesn’t say us a lot. But in a nutshell a UTM tag is a small code that you add to your click URL when creating a PPC campaign or an email text to enhance statistics tracking with tools like Google Analytics.

The thing is these small identifiers are perceived by GA as dimensions just like Landing page or Country/Territory. The URL with several UTM tags appended does look scary but the visitor won’t see them as there is no need to add the tags to the display URL.

Of course, the charts on your PPC advertiser account provide statistics on the campaigns themselves. But this data isn’t enough to compare the ads’ performance with results from applying other promotional tools like SEO or email marketing.

How to Apply UTM tags in PPC Advertising?

Some PPC networks like Google Adwords tune the proper tracking automatically – one just needs to enable the auto-tagging option.

It’s more interesting in other networks including REACH Network where you need to insert the tags manually. However, the required UTM tags are already included into the example link, so you may just copy them.


The example link incorporates utm_source, utm_medium and utm_campaign tags. These are enough for basic tracking. However, you may also add utm_term for keyword-targeted campaigns and utm_content if you decide to carry out a small A/B test. Here is more about these five UTM tags.


If you actually use several PPC networks to promote your website, this is the tag where you are supposed to insert the name of the network. This way you’ll be able to separately track PPC campaign performances demonstrated by different networks.


This is used to define the traffic acquisition channel in general. You are supposed to write ppc or cpc in here. Remember to be consistent: if you have once written ppc, don’t change it to cpc in your future campaigns. With this tag even if you set up campaigns in different networks, you may analyze the overall effect of pay per click advertising versus social media, direct traffic and so on.


This applies if you run several campaigns for the same website. For example three campaigns for different landing pages within your website. In this case you should assign different names to different campaigns and insert these names into utm_campaign tags.


If you experiment with different ad texts, it is convenient to use this identifier. Assign different utm_content tags to the campaigns with different ad messages.


This is used to analyze how different keywords perform. This only applies to Search campaigns. You don’t need this tag when advertising with run-of-network traffic.


It’s not necessary to attach all the UTM tags to your click URL. Anyway, you should remember that the more campaigns you run and the more PPC networks you employ – the more sophisticated approach you should take to adding UTM tags.

Also don’t forget that if you don’t add the UTM tags from the outset of the campaign, you’ll be able to see the organized statistics for the campaigns only since the moment when URL tracking has been applied.

The field of UTM tags application goes beyond PPC advertising. It’s a great technique for measuring the effectiveness of multiple promotion tools. Like, you may use the URL with the added tags when sharing your link via social media or in the emails. And the good thing is that you may even shorten links with UTM tags using tools like

As you see these little codes make your analytical reports more organized. And when you see a sharp decrease in campaign statistics, it will be easier to find out where the problem takes its roots if you’ve applied URL tracking properly.

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