Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About UTM Email Tracking

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About UTM Email Tracking
13 May, 2024 • ... • 14 views
Varvara Potekhina
by Varvara Potekhina

One of the best aspects of email marketing is in-depth analytics. You can study how subscribers interact with your email, see the open rate and click-through rate to analyze campaigns’ engagement. But what if you need to compare link clicks between different emails or campaign channels?

There is a way to know how many clients came from this or the previous newsletter and measure it against the number of prospects from social media or ads. Meet the UTM code — a tool designed for email tracking and tracking visits from other marketing channels. UTM email tracking will let you know where exactly users came from and what they did next on your website.

What’s a UTM code?

UTM code is a string of text after the main link. It adds several parameters to the link and lets the marketer know which source or channel the user came to the website from. The data on your campaign can be viewed in Google Analytics or other traffic tracking tools. To access it, you need to integrate the platform with the website beforehand.

The UTM-marked link with several parameters typically looks something like this:

https://selzy.com/en/blog/utm-email-tracking/?utm_source=04042024_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=retention?utm_content=red_button

With a UTM code, you can see the source of traffic: how many users visited the website after clicking on a link in your newsletter campaign, social media, related articles, or any other sources. You can also make a unique UTM code for each of your emails and see which ones ended up being the most efficient. You can even paste several links in one email, add different UTM parameters to them, and see which one performed better.

Main types of UTM tags for email campaigns

In the link above, you can see several parameters in the UTM code: source, medium, campaign, and content. They help a marketer track every campaign and identify the exact channel the user came from and even the exact banner or ad if there were several of them. Let’s see what these tags track.

utm_source

This parameter identifies the source a user came from, like “Facebook”, “X” or “newsletter”. 

utm_medium

This parameter identifies the marketing channel the user came from. It’s broader than the source. For example, both sources “Facebook” and “Instagram” would refer to one medium — “social”. 

utm_campaign

This parameter identifies the marketing campaign that contains the link the prospect used to get to your website. You can name it based on the specific campaign like “winter_collection_promo”, or based on a broader campaign goal like “user_aquisition”.

utm_content

This parameter identifies the exact piece of content the user clicked on to follow your link, like the exact ad, banner, or button. 

Let’s get back to our example and check the parameters:

https://selzy.com/en/blog/utm-email-tracking/?utm_source=04042024_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm _campaign=retention?utm_content=red_button

The source “04042024_newsletter” means the user followed the link from the exact newsletter sent on April 4. The medium is email, so generally, the user came to the website from their inbox. Next, the campaign is “retention” which might include different activities in email marketing, social media, etc. Finally, the content is “red_button” to indicate which of the several links was used.

Why use UTM email tracking

The more users visit your website, the bigger your potential for converting them into buyers. When you use UTM for tracking email you always know how many prospects came to your website via emails. You can track your campaign and notice when your traffic is lagging to check for potential issues like dynamic email content mishaps and resolve them. You can do A/B testing to see what works for your readers and define the best practices for your newsletters.

Using UTM codes for tracking email, you can set precise KPIs and evaluate the performance of your email marketing campaign in terms of achieving specific goals. UTM codes in Google Analytics allow you to see how many readers of the exact newsletter visited your website, added something to their cart, or made purchases — whatever your goal is.

You can also compare your email marketing campaign performance with other channels like social media. We recommend that you use UTM tracking for every digital marketing channel you use. 

How to set up UTM for email campaigns

Setting up UTM for your email campaigns starts with adding UTM codes to all the links you use in your newsletter. Keep in mind that your website should be integrated with Google Analytics so that you can track the performance of your marketing efforts. Read our guide on email tracking in Google Analytics 4 to learn more about this tool.

When Google Analytics is integrated, you simply use the tagged links in your email and as users follow them, the service shows you data about the website traffic.

Note that once you start to add UTMs to links, their number will grow rapidly. There is no universal classification for the UTM names, you assign them yourself, so when you track lots of links, you might get confused by the tags from time to time. We recommend that you record every new tracked link you create in an Excel file with the links, unified UTM tags, and short comments on what these links are and where you use them.

There are two general options to create links with the UTM tags — manual and automatic.

Manual creation of codes

You can create the UTM code manually by adding a string of text with tags to your link. Feel free to use this template and insert the tags you need.

/?utm_campaign=campaign_name&utm_source=source_name&utm_medium=medium_name?utm_content=content_name

Don’t forget to come up with a unified naming system for your tags to avoid duplicates and uncertainties. If you once decided to name the source for your regular newsletter “04042024_newsletter” with a date of the email sending variable, don’t switch to “weekly_emails”. That will break the uniformity of your statistics in Google Analytics and you will lose parts of your data.

Automated codes generation

You can create UTM codes for the whole email campaign right in Selzy. If you are creating a new campaign, on the last step before sending it, click on “Get analytics” and enable UTM tags. 

You will see fields for UTM parameters; fill them in and send the campaign. Check our tutorial on tracking email campaigns to learn more.

Generating a UTM code for a campaign via Selzy

To assign UTM codes to links inside the email, you can use tools that automate code generation like Google Campaign URL Builder. You fill in the form with a link and the tags you need, and the builder gives you a ready-to-go link to use in your campaign.

Fields to fill to create a link with a UTM code including campaign ID, source, medium, etc.

How to use email UTM parameters to measure the campaign results

When you add UTM codes to links in your campaign, you can easily track it and compare traffic from different channels and campaigns. Google Analytics will collect the data automatically and present reports.

The channels report

Use channels report to track the efficiency of different marketing channels like emails, social media, and advertising. To check this report in Google Analytics, go to “Acquisition” > “Traffic Acquisition” on the sidebar:

A traffic acquisition report in Google Analytics showing various channels like organic search, email, referral, etc. and the number of users

This report lets you track the overall traffic on your website from various channels you use. It helps to compare the email’s efficiency to other channels.    

The campaigns report

This report breaks the traffic down by campaigns to show which marketing event was the most efficient in bringing users to your website. If you have set goal-tracking or e-commerce tracking it will also show how many visitors made purchases or completed any other goals. 

To access this report, in the same “Traffic acquisition” tab, add a secondary level “Session campaign”.

Campaigns report in Google Analytics shows session campaign data by each channel for precise tracking

Final thoughts

UTM email tracking gives you complete data on traffic from your emails to your website and the users’ behavior on your website. This data can act as a base for adjusting your email marketing strategy to maximize traffic and conversion. UTM codes also let you compare traffic from email and other marketing channels you use.

UTM code in your emails lets you track:

  • Traffic volume
  • Sources of traffic
  • Length of sessions
  • Bounce rate
  • Purchases or other goals

To set up the UTM tracking:

  • Integrate your website with Google Analytics.
  • Set a unified classification for UTM tags.
  • Start adding UTM code strings to the links in your emails.
  • See the traffic tracking in Google Analytics reports.
  • Analyze the results.
Article by
Varvara Potekhina
A marketer keen on writing. Experienced in PR, marketing and editing. Writing for Selzy I practice both my editing and marketing skills. I managed email marketing in almost all the projects I worked with for the last 10 years. My interests lie in IT, education and traveling.
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