Written by: Matthew L

June 19 2023

In April 2005, Urchin was acquired by Google and relaunched as Google Analytics.  The UTM tracking (Urchin Tracking Module) and the UTM parameters can tell you how visitors got to your site, from which campaigns, and by what methods.

What are some example ‘sources’ typically used with utm tracking for Google Analytics

The utm_source parameter is used to indicate the specific website or platform that is driving the traffic.

Here are some examples of common sources that might be used with UTM tracking:

  1. Google – If you’re running a paid search campaign on Google Ads, you would use “google” as your source.
  2. Bing – Similarly, if you’re running a campaign on Bing, you’d use “bing” as your source.
  3. Newsletter – If the link is in your email newsletter, “newsletter” might be your source.
  4. Facebook – If you’re promoting your content on Facebook (either organically or with paid ads), you’d use “facebook” as your source.
  5. Twitter – Similarly for Twitter, you’d use “twitter” as your source.
  6. LinkedIn – For LinkedIn, you’d use “linkedin” as your source.
  7. Instagram – For Instagram, you’d use “instagram” as your source.
  8. Affiliate – If you’re using affiliate marketers to promote your site, you might use “affiliate” and the name of the affiliate or the affiliate network as your source.
  9. QR Code – If you’re using a QR code in a physical location or on printed material, you might use “qr_code” or something similar as your source.
  10. Partner Website – If another website is promoting your content, you could use “partner_website” or the specific name of the website as your source.

The utm_source value is typically chosen based on where the visitor is coming from immediately before they arrive at your site. As always, it’s important to be consistent in your use of source names to maintain clean data in Google Analytics.

What are some common ‘Mediums’ used in UTM tracking?

Common examples of mediums that you can use with UTM tracking:

  1. Organic – This medium is used to track visitors that come to your site from an unpaid search engine result. This is typically used to understand how well your SEO strategies are working.
  2. CPC – Stands for Cost-Per-Click, which is used to track visitors that come to your site from a paid advertisement on a search engine. This is often used for Google Adwords campaigns.
  3. Email – This medium is used when you’re tracking visitors that came to your site from a link in an email. This can be used for email marketing campaigns or newsletters.
  4. Social – This medium is used for tracking visitors that came from a social network like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or others.
  5. Referral – This is used for tracking visitors that come to your site from another site that directly links to you. This is useful to see what sites are driving traffic to you.
  6. Display – This is used for tracking visitors that come to your site from display advertising, like banner ads.
  7. Affiliate – This medium is used for tracking visitors that come from affiliate marketing links. This is useful for tracking the effectiveness of your affiliate marketing campaigns.
  8. Direct – Although not a typical UTM medium (since direct traffic typically means there’s no UTM parameters), this is sometimes used for tracking visitors who accessed the site directly, either by typing the URL into their browser or by clicking a bookmark.

You can define your own mediums based on the needs of your specific campaign or tracking requirements. It’s essential to be consistent with your naming conventions to maintain clean data in Google Analytics.

Does GA4 use the same syntax as GA3 for utm tracking?

In GA3 and GA4 these UTM parameters still fill the same corresponding fields and used in GA4 for attribution reporting in the same way as they were used in Universal Analytics

  • utm_source corresponds to “Source”
  • utm_medium corresponds to “Medium”
  • utm_campaign corresponds to “Campaign”

GA4 also supports two new UTM parameters, utm_term and utm_contentfor the specific content or link that was clicked, respectively. These are optional and can be used when needed to provide more granular tracking information.

It’s also worth noting that while GA4 uses the same UTM parameters, it also introduced additional parameters for more advanced tracking such as custom_campaign, custom_source, custom_medium etc. These allow for more granular campaign tracking and customization.

Where do you find the equivalent GA4 report corresponding to the GA3 report of Acquisition / Campaigns?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) has a different interface and reporting structure compared to Universal Analytics (often referred to as GA3). While GA4 maintains the functionality to track campaigns using UTM parameters, the direct equivalent to the Acquisition > Campaigns report isn’t available as a pre-set report in GA4.

To create a similar report in GA4:

  1. Go to the “Explore” section, which is the new version of Custom Reports.
  2. Choose the “Free Form” report type (or any other report type based on your specific needs).
  3. Add dimensions and metrics to the report. For a basic campaign report, you’d likely want to include at least these:
    • Dimension: Campaign (which corresponds to utm_campaign)
    • Metrics: User Engagement, New Users, Sessions, etc.

This will provide you with a report that shows data based on your UTM campaign parameter, similar to the Acquisition > Campaigns report in Universal Analytics.

Also, remember that GA4 puts a lot more emphasis on the “Analysis Hub”, which is where you can create more complex and custom reports to deep-dive into your data. Here, you can create a variety of reports including Funnel Analysis, Path Analysis, Segment Overlap, etc., all of which can be customized with your campaign data.

We’re here to help

    This site is protected by Google reCAPTCHA. View Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.