Tracking your Advertising Campaigns with Urchin Tracking (UTMs)

Tracking your advertising campaigns can be easy – and free! All you need is a Web site, Google Analytics, and a little bit of code known as “urchin tracking modules” (abbreviated UTM). As you’d expect, Google has a learning center module on the subject. It’s called “Tracking your Advertising Campaigns” and it’s available online for free. Here’s the gist of it.

I used to: Post a “regular” hyperlink for
Now I:
Add “code” on the end of the hyperlink to let Google Analytics track where visitors came from.

The answer key

With things like this, I like to see “the answer” first. Then I can piece it together. Here’s the code I use for my personal email signature, broken out by color to help teach you:

Breaking it down.

1. Start with a link and add a “slash.” Mine reads reads (If your link ends in “.htm” you don’t need the slash.)

2.Add a question mark (?). Now I’m up to

3. Then add three pieces of code known as “Urchin Tracking Modules” ( utm_ ). For our example, I will write tracking code for the automatic signature on my emails.
….. 3a. The first tracks the source of the campaign. In my example it’s my signature. So far we have: (and because we need to connect it to the next utm we add an “&” at the end), we have:

….. 3b. The second tracks the medium. In my example I am using my emails. Now we have:

….. 3c. Last is the campaign. I want readers to visit my blog. So we conclude:

Extra credit

If you like you can add a fourth module, keyword, for extra specificity: I use “keyword” when I have multiple hyperlinks in one story or campaign.

What to look for in Google Analytics

Click to enlarge the Google Analytics image showing the campaign I described above.

Google Analytics, under Traffic Source and Campaigns

Google Analytics, under Traffic Source and Campaigns

Now go forth and do the same. You’re welcome to leave questions or comments below.

For more information and discovery visit: and

Good luck tracking your advertising campaigns.

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  1. Thanks Joe for breaking this down into easy pieces, especially writing the code. Of course, it begs the question: what do you do with the campaign data? Knowing what a wiz you are, I can’t wait to hear what comes next.
    .-= Dina Eisenberg´s last blog ..Mediation to Stay Married – A Technique with Promise =-.

  2. Thanks, Dina. This took me a longer-than-I-would-have-liked amount of time to figure out.

    It helps you determine where to spend your time: Which links bring in traffic, which don’t.

    ~ Joe

  3. Great, I never thought that you can really track your Advertisements. This app is really great!

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