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Iain Moss Senior Content Manager at Ometria
Posted 14 May 2021

The Definitive Guide to UTM Tagging in Ecommerce

Topics: Best practice

Being able to accurately track and measure campaigns is crucial to implementing a successful, revenue-generating ecommerce marketing strategy. 

This guide to UTM tagging will teach you how!

The benefits

Measure your marketing channels

Which marketing campaigns and campaigns convert the best? You won’t know unless you track them.

Attribute conversions accurately

Monitor relevant KPIs and attribute conversions to the right channels, for each of your campaign sources. 

Make data-driven marketing decisions

Use what you learn from your data to know which channels to invest in, and make marketing decisions confidently. 

UTM Parameters

As an example, let’s think about www.shoeshop.com, an online retailer

When a visitor arrives at Shoeshop.com with a UTM-tagged URL, those UTM parameters will be appended to the landing page and saved in a cookie.

www.shoeshop.com/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=april21

There are 5 parameters you can add to your URLs, and each must be paired with a value that you assign:

  • Campaign Source (utm_source)
    Used to identify the referrer, usually the name of a campaign type grouping, eg. utm_source=newsletter
    (other examples: promo, welcome)
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium)
    Used to identify the type of marketing, eg. utm_medium=email
    (other examples: organic, CPC, banner, referral,social, etc.)
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign)
    Used to identify a specific product promotion, a theme or a segment information, e.g. utm_campaign=april15.
    (other examples: sandalspromo20, CLMwelcome)
  • Campaign Term (utm_term)
    Used to identify keywords for PPC campaigns, eg. utm_term=spring+sandals

  • Campaign Content (utm_content)
    Used for A/B testing to differentiate ads/links to the same URL, e.g. utm_content=logolink or utm_content=textlink

Best Practice

  • UTM tags must not be used for internal links (eg. navigation bar) as it will override the original visit source and prevent an accurate tracking
  • Be consistent – campaign name should be identical for all sources so you can explore campaign, source, and content performance.
  • UTM tags are case-sensitive, and no spaces should be used in URLs or UTM tags.
  • Use only the variables you need (have at least Campaign Source, Campaign Medium and Campaign Name)
  • If you’re going to use email as a medium, don’t also use it as a source.
  • There is no limit to the numer of characters in UTM parameters, but keep it short and meaningful.
  • Don’t include personal information that can be associated to an individual (names or email addresses).
  • UTM tags will not affect your SEO, as tags are ignored by search engines.

In case you decide to manually create your tracking codes, here are some guidelines:

  • Add up to five parameters in any order to your URL
  • Include the slash “/” before the question mark 
  • Separate parameters from the URL with a question mark “?”, and separate each parameter-value pair with an ampersand “&”.
  • Each parameter must be paired with a value that you assign, separated by an equals sign “=“.
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