What is a UTM tag and why is it so important?

Updated: a day ago

The more that you know about your ticket sales, the better, right? If your marketing campaign goes well, you’ll want to know why. And if it goes wrong, you’ll definitely want to know why.

By using UTM tags, you enable Google Analytics to track where your ticket sales come from in a more detailed way, and you can optimize your efforts where you achieve the best marketing results. Sometimes the audience will purchase the tickets directly from your website, while other times it can come from a social media post or a newsletter. There are usually several customer journeys that lead to a sale.

Using UTM tags is simple, and you can start making use of UTM tags now and your Google Analytics will adjust all by itself. You simply start adding them to all links that you post and set up your Google Analytics account in order to gather the data for you.

All traffic should have a UTM tag

It’s a good idea to track all the traffic that you are able to control. So, if you are sharing a link to your ticket sales portal on various platforms, every one of them should be tagged individually so that you can measure the traffic and the sales originating from each source.

If you use Google Analytics already, then the UTM tags will enable Google Analytics to automatically organize the incoming traffic into categories based on how you tag your links. And in the Sales Channels section of Activity Stream, you will be able to compare how your incoming traffic performs based on the UTM tagged links in your campaigns. And comparing this with the rest of the data points, it will give you the opportunity to understand your campaigns on a whole new level.

There are five tag formats and you are able to cross-reference these formats to give you a better picture on how campaign combinations work the best. Five formats may be too much, and we encourage to use at least three formats.

Consistency is important

You don’t need to use standard tagging conventions. You can use your own tags, if only you are consistent. This will enable you to always have the same metrics when getting an overview of your campaign, regardless whether it is organic or paid. Simply have a rule that you always use the same tag to mean the same thing - and ask your colleagues to use the same set of tagging conventions to avoid having different tags for the same type of traffic.

To get you started, we have set up a UTM structure that works well for the events industry, free for you to download (link at the bottom of the article). If you are a user of Activity Stream, you can use the built-in URL generator, and even create shortened URLs to make it look nice when posting. Find the link at the bottom of this article. Also, you can use the Activity Stream URL generator to create your URL’s and even create short URL’s to make it look nicer. You find the URL generator in the menu bar of Activity Stream.

Be aware that UTM tags are CaSE sEnsiTivE

UTM tags are case sensitive, so make sure to use a clear rule for this - the standard is to only use lower case lettering.

Example: “facebook” or “Facebook”

Google Analytics will interpret these 2 tags as separate, although we (as humans) perceive them the same. We recommend that you always use lowercase letters, unless you have a specific purpose of using capital letters. And if you use capital letters, do it consistently.

Keep it simple, unique and short

Keep your tags as short as possible, but keep them unique, easy to remember and understand. We recommend keeping track of all your tags in a document, so that you always can go back and look up the tags you decided upon ages ago - that’s why we created the template for you.

Examples of naming conventions

Here are a few examples of how to create UTM tags for a link that takes you to this article on the website of Activity Stream. It’s sufficient to just the first 3 tag formats, as this will cover most needs.

campaign tag - the name of your campaign:

- for example "as_blog" (Activity Stream Blog)

source tag - where the user clicks on your link:

- example “facebook"

- example “instagram"

- example “email”

- example “linkedin”

medium tag - what kind of campaign the user finds the link:

- example “organic” for organic post (not paid for)

- example "paid" for paid traffic

- example “newsletter” for links in your newsletter

- example "automation" for your automated emails

- example “banner” for links placed in web banners

- example “presale” for a pre-sale campaign