What is a UTM tag and why is it so important?
Updated: Jun 14
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 get started 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 on various platforms, that points to your ticket sales portal, 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 in most cases, but 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 suggested 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. 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.
source tag - where the user clicks on your link:
- example “fb-post" (organic post on Facebook)
- example “fb-ad" (paid ad on Facebook)
- example “instagram"
- example “newsletter”
- example “linkedin”
medium tag - what kind of campaign the user finds the link:
- example “email” for links in your newsletter
- example “social” for organic links placed in social media
- example "cpc" for paid traffic (cost per click)
campaign tag - the name of your campaign:
- for example "as_blog" (Activity Stream Blog)
term tag - a deeper segmentation of your target group:
You might consider using the “term tag” for different target groups in a Facebook ad campaign, where you want to compare which target group works best:
- example “ticketbiz” for a target group of people in the ticketing business
- example “female_30-50” for a target group of female users aged 30-50 years
- example “w42” for a campaign running in the calendar week 42
content tag - ads with different creatives:
This enables you to see which artwork or copy performs the best, if you’re running ads with a variety of graphic design or text copy.
- example "video", "photo", “gif” or “blue_photo”, “red_photo”
So, let’s put together a link based on the examples above. The purpose is to link to an article here on the Activity Stream website (the one you're reading this very moment).
For an organic post in a LinkedIn group for ticketing professionals, a fully tagged URL would look like this:
Source tag: linkedin
Medium tag: organic
Campaign tag: as_blog
Term tag: ticketbiz
Linking to the exact same article from a paid campaign on Facebook aimed at a target group of ticketing business professionals would look like this:
Source tag: facebook
Medium tag: cpc
Campaign tag: as_blog
Term tag: ticketbiz
These tagged URL’s don’t look very pretty, nor are they easy to remember (in case you have to remember it). Therefore the Activity Stream URL generator also has a feature of generating a short URL - for example https://bit.ly/3G0Odt8
Below, you will see an illustration of how a campaign hierarchy could be structured with the connections between source, medium and campaign.
This will get you started
We have created this print friendly document, which you can use and have it in a handy place on your bulletin board, so that everyone can use the same template.
The sooner you get started, the sooner you can experience how Activity Stream will help you to better understand and connect with your audience.
Click below to download the UTM tag template.