KnowledgeBase WebSMS

UTM Source: How to Track SMS Clicks in Google Analytics

UTM Source: How to Track SMS Clicks in Google Analytics

This knowledge base article explains how to set up URL tagging using UTM parameters and provides an overview of the different uses of URL tagging for marketing attribution.

Most marketers already understand how they can identify particular referral sources in Google Analytics, but tagging URLs using UTM codes takes this data to an advanced level by isolating visitors referred from specific campaigns (specific SMS campaigns, for example) to better understand their behaviour and build more specific audience lists to boost the performance of any ongoing SMS activity.

What are UTM Codes?

“UTM” stands for “Urchin tracking module.” UTM codes are added to the end of regular URL’s and are designed to tell Google Analytics (and other analytics tools) a little bit more information about each link and which marketing campaign it relates to.

A type of URL tagging, using UTM codes ensures your destination URLs are labelled with specific campaign names when they’re reported in Google Analytics. Put simply, this enables you to break down traffic that’s usually only reported by its source and attribute it to individual SMS campaigns that you’re running.The section of the URL following the ? symbol below is a sample of what a UTM code looks like:

Example, if you want to deliver traffic to https://www.voodoosms.com/ you can add the UTM code: ?utm_source=voodoo&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=my-sms-campaign-name

Which looks like this: https://www.voodoosms.com/?utm_source=voodoo&utm_medium=msms&utm_campaign=my-sms-campaign-name

Why use UTM Codes?

Tagging URLs helps prove the value of your SMS campaigns in which you’re attempting to drive traffic to your site, particularly if you have goals set up in Google Analytics, as it will report on each specific campaign’s conversion metrics.

For example, you can use UTM variables within links you create within the body of your SMS to track how much traffic you receive from each SMS you send.

How to Structure UTM Codes

In order to correctly structure your UTM codes you firstly need to understand what each parameter means:

  • Campaign Source is usually the search engine or platform that you’re running the ads on (VOODOO, Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, Website, etc.)
  • Campaign Medium is used to state the type of advertising campaign that’s using the URL (SMS, PPC, email, etc.)
  • Campaign Name is the field used to insert the name of your campaign.These three fields are all required, and you can use the remaining content and term parameters to track additional details as explained by Google:
google campaign terms

Methods of Setting up URL Tagging

Manual URL Tagging

A lot of third party advertising tools have the option to automatically tag URLs, but for tagging specific links within organic social posts, banner links, and any other links used in campaigns conducted outside of third party software, manual URL tagging is the only option.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to craft every UTM tag by hand, as you can do this using UTM generators. There are a range of UTM generators available, but I have listed the most useful below:

Google’s URL Builder is a great free tool to generate URLs tagged with UTM codes for single campaigns, but is not suitable for creating UTM tags in bulk, nor is it great for keeping track of naming conventions.

Improving the Appearance of Tagged URLs to Website Users

It’s true that UTM codes create overly-long, unattractive URLs for users, but there is a solution to resolve this issue.

Let’s assume that we have just tagged the following URL:

https://www.yourdomain.com/gareths-tagging?utm_source=voodoosms&utm_medium=sms&utm_campaign=my-sms-campaign-name

The URL above looks extremely long and wouldn’t look too friendly to a user who clicks through to it.  However, your users never need to see it, thanks to the VOODOO SMS Short URL Service which will both reduce the characters required and also offer the facility to identify which mobile numbers clicked the link or not.

This means after the Google Analytics code collected all the attribution data from the really long URL tagging parameters I set in the example, the URL will revert to something like vsms.io/b4Dk/x in the example above.

Where to Find Tagged URL Data in Google Analytics

Once you’ve become comfortable with the idea of tagging campaign URLs and have started to tag URLs across your SMS campaigns, you’ll need to know where to navigate in Analytics in order to view the information the tags have been delivering.The information you need can be found in Acquisition > Campaigns > All Campaigns within Google Analytics:

campaign reporting in google analytics

The report will break everything down automatically by Campaign Name.

Remember, if any of your campaigns haven’t yet received any clicks, or no clicks within the date(s) or period selected, the parameters you’ve set won’t have been triggered and therefore those URLs will NOT be reported in this section until they’ve actually been clicked.



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