UTM tags are a criminally underutilized tool for digital marketers. If you’re looking to either implement UTM tags and tracking or you want to boost your current practices, look no further!

Before we dive in, if you need a quick refresher when it comes to the basics of UTM tags, check out a recent blog post on the subject.

Once you’re caught up, scroll on down to our carefully curated list of 6 do’s and don’ts of UTM tags…

1. DO use UTM for more than just paid campaigns

A lot of digital marketers we meet only use UTM tags to track paid ad campaigns — that’s not wrong, but they’re missing out on a lot of key data and insights.

Be sure to use UTM tags and tracking efforts on the following:

  • Shared links on social media (don’t forget your Linktree!)
  • Links included in email blasts (newsletters, promos, etc.)
  • Links in documents, whitepapers, or resources
  • Mobile apps
  • All links that point back to your website from Google My Business

You can use UTM tags on almost any link — emphasis on almost.

There is one type of link you should always avoid putting UTM tags on…

2. DON’T use UTM for internal links

This is an absolute no-no.

Here are the two most popular reasons why you should always avoid attaching UTM tags to internal links:

  • Google Analytics is already tracking visitor activity while a user is on your site
  • It omits the information regarding the original traffic source which brought the web visitor to your site

Without getting too technical, in layman’s terms, UTM tags on internal links create a giant cluster#@!$ for Google Analytics.

Just don’t do it.

To better understand how UTM tagging works within the Net-Results platform, be sure to take a look at this Knowledge Base article.

3. DO keep a record of your established UTM values

Be sure to first establish a consistent naming convention for all UTM tags!

Once you’ve accomplished this crucial step, create a record of all UTM values so your team can stay on the same page moving forward with UTM tagging efforts.

After all, if your team is using all kinds of different naming conventions for your UTM initiatives, your campaign results and data will be all sorts of askew. Nip it in the bud early!

(Psst…point #5 has something that can help with this)

4. DON’T use any special characters (or spaces) in values

When in doubt, take the simplest approach available and keep your values clean (honestly, a great life lesson, as well).

The only sort of character we recommend using is either an underscore (_) or a dash (-). Spaces should be avoided entirely because they will show up as “%20” if put into a URL.

Not only is that difficult to track, but it’s also a bit unsightly from a user’s perspective.

While we’re on the topic of characters and spaces, be sure to also only use lowercase letters no matter what! UTM codes are case-sensitive, after all, so you must be sure to keep this consistent, as well.

5. DO utilize our free UTM Generator Google Sheets Template

Implementation can be an absolute beast when it comes to UTM tags.

But not anymore! We created a free, easy-to-use Google Sheets UTM Generator Spreadsheet Template that takes the monotony and human error out of the UTM equation.

In fact, it’s the exact template we use here at Net-Results! It has served us well for the past few years and we’d feel guilty keeping it to ourselves.

Download your free spreadsheet today and make UTM implementation a breeze.

6. DON’T forget to shorten the links

In the world of digital marketing, appearance matters, especially when it comes to links. Quite frankly, clean, short links just look better to prospects and customers.

Not only do they “look” better, but they also appear safer. Long links often cause fear of malware for users (can confirm — I’m terrified of clicking those drawn-out, clunky links).

Bitly is a great tool that we often use ourselves here at Net-Results, but there are plenty of free services out there that can get the job done.

Short links will not only look better to web browsers, but they’ll also create a small (yet noticeable) improvement in their experience which could pay off in the long run. You never know!

UTM tags are one of the best free digital marketing tools available. Don’t sleep on best practices when it comes to these powerful little guys!

If you have any questions about UTM tags or any other feature in the Net-Results platform, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Cheers to your success,

Lexie Robbins

Marketing @ Net-Results

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Alexis Robbins

a seasoned copywriter, digital marketer, and social media connoisseur. Enjoys: anti-jokes, David Bowie, and mismatched socks.