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Common UTM Tagging Blunders to Avoid

November 17, 2023 | Jimit Mehta

Marketing campaigns can be a tricky business. With so many moving parts, it's easy to make a mistake that can cost you valuable time, money, and resources. One of the biggest areas where mistakes can happen is with UTM tagging. UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tags are a simple code that you add to a URL to track the success of your campaigns. They help you understand where your website traffic is coming from and how it's behaving once it arrives. But, with so many variables to consider, it's easy to make a mistake that can skew your data and give you an inaccurate picture of your campaigns. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common UTM tagging blunders and how to avoid them. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of marketing, this guide will help you stay on track and get the most out of your campaigns.

Not using UTM tags at all

One of the most common UTM tagging blunders is simply not using UTM tags at all. This might seem like a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised at how many marketers neglect to use them. Without UTM tags, you have no way of accurately tracking the success of your campaigns. You won't know which sources are driving the most traffic or what visitors are doing once they arrive on your website. This makes it nearly impossible to optimize your campaigns and make informed decisions about where to allocate resources.

By not using UTM tags, you're essentially flying blind, and that's not a good place to be in the world of marketing. So, if you're not already using UTM tags, start today. Your future self will thank you.

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Using inconsistent naming conventions

Another common UTM tagging blunder is using inconsistent naming conventions. This refers to using different names for the same variable across different campaigns.

For example, if you call the source of traffic "Facebook" in one campaign and "FB" in another, your data will be split between the two and you won't be able to accurately track the success of either campaign. The same goes for other variables such as medium, term, and content. If you want to get the most out of your UTM tags, you need to make sure that you're using consistent naming conventions across all of your campaigns. This will allow you to compare apples to apples and make informed decisions about your marketing strategy. So, before you start adding UTM tags to your URLs, make sure you have a naming convention in place and stick to it. Your data will thank you.

Failing to properly encode special characters

Another common UTM tagging blunder is failing to properly encode special characters. UTM tags use URL encoding to handle special characters such as spaces, punctuation marks, and symbols. If you don't properly encode these characters, they'll be interpreted as separate variables and your data will be split between multiple tags. This can make it difficult to accurately track the success of your campaigns and get a clear picture of what's working and what's not.

To avoid this mistake, make sure you're using a UTM builder that properly encodes special characters or that you're manually encoding them using a URL encoder tool. By taking this extra step, you'll ensure that your data is accurate and that you're making informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Not accurately tracking the source of traffic

One of the most critical variables in UTM tagging is the source of traffic. This is the parameter that tells you where your visitors are coming from, whether it's a search engine, social media platform, or another website. If you're not accurately tracking the source of traffic, you won't be able to accurately evaluate the success of your campaigns.

For example, if you're running a Facebook ad campaign and you're not accurately tracking the source of traffic, you won't know if the visitors are coming from Facebook or from somewhere else. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're using specific and descriptive names for your sources and that you're consistently using the same names across all of your campaigns. This will give you a clear picture of where your visitors are coming from and how they're engaging with your website.

Not properly tagging different versions of a campaign

When running multiple campaigns, it's important to properly tag each one so that you can track their success separately. If you don't properly tag different versions of a campaign, your data will be combined and you won't be able to accurately evaluate the performance of each version.

For example, if you're running a split test with two versions of an ad and you don't properly tag each version, you won't be able to determine which one performed better. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're using unique UTM tags for each version of your campaigns. This will allow you to track each one separately and make informed decisions about which version to continue using or which one to optimize. By properly tagging different versions of your campaigns, you'll have a clear understanding of what's working and what's not, and you'll be able to make data-driven decisions about your marketing strategy.

Not using UTM tags for all links in a campaign

Another common UTM tagging blunder is not using UTM tags for all links in a campaign. This might seem like a small detail, but it can have a big impact on your data. If you're not using UTM tags for all links in a campaign, you won't be able to accurately track the success of the campaign and determine which sources are driving the most traffic.

For example, if you have a Facebook ad that links to your website and you're not using UTM tags for the link, you won't be able to determine how much traffic is coming from the ad and how it's behaving once it arrives on your website. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're using UTM tags for all links in your campaigns, not just the ones you think are most important. This will give you a complete picture of how your campaigns are performing and help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Not regularly reviewing and cleaning up old UTM tags

As your marketing campaigns grow and evolve, it's important to regularly review and clean up your UTM tags. If you don't, you'll end up with a cluttered and inaccurate view of your data. Old UTM tags can skew your data and make it difficult to determine the success of your current campaigns.

For example, if you're running a new ad campaign and you haven't cleaned up old UTM tags from previous campaigns, your data will be split between the two and you won't be able to accurately evaluate the performance of the new campaign. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're regularly reviewing and cleaning up your UTM tags. This will ensure that your data is accurate and that you're making informed decisions about your marketing strategy. Set aside some time each month or quarter to review your UTM tags and remove any that are no longer needed. This will help you keep your data organized and give you a clear view of the success of your campaigns.

Not testing UTM tags before launching a campaign

Before launching any marketing campaign, it's important to test your UTM tags to make sure they're working properly. If you don't, you might end up with inaccurate data and a skewed view of the success of your campaigns.

For example, if you have a typo in your UTM tags or if you're using inconsistent naming conventions, your data will be split and you won't be able to accurately track the success of your campaign. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're testing your UTM tags before launching any campaign. This will give you a chance to fix any errors and ensure that your data is accurate. You can test your UTM tags by using a tool like the Google Analytics Debugger or by manually checking your data in Google Analytics after the campaign has launched. By taking the time to test your UTM tags, you'll ensure that your data is accurate and that you're making informed decisions about your marketing strategy.

Not using a UTM builder to simplify the process

Creating UTM tags can be a time-consuming and tedious process, but it doesn't have to be. One of the most common UTM tagging blunders is not using a UTM builder to simplify the process. UTM builders are tools that make it easy to create UTM tags without having to manually encode special characters or worry about making typos. With a UTM builder, you simply enter the relevant information and the tool does the rest, generating a properly formatted UTM tag that you can use in your campaigns.

By using a UTM builder, you can save time and ensure that your UTM tags are accurate and consistent. Plus, many UTM builders also offer features like pre-made templates, the ability to save and reuse tags, and the ability to preview your tags before you use them. So, if you're not already using a UTM builder, consider trying one out. Your time and data will thank you.

Not setting goals and defining KPIs before creating UTM tags

Before creating UTM tags for a marketing campaign, it's important to set goals and define KPIs. This will help you determine what you want to track and measure with your UTM tags and ensure that you're using them effectively. If you don't set goals and define KPIs before creating UTM tags, you might end up tracking the wrong metrics or using UTM tags in a way that doesn't align with your goals.

For example, if your goal is to increase website conversions and you're only tracking website traffic, you won't be able to accurately evaluate the success of your campaigns. To avoid this mistake, make sure you're setting goals and defining KPIs before creating UTM tags. This will help you determine what you want to track and measure, and ensure that your UTM tags are aligned with your goals. By taking the time to set goals and define KPIs, you'll have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and how you're going to measure success.

Wrapping up

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tags are a critical component of any marketing campaign, but they can also be a source of confusion and error. In this article, we explored some of the most common UTM tagging blunders and how to avoid them. From not using UTM tags at all to failing to properly encode special characters, these mistakes can skew your data and give you an inaccurate picture of your campaigns.

By avoiding these blunders, you'll be able to track the success of your campaigns more accurately, make informed decisions about your marketing strategy, and get the most out of your campaigns. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newcomer to the world of marketing, this guide will help you stay on track and achieve your goals.

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