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How To Fire GTM Tags Based On UTM Tracking

17 April 2019 | 0 comments | Posted by Che Kohler in nichemarket Advice

fire GTM tags on utm tracked urls

Digital marketing has always been a very analytical profession and having accurate data and access to more granular data can set you apart from your competitors as you refine your messaging, your campaigns and processes. Google analytics has been immensely helpful in collecting data in a standardised manner for digital marketers to use and interpret. 

While the out of the box installation may provide a reasonable amount of data as you scale you need to look at ways of pushing more data into your GA account especially if you're using a range digital channels. When you start to expand into specific channels or have channel managers responsible for a particular source of traffic like email, social media or paid search, then you should be making use of UTM tracking which helps attribute traffic to specific channels and even campaigns. 

This gives you a deep understanding of which of your marketing efforts work and which do not and how to get the best out your traffic channels. But UTM tags can be used for more than just tracking; you can actively target users based on specific UTM parameters and fire specific goals or website interactions. Using UTM parameters to qualify traffic can help you create a more personalised experience and journey and assist channel managers in getting more out of the traffic they're attracting.

Why would I want to fire tags on UTM tracking

Having the ability to fire a tag based on a specific traffic channel or campaign is immensely useful for modern digital marketer since personalisation has become critical to users.

These are just a few of the use cases where this set could prove helpful:

  • You could use this set up to fire specific messaging based on a channel or campaign and still use the same URL for all traffic
  • You could track particular goals and compare them per channel or campaign
  • You could render a particular page layout based on a channel or campaign 

How to fire tags on UTM tracking

If you are using UTM tracking in the correct format and you have Google Tag Manager installed on your site, then you will be able to take advantage of its unique capabilities to isolate the specific UTM parameter you want to target and then fire a tag based on that parameter.

Create Variables to capture UTM Parameters

To capture the UTM variables using Google Tag Manager you will first need to create variables to match and capture each UTM parameter, namely:

  • utm_source
  • utm_medium
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_content

To create a URL query capture variable 

  • Open your GTM account
  • Head to the variables section
  • Create a new variable
  • Give the variable name - Example "UTM source variable."
  • Select URL as your variable type
  • Set Query as your component type
  • Add the phrase "utm_source" as your query key
  • Save the variable
  • Repeat this for medium, campaign and content if you intend on using it

Now that you can capture a UTM variable you can now go ahead and create your tags. When you're at ready to set the trigger all you will need to do is call your variable based on the name you gave it and use it as a trigger query to fire your tags; it's as simple as that.

Tell us your tracking story

Have you been frustrated with your tracking? How do you effectively track your site? Are you looking to improve your website tracking or have any tips? Share it with us in the comments.

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Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have time to improve your Google Analytics knowledge, then we recommend you check out the following posts.

Tags: tracking , analytics

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