Digital advertising has become a vital component of modern marketing strategies, with Google Ads being one of the most popular platforms for businesses to reach their target audience.

In 2024, Google’s ad revenue is expected to increase by a further 6.7% and reach $81 billion. However, simply setting up ads and hoping for the best is not enough. To optimise your Google campaigns and improve results, you need to leverage data and insights. One effective way to do this is by utilising UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) tracking parameters. In this article, we will dive into the world of UTM tracking parameters and explore how they can help you enhance the performance of your Ads campaigns.

What are Google ads UTM Tracking Parameters or UTM tracking code or UTM tags?

Google ads UTM tracking parameters or UTM tracking code or UTM tags are special tags that you can add to your campaign URL options to track the performance of your digital marketing campaigns. They are used to collect data on the source, medium, campaign, and other parameters of a website link.

Moreover, Google auto-tagging is a feature that automatically appends tracking parameters to the URLs of ads when they are clicked, allowing advertisers to capture and analyse detailed information about the performance of their ads and campaigns.


How to set up basic UTM parameters for specific campaigns?


Step 1: Define the UTM parameters

Before you start setting up UTM tracking for Google Ads, you need to define the UTM parameters you want to use. The most commonly used UTM parameters are campaign, source, medium, term, and content. Decide on the values you want to use for each parameter that best aligns with your campaign objectives and goals.


Step 2: Create the UTM-tagged URL options


Manual tagging

You can do manual tagging by adding the UTM parameters to your destination URLs.

For example, if your destination URL is “” and you want to add UTM parameters for a specific campaign, source, and medium, your UTM-tagged URL could look like this: ““. The UTM data is everything thats comes after the question mark.

Use an online UTM builder

There are many online tools available that can help you generate UTM-tagged URLs easily. You can search for “UTM builder” in your preferred search engine and choose from the various options available. These tools usually provide a user-friendly interface where you can input your UTM parameters, and they will generate the tagged URL for you.

Use Google’s URL Builder

Google provides its own URL builder tool called Google’s Campaign URL Builder, which you can access at This tool allows you to input your UTM parameters and generates the tagged URL for you.


Step 3: Use UTM-tagged URLs in your Google Ad platform


Once you have your UTM-tagged URLs, you can use them in your Google Ads campaigns. Here’s how:

Update your final URLs

In your Google Ads account, go to the Ads & Extensions tab and select the campaign or ad group you want to update. Click on the Ads tab and select the ad you want to edit. In the final URL field, replace the original destination URL with the UTM-tagged URL you created.

Monitor and analyse your results

After implementing UTM tracking, you can start monitoring and analysing your Google ads performance in your website analytics tool, such as Google Analytics. You can track the performance of your campaigns based on the UTM parameters you defined, such as campaign, source, medium, term, and content. This data can provide insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns and help you make data-driven optimisations to improve your results.


Hubspot, Pipedrive, Active Campaign and any other CRM

With the utm values included in the url, this information will also be carried over to the CRM system you are using. This makes it easier to understand from there a new leads comes, what campaigns perform the best etc. To carry over the available utm parameters it’s often necessary to add hidden fields to you form, which the user will not see but will be included in your CRM system.

A great way to improve ROI from you campaigns is to monitor the origin of the leads, through the utm tagging. When you close a new client, you will immediately know the ad groups, ad creative, campaign name, and campaign id thanks to the utm tags. If you furthermore add custom parameters it is possible to include details from a Google search, such as search terms, keywords and other dynamic parameters.

Many CRM’s also offer auto tagging, which does all the work. For this to work you need to connect your software to Google, and enable the auto tagging feature. Often they includes a custom parameter unique to the CRM


What about tracking templates?

A tracking template is a feature specific to Google Ads that allows you to add a single code snippet to the end of your ad’s destination URL. This code snippet (tracking template) contains the tracking information you want to capture, such as your account ID, campaign ID, or ad group ID. When a user clicks on your ad, Google automatically adds the tracking template to the destination URL and records the tracking information in analytics.

While both tracking templates and UTM parameters allow you to track and measure the performance, tracking templates are specific to Google and offer a simpler way to track basic campaign information, such as account and campaign IDs. A tracking template however, have almost unlimited potential to include various property settings that are difficult to achieve with normal url parameters. You can use an account level tracking template, campaign level or to a specific ad on ad level. The tracking template is applied in the account settings or under advanced settings.


How to Use UTM Tracking Parameters for Google Ads Campaign

Campaign parameters

This UTM parameter for Google campaigns is a powerful tool that enables you to track the overall performance of your campaigns. Whether you’re launching a new product, running a seasonal promotion, or implementing any other marketing initiative, the campaign parameter allows you to monitor the effectiveness of your efforts and make data-driven decisions to optimise your campaigns.

To use it effectively, you need to ensure that you are using descriptive and meaningful tags. For example, instead of using generic tags like “campaign1” or “springpromotion,” consider using more specific and descriptive tags such as “productlaunch” or “summersale.” This will make it easier to identify the purpose of each campaign in your analytics reports and gain insights into their performance.

Additionally, it can provide insights into the customer journey and purchasing behaviour via Google analytics. For example, if you’re running a campaign for a product launch, you can track how users are interacting with your ads and website, from the initial click to the final conversion. This data can help you identify any drop-off points in the customer journey and optimise your campaigns to improve conversion rates.

Furthermore, it can be used to track the performance of different marketing channels or mediums. For example, if you’re running the same campaign on multiple platforms such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and email marketing, you can use different campaign tags for each platform to identify which one is driving the most visitors or conversions. This information can help you optimise your marketing budget by allocating more resources to the channels that are delivering the best results.

To add it to your Google Ads URLs, you can use the following syntax:

?utm_campaign=campaign_name – the utm parameters should always begin with a question mark.

For example


Source parameter

This allows you to track the origin of your website traffic. This could be a search engine, social media platform, email newsletter, or any other source.

Moreover, it can help you identify the most effective sources of visitors for your specific marketing goals. For instance, if you’re running a Google campaign to promote a new product, you can use UTM parameters to track which sources are driving the most visitors and conversions for that specific product.

This information can help you refine your targeting strategy, optimise your ads, and allocate more resources to the sources that are performing well.

Additionally, it can help you track the performance of different marketing channels or mediums within the same source. For example, if you’re promoting your ads through email newsletters, you can use different source tags for each newsletter to identify which one is generating the most conversions.

This data can help you optimise your email marketing campaigns by identifying the most effective newsletters and optimising those that are not performing well.

To add it to your Google Ads URLs, you can use the following syntax:

utm_source=source_name – For example


Medium parameter

This is another one of the beneficial UTM tracking parameters that is a crucial element that helps you track the type of traffic your website is receiving. It provides insights into the different mediums through which visitors are arriving at your website. This could be organic search paid search, social media, or any other type of traffic. To effectively use it for your campaigns, first, you need to determine the mediums that are relevant to your advertising efforts.

Once you’ve defined your mediums, you can add this to your URLs. You can do this by appending it and its corresponding value to your landing page URL. For example, if you’re running a paid search campaign on Google Ads, you can add “?utm_medium=cpc” to the end of your LP URL.

This will allow Google Analytics to capture its value, and attribute it to the visitors that arrives on your page. Click here to learn how to measure landing page performance.

After implementing the medium parameter, you can start monitoring and analysing the data in your Google Analytics account. You can view the performance of different mediums in the Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium report. This report will provide insights into the visitors, conversions, and other key performance indicators (KPIs) generated by different mediums, helping you understand the effectiveness of your marketing channels.


Content parameter

This allows you to track the specific content or ad that is driving visitors to your website. Here’s how you can effectively use the UTM content parameter:

Define your content tags

First, you need to define content tags that accurately represent the specific content or ad you want to track. For example, you could use tags like “banner_ad1,” “social_post1,” or “email_campaign1” to identify different pieces of content or ads.


Add this to your URLs

Once you have defined your content tags, you can add the content parameter to the URLs of your landing pages or destination URLs in your Google campaigns. You can do this by appending “?utm_content=” followed by the content tag to the end of your URLs.

For example, you can add “?utm_content=banner_ad1” to the URL of a page associated with a specific banner ad. This will enable Google Analytics to capture its value for tracking purposes.


Optimise your ads and content

Based on the insights obtained from the content parameter, you can optimise your Google campaigns and content strategies. For instance, if you find that a particular content tag is generating high-converting visitors, you can allocate more budget and resources to that specific content or ad, or create similar content to capitalise on its success.

On the other hand, if certain content tags are not performing well, you may need to revise the content, targeting, or other elements to improve their performance. Here’s a handy guide about what content doesn’t work as a lead magnet.


Term parameter

This is the last in UTM tracking parameters and is a valuable tool for tracking the performance of specific keywords in your paid search campaigns on Google Ads. To use the term parameter, first, you need to define keyword tags that accurately represent the specific keywords you want to track.

Once you have defined your keyword tags, you can add them to the URLs of your landing pages or destination URLs in your campaigns. You can do this by appending “?utm_term=” followed by the keyword tag at the end of your URLs.

The data obtained from it can also help you refine your overall keyword strategy. For example, if you see that certain keywords are driving significant traffic and conversions, you may want to invest more in those keywords or expand your campaigns to include more variations of them.

Conversely, if certain keyword tags are not generating desired results, you may need to revisit your keyword strategy and make adjustments accordingly.


BONUS: What is a custom parameter?

Custom parameters are a feature that allows advertisers to dynamically pass values from their website or app to their Google campaigns. Moreover, custom parameters are used in conjunction with Google Ads’ tracking templates to customise the URLs of Google campaign and track specific data about the ad click.

Custom parameters are typically used to capture additional information about a click or conversion, such as the source of the click, the type of product or service being advertised, or any other data that is relevant to the advertiser’s business goals. This data can then be used for tracking, reporting, and optimisation purposes in your analytics tools.


Personalised tracking

Custom parameters are set up in the Ads account at the campaign, ad group, or keyword level, and can be used in the tracking template or the final URL of an ad. They are represented by placeholders, such as {parameter_name}, in the URL, which are then replaced with actual values when the ad is served. These placeholders can be customised by the advertiser to capture the desired information.

Custom parameters are commonly used for advanced tracking and optimisation strategies, such as dynamic keyword insertion, personalised landing page experiences, or to capture additional data for offline conversions. However, they require technical implementation and may require coordination with the advertiser’s website or app development team to ensure that the correct data is passed and tracked accurately.


The key takeaway

In the ever-evolving world of digital advertising, tracking and measuring the performance of your campaigns is essential to optimising your results. 43% of consumers typically make a purchase a week after seeing the Google Ad. This statistic demonstrates how well Google campaigns works at encouraging users to purchase stuff.

In conclusion, when you apply UTM parameters, you can track, measure, and optimise the performance of your Google Campaigns using Google analytics. By accurately tagging your URLs with campaign, source, medium, content, and term parameters, you can gain valuable insights into how your adverts are performing, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven optimisations to enhance your results.

Remember to consistently use descriptive and accurate naming conventions for your parameters, and also ensure that you have proper conversion tracking set up in your Google Ads account for a comprehensive analysis of your campaigns. With the right utilisation of UTM tracking parameters, you can improve the effectiveness of your campaigns and achieve better results in your digital marketing efforts.