Understanding UTM Tracking Options


Sendlane provides UTM tracking functionality that can be applied automatically to all Campaign and Automation emails and can be customized for individual emails. Read on to learn about how UTM tracking works, and when to override global UTM tracking with customized parameters.

In This Guide

What Are UTM Parameters?

UTM parameters are key-value pairs separated by an ampersand that are appended to a URL to determine the source of website traffic. When you use UTM tracking, your analytics platform collects data about which link a Contact clicked that can then be used to identify trends in content that performs well.

Let's look at a URL in an email from the Sendlane marketing team containing a link to a new blog on the importance of reviews for eCommerce to learn how UTM tracking can be used in your marketing strategy:

  • https://www.sendlane.com/blog/importance-of-reviews is the base URL, or the page that Contacts will land on if they click the hyperlinked text in the email. 
  • ? the question mark signals the end of the base URL and the start of UTM parameters
  • utm_campaign=sendlane%20blog is the Campaign key-value pair, where utm_campaign is the key and sendlane%20blog is the value 
  • & the ampersand signals that there are additional UTM parameters attached to the URL
  • utm_source=email is the Source key-value pair, where source is the key and email is the value 
  • utm_medium=fri-newsletter is the Medium key-value pair, where medium is the key and fri-newsletter is the value 
  • utm_content=importance%20of%20reviews%20in%20ecom%20hyperlink is the content key-value pair, where content is the key and importance%20of%20reviews%20in%20ecom%20hyperlink is the value

From just one click, the Sendlane marketing department can determine that a Contact opened a Friday newsletter email and clicked on a link to the blog about reviews. The Sendlane team now knows this person is at least somewhat interested in Reviews and could add a Tag to the Contact's profile to make sure they get more content about Reviews.

Determine Global and Customized UTM Settings

The UTM medium and content parameters in the above example from the Sendlane marketing blog are very specific to that individual email and won't provide useful data if applied globally because their focus is too small. Applying utm_medium=fri-newsletter parameter to all emails will make it seem like all email traffic comes from the Friday newsletter, and utm_content=importance%20of%20reviews%20in%20ecom%20hyperlink applied globally will make it seem like the only link anyone ever clicks on is this specific link.

Generally, source and medium parameters are appropriate to set globally because they are unlikely to change frequently. Campaign, term, and content parameters tend to be customized for individual emails.

Looking again at the example URL above, global UTM Tracking and customized UTM Tracking set up in Sendlane would look like this:

Global UTM Tracking

Since the Sendlane marketing team uses a variety of values for Campaign, Term, and Content, those parameters are turned off on the UTM Tracking page. Only Source and Medium are turned on globally.

Customized UTM Tracking

On the settings page of the email builder, the Sendlane marketing team decides to override the global values of Medium and Campaign. All other Campaign emails will still set the parameters and values on the UTM Tracking page unless they are individually customized. The content parameter is also specified in the individual email because not all emails contain the same content, and Term is left unchecked because it is not needed.

⏭️ Next Steps

Ready to get started with UTM tracking? Check out How to Set Up Global UTM Tracking for instructions!

Additional Resources

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