Tut #1: UTM_Medium & How to REALLY Set Up Your UTM Tags


In this tutorial you will learn what UTM link tracking really is; how it fits into your reporting and how to get started with utm_medium – the first of several key tracking UTM parameters.

Thank you for joining our new blog series offering quick and easy training on UTM tags and how to use them to build an effective digital performance tracking strategy. Welcome to Tutorial # 1, which will focus on utm_medium.

Tut # 1 Takeaways

  • What UTM link tracking really is and how it needs to fit into your reporting process
  • What utm_medium really is and why I recommend a limited number of Mediums
  • What to expect next

Today, digital marketing takes up the largest share of the marketing budgets. And digital advertisement investments keep growing each year. In 2022 alone, that number was $602 billion. It is expected to grow up close to $900 billion by 2026.

The problem is that most marketers are struggling to measure digital spend ROI. Not for the lack of trying though – likely it is because they are dealing with poor quality data.

There is a well established mechanism to track digital marketing performance and collect the data you need to measure digital spend ROI. It is informally known as UTM link tracking.

The challenge is that for the mechanism to work and provide value, it needs to be applied consistently and uniformly across all external (incl. paid and owned) digital channels, so that the data it produces is reliable and accurate.


  • First, we need to remember that digital link tracking is an integral part of our web analytics process.
    • Although our analytics tool does not create the tracking links for us, we need it to read the tracking information in these links and provide insights that will help us drive better ROI.
  • So, to avoid reporting inconsistencies and data issues, the format and setup of our link tracking strategy has to be aligned with that of our web analytics tool.

Let’s Start with “utm_medium” and Our Web Traffic

1. If you are using Google Analytics, you know that it segments website traffic into several main buckets, called channels:

  • Visits from Email
  • Visits from Organic Search
  • Visits from Social, and more.
channel grouping is based on utm_medium
This is the Google Analytics Default Channel Grouping

2. The dimension used to segment the traffic into these main channels, is called “medium”, also known as utm_medium – one of the main UTM tags that you need to use for your link tracking.

3. The channels are set up via the default Channel Grouping in Google Analytics and accessible for reporting through the Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels.

Where to find Channels in Google Analytics Reports: Acquisition>All Traffic>Channels


  • Edit the default Channel Grouping defined by Google Analytics to add new channels that complete your marketing strategy requirements.
  • I would recommend a limited, set number of utm_medium tags. You should correlate these with your CRM as well – for consistent reporting across platforms.
  • Remember – the utm_medium serves to group your traffic into your main highest-level reporting buckets. When you think of reporting, you want to start with giving stakeholders an overview of the main top channels that drive traffic to your web properties. That’s where you use utm_medium.
  • The names and number of the utm_medium tags used for your link tracking strategy should be the same as those in your Google Analytics (excluding direct and organic, for which we do not build tracking links).
  • If they aren’t, work with your analytics team to set it up. If they don’t match, your reports will have accuracy issues.
Check out Our Training Series on Best-in-class TrackingSeries Overview

Quick Tip:

UTM_Medium is always required and needs to be present in your tracking links.

Google Analytics actually tells you how you have to set up your UTM_Medium for Social, Email, Other paid advertising, and displays – so you should follow these standardized formats and your setup should be super easy!

  • Example: for paid search, pick either utm_medium=cpc, ppc, or paidsearch  (see the Default Channel Groupings Image above featuring definitions for “medium”)

Further Reading:


A tutorial can’t be a real training resource if it does not have a quiz. So here is our quick quiz that will help you establish yourself as a real utm_medium PRO, enjoy:


Session 2 Quiz: UTM_Medium

Solidify your knowledge from Tutorial # 1, take the quick quiz here.

1 / 5

How will Google Analytics know that your traffic came from Display Advertising?

2 / 5

The UTM_Medium for your email channel has to be utm_medium="email" to ensure Google Analytics can automatically allocate email traffic in its correct bucket.

3 / 5

If the default traffic channels in your Google Analytics platform are not enough to match your marketing strategy:

4 / 5

How to tell Google Analytics that I am buying Bing Search Ads?

5 / 5

What does UTM_medium correlate with in your Google Analytics platform? (select all that apply)

Your score is

The average score is 83%


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What Do you Need to Setup utm_medium in CampaignTrackly

Now that you are a pro when it comes to utm_medium, create an excel spreadsheet that has all of your final utm medium tags, making sure they are all aligned with your analytics platform. Once we have covered utm_source (in our next tut), you will be able to head over to our Settings>UTM Channel Tags to put things in place. We let you combine UTM mediums with sources to achieve economies of scale with one-click tagging. But if you feel that we should separate them – we would like to hear your feedback and recommendations at support@campaigntrackly.com!

What to Expect Next

Tut #2 will continue looking at your UTM Link tracking strategy within the framework of your analytics and reporting tool. We will delve into UTM_Channel, what it really is and how to set it up. Sign up for the series to get notified when the next tut is out.

Milena is a digital marketing and data expert with 17+ years' experience driving strategy execution and business growth through marketing automation, data solutions, and integrated marketing campaigns. Milena is a blogger, speaker, technologist and founder of campaigntrackly.com - a marketing app that scales the process of creating tracking links. She often writes on quora.com or speaks at various digital marketing events.