Last Modified on December 22, 2023
UTM parameters are essential for tracking website traffic sources in Google Analytics 4. You’ve now successfully created UTM parameters for your incoming links, but don’t know how to see them in your GA4 account.
There are numerous tutorials on creating UTM parameters, but only a few show how to find UTM codes in GA4. To understand the best way to analyze your UTMs in GA4, you must know how to look at data inside your GA4 account.
We’ll show you these two ways of viewing data, their use cases, and our process when working with UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:
- UTM Parameters in Google Analytics 4 Overview
- How to View UTM Parameters in GA4
- Analyzing UTM Parameters in Exploration Reports
- Comparing Different Versions of UTM Content Through Segments
Let’s dive in!
UTM Parameters in Google Analytics 4 Overview
To start, a Google Merchandise Store will be the case that we’ll work on in this tutorial.
We can buy all kinds of Google products in this store, and there is also a newsletter you can sign up for. Accordingly, all links inside the newsletter have UTM parameters.
This tool is a free resource that helps create your landing page URL. You only need to populate the corresponding fields to each parameter, and the URL gets generated automatically.
When you add parameters to a URL, you should always use the utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign fields.
The next set of parameters is optional. These include utm_content, utm_term, utm_id, and utm_source_platform. The last two, utm_creative_format and utm_marketing_tactic, are currently not reported in GA4 properties.
🚨 Note: For complete details on the GA4 UTM parameters, check out Google’s documentation on GA4 URL builders.
The generated UTM appended URL is at the end.
These links can then be used inside your newsletter, for example. Once a user clicks on this link in the newsletter, they will be redirected to your website.
Let’s simulate this quickly. Notice the UTM key-value pairs at the end of the URL after the question mark (?) and separated by the ampersand (&) symbol.
The UTMs will then get read and stored by GA4. They’ll help you know where the user came from.
How to View UTM Parameters in GA4
Once inside your account, how can you view these UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4 and read them correctly?
The first destination that you should know is under the standard reports.
Go to Reports → Acquisition → Traffic Acquisition.
Here, you can view your UTMs already in the table below. Initially, the primary dimension of the table is the default channel grouping.
To change this, click on the Session default channel group.
Select Session source/medium. This dimension combines the source and medium used to navigate the website.
We want to find the source for our newsletter in September 2022. Referencing our list, this is the Newsletter_Sept_2022 source.
To see this in our report, we’ll change the date range. Click the date range at the top-right corner.
Here, set the date range for the start and end of September 2022.
Great! We can now see our newsletter source with the email medium.
How about the other UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4? You can add a secondary dimension to the table by clicking on +.
For this demonstration, add the campaign name. Search campaign, then select Session campaign.
After a few seconds, the table will update and show the campaign name we entered in our sheet when we built the URLs.
Note that this table in the traffic acquisition report can only display up to two dimensions. If you want to dig deeper, it gets complicated in this report. We add some filters to make this work and find the correct number.
Analyzing UTM Parameters in Exploration Reports
We always recommend going straight to exploration reports.
There are multiple templates that we can choose from. We want something fully custom to our needs, so let’s start with a blank report.
Go to Explore → Blank.
First, let’s provide a name for our exploration report. Next, we need to specify the data we want to put together. We’ll add them by going to the Dimensions and Metrics section.
Starting with the metrics, we’re interested in seeing how many sessions our UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4 generate.
Type sessions in the search bar, then select Sessions. Finally, click Import.
For the dimensions, we will add all our UTM parameters. Naming is not simple inside GA4, so we must know the corresponding values.
Some matching dimensions are straightforward – remove the utm and add a session before the parameter name. However, some are not so direct.
Here is a table matching the UTM parameter to the correct dimension.
|Session campaign ID
|Session source platform
|Session manual term
|Session manual ad content
If you don’t want to memorize this list, you are always safe to put the session first. Next, all UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4 are under the Traffic Source section. Select the matching dimensions, then click Import.
We can now start building our report.
First, let’s add the sessions metric to the report so that we can see data coming in. Click and drag Sessions to the Values section.
Next, we’ll add the largest bucket of our UTM parameters, the session medium.
Add the Session medium dimension to the Rows section. We’ll get the data for our used mediums in a table to the right.
Next, let’s change the reporting time frame for the whole month of September 2022. Notice the changes to our data in the table.
Next, let’s add the session source, as well. Now, we can see our Newsletter_Sept_2022 source.
For this analysis, we only want to focus on data for our newsletter. We can continue adding the other parameters to our report and locate our newsletter source. However, this will generate numerous rows of data, making our analysis harder.
The best way forward is to add a filter to our report. There is a Filters section that you could use to configure your filters below.
We’ll show you a far easier trick. Click on the dimension/metric we want to filter in the table, then click Include Only Selection.
It automatically applies a filter for the Session medium that matches the email.
The filter for the Session source that matches our Newsletter_Sept_2022 source will also be applied.
If we want to add another dimension like the Session campaign, our report will get crowded. Since we have filtered the report, remove the Session medium and source by clicking ✖.
We’re now looking at only the session campaign but filtered down to our email medium and newsletter source. Here, we already can get some great insights.
We had a birthday campaign sent out and two versions of the newsletter. As we can see, more sessions and traffic are coming from version 1.
We can still add more metrics at this stage of building the report. Since this is an eCommerce store, the Transactions metric would make sense.
Add the Transactions dimension to the Values section.
We can look at these two and compare them. We also got more transactions on the first version. There are still more UTM parameters that we could look at, so let’s go back to our UTM builder list.
Adding UTM Content to Exploration Report
If we look at the utm_content parameters, we see a start shopping button and a birthday banner.
Let’s add the utm_content, as well. To refresh your memory, this is the Session manual ad content dimension. Add this to the Rows section.
Our report is getting crowded again, so we might want to filter it again.
Let’s look at the Start_Shopping_Button and click Include Only Selection.
Let’s now look at our Filters.
We have two additional filters for the campaign name and content.
What should we do if we wanted to compare the two campaign versions of the start shopping button content?
Comparing Different Versions of UTM Content Through Segments
When we created our filters earlier, keep in mind that our selection will create filters down to the smallest bucket of our data.
For our example, we filtered down to the start shopping button, and filters for content and campaign parameters were created. Similarly, we applied the source and medium filters when we selected the newsletter source.
Since we want to compare the two campaign versions of our start shopping button content, we need to remove the filter for the campaign name. Next, minimize the Variables and Tab Settings panes to see the data better.
We can now clearly see that the first version outperforms the second version by a large margin.
These are great insights you can get when working with your UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4. If you have them correctly documented, you can dig into the data inside GA4’s exploration section to see these data.
What if you wanted to use this data later on and compare it against other shopping campaigns or another set of UTMs? What we can do is create a segment of our data. There is a shortcut to doing this quickly in our GA4 exploration report.
Right-click the start shopping button content, then click Create Segment from Selection.
It will copy all the different filters and apply them to a new segment. Give a name to this segment, and then click Save.
We can even create an audience out of this one. If you wanted to, you could also send this to Google Ads and retarget this one.
Next, remove all the filters and look into a different segment. Let’s start by looking at the session source and medium segment again.
This time, let’s look at the Google CPC campaign and create the filters for this selection.
Go ahead and make the filters for this selection. Click on Google and select Include Only Selection.
Next, replace the dimensions in the Row section for the ad content and the campaign name. Select a random data point in the table and create a segment for that selection.
Now, we can compare our two segments. Remove all the filters applied to our report and the dimensions in the row section.
Let’s add a dimension for the data we want to compare in the two segments. For this one, let’s put the Session medium.
Now, let’s add our two segments in the Segment Comparisons section.
Now, we have the two segments side by side and a Totals section at the end.
We can now compare the transactions of the birthday campaign to the Google CPC campaign and the total value of both. This comparison allows us to determine which performed better in certain areas.
Our example doesn’t make much sense comparing by session medium, since there is no intersection, but this shows you how you could dig deeper and compare data between two segments side-by-side.
The explorations report is flexible if you know how to work with the data. There are many other visualizations available, as well.
If you want to see your data over time, click on it in the Visualization section, then GA4 will generate this for you.
Can I analyze UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4 Exploration Reports?
Yes, you can analyze UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4 Exploration Reports. By creating a blank exploration report, you can add UTM parameters as dimensions and metrics to build a custom report. This allows you to analyze the performance of UTMs and compare different parameters, such as source, medium, campaign, and more.
How can I compare different versions of UTM content in Google Analytics 4?
To compare different versions of UTM content in Google Analytics 4, you can use segments in Exploration Reports. By applying filters and creating segments based on specific UTM parameters, you can compare the performance of different versions side-by-side. This helps you understand which version of the content is more effective in driving traffic and achieving your goals.
Can I create segments and audiences based on UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4?
Yes, you can create segments based on UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4. By selecting specific UTM parameters and applying filters, you can create segments that isolate and analyze data related to those parameters. These segments can be used to compare performance, create audiences for remarketing purposes, and gain deeper insights into the impact of your UTM parameters on website traffic.
We hope this guide helped you discover how to dig into and decode UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4. It’s a matter of putting everything together, knowing where the data is, and then slicing and dicing so you can get to the insights.
To recap, we can quickly see our parameters in the traffic acquisition report or personalize our analysis in an exploration report.
These are by no means the only analysis technique on UTM parameters. You can take the data and analyze it in a third-party tool or a Looker Studio dashboard. If you’re new to GA4 UTM tracking, check out our guide on How to Track UTM in GA4.
Which UTM parameter do you use most often? Which method would you use to view your UTMs? Let us know in the comments below!