How to Use UTM Parameters to Track Email Campaign Performance

Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool and is used by almost all businesses today. Be it lead generation or retargeting, email marketing meets so many objectives of your holistic marketing plan. Implementing the email marketing strategy is one part, but monitoring its effectiveness is the more challenging aspect. Most marketers often fail in tracking their emails and thus miss out on getting detailed insights about email’s performance.

Measuring the CTR (click-through-rate) and engagement is good, but the key is to measure what happens after your user opens your email and reaches the landing page. How they interact with your website, what do they do, where do they click, are all key elements to monitor. That’s where UTM parameters come in handy.

UTM parameters

UTM (Urchin Tracking Parameters) was introduced by Google, which later evolved into Google Analytics. A UTM parameter, or a campaign parameter, or UTM code, is a tiny piece of data in text format that we add to our URLs to monitor different traffic sources of your website. UTM parameters, when added to the link of various clickable elements of the email, provide detailed information to marketers about a particular email campaign.

There are five parameters that you can use in a UTM code:

Campaign medium – It is the particular marketing channel that routed the user to your website. Different mediums can be email, social, paid, organic, etc.

Campaign source – This is the specific source within the channel that referred the subscriber to your website. For example, under the channel ‘Email’ the source can be a newsletter.

Campaign name – It is the name of the specific marketing campaign that you’re running. It can be product launches, promotional campaigns, offers, etc.

Campaign content – If you are using multiple links under a single campaign, then you can distinguish them through campaign content. This is a specific piece of information and is an optional field.

Using UTM codes in emails is a great way to better your understanding of user behavior. You can monitor what they do once they reach your website through your email. UTM parameters also help in monitoring email engagement, email performance, conversions, sessions, revenue, page views, etc. Moreover, you can analyse content performance as well.

How to set UTM parameters in email?

There are many custom UTM builders available on the internet, which automatically generate custom UTM codes and add them to your emails. You can use any one of the most popular ones. However, if you don’t have a custom tool, Google has got you covered. It has its own Campaign URL builder, which you can use for free.

You can add all the essential information and any additional details in the fields and generate a URL. This URL can then be added to different elements of your email. After generating a UTM code for each email element, simply copy and paste it to replace the original link with the new UTM link. There can be multiple clickable elements in an email like logo, image, CTA button, etc. You may choose three different campaign content to analyse which element is clicked the most.

How to track email campaigns?

Setting up UTM codes for your email campaigns is one part of the job. Once you send out your campaign, you can use analytical tools to start monitoring the traffic. Google Analytics is the most popularly used analytical tool that gives access to a variety of reports for analysis.

The most basic report is the channel report which provides insight into different traffic drivers. You can see which source is the key traffic generator for your website and can compare emails against other channels. The data is broken down into categories like Acquisition, Behavior and Conversions and can be accessed through Acquisition > Overview > All Traffic > Channels from the sidebar of your Google Analytics account.

To monitor the performance of your email campaigns you can use ‘The Campaigns Report’. This report shows you how many sessions and visitors each campaign brought to your site. You can even check how many people purchased from your site and the combined value of those purchases if you’re directly selling from your website.

You can access the report by clicking on ‘Email’ within the Channel Report and then choosing “Campaign” as the primary dimension.


  • Email tracking through UTM codes gives you precise information about which email and which link in an email is clicked the most. Deep insights of this sort are not possible using any other form of email tracking.
  • It also provides vital audience demographics information so that you can monitor and improve your targeting.
  • Other email tracking metrics like ‘open rates’ give you the number and percentage of users who opened your email. A low open rate suggests that your emails are failing to entice the readers, and they don’t wish to read your emails. You can rethink on elements like email frequency, subject line etc. to improve the open rate.
  • You can check the click-through rate (CTR), which shows the number of clicks on the links included in a particular email. If the numbers are low, you must re-examine your email marketing strategy and modify it to match your customers’ needs and behavior.
  • ‘Conversion rate’ for each email allows you to monitor the success rates of all emails individually and find out the best success rate. These are the users that ultimately leapt forward towards becoming a long-lasting customer.

To conclude

One thing is clear – email tracking using UTM codes is essential to track the real performance of your emails. Whether you do it by automatically generating the codes or manually, UTM codes provide detailed insights at a granular level. It is the best way to track your ROI for email marketing.