Simple UTM Builder + Google UTM Alternatives

UTM builders are tools that add custom campaign parameters to your URL so you can track these campaigns in Google Analytics. They are essential to you being able to track the success of your campaigns. 

You can use these URLs in your Facebook, retargeting, and email campaigns, and that’s just to name a few.

But, you already know this, which is why you’re here. 

At Terminus App, we’ve designed this URL Builder tool below to help you. It’s super easy, and only takes three steps:

STEP 1: ENTER URL
*
STEP 2: SPECIFY UTM PARAMETERS
STEP 3: GET YOUR UTM URL


 

Tools like this are super helpful if you’d like to get an idea of how your UTMs could look, or even if you’d like to run your first campaign. However, if you’re a serious marketer and need to test multiple campaigns across multiple channels, we’d highly recommend a more advanced option. 

Here are some other options for building and tracking your UTMs.

Most Popular URL Builders – Pros and Cons

1. Manual tagging

When talking about UTM campaign tagging, most blogs only mention Google’s URL builder, this is most likely because creating your own UTM codes inevitably results in making mistakes, and wasting your time. That’s why it’s worth exploring a few other tools, some of which not only help you build, but also manage your UTM tracking URLs. You can then choose the best tool for your marketing campaigns considering your analytics requirements, team size, risk tolerance, and budget.

However, for the sake of this tutorial, let’s try building a URL to get familiar with its format. Let’s say you need to track visits to your site at www.yoursite.com for your summer_launch campaign that you promote on Twitter. So you have,

URL = www.yoursite.com
utm_source = twitter
utm_medium = social
utm_campaign = summer_launch

The tagged URL will be:

www.yoursite.com/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=summer_launch

You will notice that a question mark (?) separates the actual URL and the first parameter while ampersand (&) separates the other parameters.

Pros of Manual Tagging:

  • No software or website needed

Cons of Manual Tagging:

  • Extremely error-prone
  • Your memory and knowledge of URL formats is all you have
  • Very difficult to be consistent

2. Google URL Builder Tool

This is the most popular URL builder tool out there. It’s the first to appear in the search engines and because it’s created by Google, it has the impression that it must be more correct than others. Some believe that it helps Google Analytics recognize their campaign parameters.

However, that’s not true. The Google URL builder tool is good for one-off URL creation, but it’s not ideal if you want to track entire campaigns across your site. Here’s what it looks like if you haven’t seen it already:

Google URL Builder

Pros of Google UTM Generator:

     • Simple to use
     • Free

Cons of Google UTM Generator:

     • Does not remember your campaign tags or your URL.
     • No way for you to force consistency in tagging.
     • Does not automatically shorten URLs.

3. URL Builder Spreadsheets

As you start to tag more than a handful of URLs, it’s better to start saving them along with their campaign parameters. For this purpose, spreadsheets are an obvious choice. You can either go with Microsoft Excel or Google Spreadsheets (which is what I prefer).

If you are a serious marketer, you should keep track of your URLs. 

I repeat… If you are a serious marketer, you should keep track of your URLs.

Combined with a good tagging strategy, keeping track of URLs can enable you to get accurate analytics reports. You can then compare your traffic and conversion numbers across different mediums, sources and even year-over-year. You can gain a lot of insight from such comparisons. Without saving your campaign parameters, you cannot implement any tagging strategy consistently.

There are many spreadsheets templates available online for campaign tagging. If you decide to go with the spreadsheet option, you could try this free Google Analytics URL Builder Spreadsheet.

Pros of URL Builder Spreadsheets:

     • Remembers your past URLs and campaign parameters
     • Your team has a central place to go to for building URLs
     • Helps achieve consistency for your tagging guidelines
     • It’s free

Cons of URL Builder Spreadsheets:

     • Cannot handle anchor tags because of URL parsing limitations of a spreadsheet.
     • Cannot URL encode arbitrary UTM values. This can result in invalid URLs.
     • 
Easy to overwrite the formulas and break the  spreadsheet
     • 
Difficult to tag URLs in bulk
     • 
Cannot automatically shorten tagged URLs
       (possible with some advanced spreadsheet voodoo)
     • 
Cannot see clicks on shortened URLs

4. Terminus app

Terminus, like spreadsheets, helps you build and manage UTM tracking URLs and has several other convenient features. It also hides the nitty-gritty details of maintaining a spreadsheet.

To build a tracking URL in Terminus, enter one or more destination URLs. You can then either select from pre-existing UTM parameters or enter new ones. Here’s what the Terminus URL Builder looks like:

 

Terminus URL builder gif

You can also save the combination of UTM parameters in a preset. It can then be used to quickly tag new URLs with the same set of parameters.

If you need to add multiple sets of UTM tags to a URL, say you are publishing a new blog post, you can do it in as little as two clicks.

 

You can even quickly add UTM tracking to all the URLs in your emails and generate a fully UTM tracked email in seconds.

email tracking using terminusapp

With Terminus, it’s possible to make your UTM conventions part of your URL builder. Define as many conventions as you like. No need to remember them anymore.

Terminus URL shortener

 

After you save the URLs, Terminus automatically shortens all of them. If you like, you can configure your own custom domain, use Terminus shortener, or connect your own Bitly account. You can then copy shortened URLs with a single click and use it for your various marketing campaigns. A typical list of URLs looks like this:

Terminus app link tracking PNG

Pros of Terminus app:

  • Remembers your past URLs and UTM parameters
  • Your team has a central place to go to for building URLs

(each team member can have fine-grained permissions)

  • Automatically shortens UTM tagged URLs
  • Keeps track of clicks on shortened URLs
  • Can tag URLs in bulk
  • Many other features like custom parameters, presets, preset groups,

redirect codes, clicks reports, audits, etc.

Cons of Terminus app:

  • It’s not free

Start your 21-day free trial to find out if it works for you and your team. Cancel with one-click. There’s zero risks.

Final Thoughts:

I’m sure there are more such tools out there. Once you understand your needs and the capabilities of these tools, you will be able to choose one with confidence.

Having said that, all of the above tools are just that. Tools. Remember that creating a coherent and consistent strategy is needed to have your UTM tags remain intact. With an adhesive plan, your traffic reports will dodge any mishaps.