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๐Ÿ’ฅUpdated for 2024๐Ÿ’ฅ 
Claire's Guide to UTM Tagging for
Google Business Profile (GBP)

In this resource, I will share with you my process for tagging ALL THE THINGS in Google Business Profile, plus I'll give you a super handy Google Sheet that will do all of the heavy lifting for you.

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This is the process I use with all of my clients to measure the value of GBP and identify what works, and what doesn’t. 

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I will share with you a Google sheet so you can generate your own tags…read on for a link to this (don’t skip, this stuff is important!) ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿ‘‡

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If you’re wondering ‘what’s a UTM parameter’?’ I do my very best to explain that in this Moz WBF.  

GA4 and UTM Tagging - quick, quick - the sky is falling down!


Or is it?  Sure - sometimes it's hard to learn something new, especially when you have a million and one other things to be getting on with. 

 

However, GA4 is what we've got - so if you haven't got yourself up to speed I recommend heading over to BrightLocal Academy and consuming Dana DiTomaso's GA4: Essentials for Local SEO Course (it's free, you're welcome).  Then, for a deep dive, I recommend Kick Point's Analytics for Agencies course (It costs $979 and it'll honestly be one of the best investments you'll ever make).

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What's the difference between GA UA and GA4 UTMs?

In GA UA there are (were) 5 parameters that could be used to track website visitors.

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GA4 has some *new* UTM parameters, which are:

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  • utm_source_platform – UTM source platform identifies the platform your website link was run on to associate it with the appropriate marketing activity and categorizes it into Google Ads, Manual, or Shopping Free Listings.

  • utm_marketing_tactic – The parameter shows the tactics used, such as remarketing, onboarding, prospecting, etc.

  • utm_creative_format – It records the creative material used by your ad campaigns, such as skyscraper, carousel, interactive, video, and image.

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I don't use any of these in the way I tag up GBP URLs.

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Reporting using GA4

The change from UA to GA4 of course has implications for how you can see your UTM tagged data in analytics.   In GA UA I personally found it pretty easy to use the interface to see data sliced and diced the way I wanted it.  In the Ga4 interface...not so much.

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I'd recommend using Looker Studio to pull in your GBP campaign data from GA to measure GBP performance.  I'm working on a template for this now - that you'll be able to copy and then connect your own GA4 data.  Contact me if you'd like me to share this with you when it's done!

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Who is this for?

This guide will suit small businesses with just one location, as well as proving useful for multi location businesses.  If you're using a third party tool to manage your GBP profiles and the links they include, or if you pay an agency to do this for you you can use this guide to help inform you about whether the correct UTM tagging is being implemented on your profiles.

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Single locations should use the ‘Primary Links (single location)’ tab and multi locations the ‘Primary Links (multi location)’ tab on the Google Sheet (more on that below…keep reading!)

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Why tag your URLs?

We tag URLs for a range of reasons.  One of the most important reasons is that without UTM tagging the traffic that arrives on our website from the GBP links on Google search, Google maps on search, the Google Maps app or any other surface that uses GBP data will usually end up in one of two buckets in Google Analytics.

 

  • Direct - many mobile apps and browsers don't pass along any referral details into GA, and that traffic is just going to end up in the Direct bucket.

  • Organic - lumping all of our GBP referred traffic into Organic is *fine* but...

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...we're marketers. We're very used to having to demonstrate our value and the value of our services. If the traffic from GBP ends up in the direct bucket or the organic buckets and there's no way of separating it out - how do we illustrate the value of our work to our clients or our organisation?

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What links can I tag?

The links you have available to you in your Google Business Profile will depend on your primary category, so take a look and see what your business(es) have, read on and then get your tagging MOJO on.

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TL;DR – tag everything.

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Primary links

By ‘primary links’ I mean some of common links you can add from your profile:

 

  • website link (all profiles)

  • menu link (some profiles)

  • appointment link (some profiles)

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Make sure these link to the correct page on your site, the canonical version of that URL (the number of links I still see to http that then redirect to https is ๐Ÿ˜ฑ) and of course, make sure they’re tagged up with UTM tags!

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You'll find the fields for these links on the tabs named: #๏ธโƒฃ GENERATOR: Primary Links (single location) and ๐ŸŸ GENERATOR: Primary Links (multi-location)

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Activities and Admissions

If you need to know more about Google's 'Things to do' programme read this guide I wrote on BrightLocal's website.

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If you have access to the 'booking module' ('tickets' in the NMX) or the 'operator booking module' ('activities' in the NMX) then you can go ahead and add your links.โ€‹

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Both of these modules give businesses the chance to add links to their website - the 'booking module' should link through to your ticketing page(s) and the 'operator booking module' through to the tours/activities pages on your website. โ€‹

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You'll find the fields for these links on the tabs named:  ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿพ NEW GENERATOR: Activities and ๐ŸŽŸ๏ธ NEW GENERATOR: Admission

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Google Productsโ€‹โ€‹

If your business listing has access to Google's 'Product Editor & Product Catalogue' then why not go ahead and add products - they take up a shit tonne of space on your Google Business Profile and when carefully curated they can provide a good source of traffic to targeted pages.

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Don’t forget to plan these out before you add them, curate them carefully, and choose ‘evergreen’ products where possible that won’t go out of stock, or change prices often. REMEMBER: These all require manual curation!

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If you’re yet to set up GBP products, and they’re available for your business, get them set up as soon as you’ve read this guide to GBP products and services.

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You'll find the fields for these links on the tabs named:  ๐Ÿ›’GENERATOR: Products

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Google Posts

You're using Google Posts - right?  Posts get moved here, there and everywhere in the business profile on maps and search, you never quite know where they will pop up and how Google will use them.

 

I've found special offers posts and event posts to be the most powerful for the client's I work with - but you do you and do whatever makes sense for your target audiences and the actions that you're looking to drive.

 

I wrote this Guide to Google Posts on BrightLocal - check it out for ideas.

 

You'll notice on my UTM tagging sheet that I've been quite granular with the way that I tag up Google Posts.  I do this so I can which *which* types of post deliver the most traffic and conversions on the website.

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You'll find the fields for these links on the tabs named:  ๐Ÿ—ž๏ธ GENERATOR: Google Posts

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Where can I dive into my UTM data?

GA4

Aside from in your GA4 data  (via Looker Studio, we're not masochists here) one of the best places to analyse your UTM tagged URLs is in Google Search Console.  This Guide to Google Search Console for Local Search is a great guide to what you can do in GSC.

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UTM tagged URLs and Google Search Console

โ€‹You’ll be able to see data for all of your UTM tagged URLs in GSC – with the exception of URLs from products editor, because of the way this content is served on the SERP.

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To see only your GBP UTM tagged URLs you'll need to add a filter.  Here I've used a page filter to show clicks and impressions for  URLs containing utm_source=gbp.  This filter will also work for you if you use my UTM tagging template (keep reading โฌ‡๏ธ for the link.)

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According to the time frame chosen you'll be able to see the range of GBP UTM tagged URLs that have earned clicks and impressions.  The features in GBP that are included below are the website links, admissions links, and a Google offer post.

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Select 'queries' in GSC and you'll see the range of queries that have surfaced these GBP results.  Again - you can filter by a particular type of GBP feature, or a particular type of query.

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For example, below, I'm filtering to see ALL non branded queries that earned a click from a UTM tagged GBP URL

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How I'm UTM tagging my GBP links

If you've used the older version of my UTM tagging Google sheet you'll notice that I've changed the way I'm tagging URLs.  There are a couple of reasons for this.

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  1. The first is the name change of the Google product that we're actually using here - Google My Business became Google Business Profile.  This product has had a range of names through its life, and it'll no doubt get a few more.  However, I took the opportunity to update the tagging accordingly.

  2. The second is that previously I'd chosen to use 'google' as the source and use the campaign and ad content parameters to separate out GBP traffic from 'regular google organic' traffic.  By updating the source in the new tagging framework to 'gbp' it makes it much easier to separate these sources of traffic in GA4.

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If you didn't use my previous framework then don't worry about any of this shizzle.โ€‹โ€‹

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If you've created UTM tagged URLs before you maght have used Google's Campaign URL Builder, which has these fields:

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I find it useful to think of UTM tagging as a way to describe the journey of the person that saw your UTM tagged link, clicked on it, and arrived on your website.

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In my ๐Ÿ’ฅ NEW for 2024 ๐Ÿ’ฅ Guide to UTM tagging for Google Business Profile I use the following fields:

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  • Website URL  - the final destination of the journey

This is the page that you're sending the traffic to.  Make sure it's the canonical URL, that there aren't any redirects, and that it gives a 200 status code.  With ALL links that you add in GMB you'll need to be aware that this isn't a one and done process.  Links change, content gets removed from a website, URLs get redirected, URLs give 404s and all sorts of other un-fun and non-funky stuff.

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  • Campaign Source - where the journey started

 On my sheet I use 'gbp' to show that these visitors came from a click on a link from a feature in Google Business Profile.

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  • Campaign Medium - the method of travel (let's pretend GBP is a train ๐Ÿš‚)

On my sheet I use 'organic' to show that this is organic traffic that can be buckets with other organic traffic in the default channel grouping 'Organic Search' .

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  • Campaign Name - the carriage number on the train

On my sheet I use the campaign name field to describe which feature of GBP earned the click.

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  • Campaign Content - the seat number on the train

On my sheet  I use the campaign content field to differentiate between multiple links that use the same features (for example the primary website link for multi-location businesses, Google posts, Google products, Activities etc)

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I don't use the campaign ID or campaign term fields.

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Can I use something else?

Sure you can - whatever you use you need to make sure that it plays nicely with any existing tagging and measurement framework.  Have a chat with whoever manages data and reporting in your organisation - show them the sheet and double check that my suggestions won't cause any issues with the current set up.

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The key for UTM tagging is to be consistent, to keep them lower case, separated by dashes, and avoid the use of special characters.   Be REALLY careful with Campaign Medium - if you get your source and your medium in a muddle your traffic will end up in the (none) bucket ๐Ÿ˜ขโ€‹

 

A gift from me – to you – with love ๐ŸŽโ€‹

You made it to the bottom of the guide - well done you!  Here's your gift:

๐Ÿ’ฅ NEW for 2024 ๐Ÿ’ฅ Claire Carlile Marketing's Guide to UTM tagging for Google Business Profile

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Make a copy for each of your clients and use this for generating all of your UTM tagged GBP URLs.  

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You may or may not be using a GBP Post scheduling tool - if you're not use the Google Posts tab to generate those links and to also have a handy record of your historical Google posts content.

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Further reading

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I’m not a natural ‘data person’, I came to the joy of data late in life after sadly getting turned off maths at school. If you’re a (relative) newbie like myself, in terms of dealing with data and understanding attribution, then I’d like to recommend some great resources that have helped me.

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The work of Jill Quick and Dana DiTomaso I’ve found to be very readable and comprehensive, and a great start for getting your head round all of this stuff!.

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Enjoy – tap me up with any questions – and thanks for reading this far down the page! 

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