Claire's Guide to UTM Tagging for Google Business Profiles (GBP)
In this resource, I will share with you my process for tagging ALL THE THINGS in Google Business Profile/GMB, including Google posts and Google products.
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.
I will also 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!) 👇👇
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 - no one likes learning somewhere new, and a lot of folks are saying that GA4 is not fit for purpose. BUT it's what we've got - so if you haven't got yourself up to speed I recommend heading over to the Kick Point Playbook and learning all the GA4 things.
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, and I use 4 of them in my guide below: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign and utm_content.
GA4 has some *new* UTM parameters, which are:
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.
I don't use any of these in the way I tag up GBP URLs.
Reporting using GA4
For me - the main implications with the change from UA to GA4 are how you can see your data in analytics. The whole point in tagging up your GBP URLs is so that you can see the value that these users bring to your business once they are on your website.
I'd recommend using Looker Studio to pull in your GBP campaign data 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!
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.
TL;DR – tag everything
Who is this for?
This guide will suit small businesses with just one location, as well as proving useful for multi location businesses.
Single locations 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!)
Why tag your URLs, and what should I tag?
How you ever checked where GA buckets traffic from people that click on links in your business profile in the Google SERP, or via Google Maps, or via the Google Maps app on a phone? No? Yes? What did you see? Likely a mix of organic and direct traffic. You need to tag this traffic to unify these sources – if you don’t, how are you going to demonstrate the awesome return you’re providing for your client?
Tag primary links
By ‘primary links’ I mean the links you add from the Google Business Profile that everyone adds. The primary website link, and the appointment link and the menu link if these are available for your business. 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 😱) and of course, make sure they’re tagged up with UTM tags!
Tag Google posts
If you’re thinking ‘what’s a Google Post’ read this intro to posts guide from BrightLocal.
When you’re spending time and effort coming up with a content strategy for Google posts, and then you’re investing in some kick ass copy and images – well, it goes without saying that monitoring the success of posts in terms of clicks through to the site, and what actions those users take on your site after clicking is pretty important!
Do they visit more than one page?
Do they sign up for a newsletter?
Do they actually BUY SOMETHING?
Measuring the success of your posts and identifying WHAT WORKS as you experiment with different types of posts and content is REALLY important.
📏Did people click like billy-o on your special offers post about Friday night pizza leading to big bucks revenue ?
📏Did your event post about your new exhibition drive 100 sign ups for your invite list?
📏Did your post about your new dog pedicure product attract nothing but tumbleweed?
Tag Google Products
So, Products (beta) is no longer in beta (whatevs, GMB is permanently in beta, huh?) and as far as I’m aware has made an appearance in a lot of organisation’s GBP dashboards, but they might not have noticed it yet! Read what Google has to say about ‘Product Editor & Product Catalogue’ here.
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!
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.
Google ‘FREE LISTINGS’
In April 2020 Google announced that they’d be opening up free product listings into its shopping results.
What does this mean? Well – this is a total boon – particularly for the small and medium sized business with which I work that don’t pay to advertise in Google shopping, but HAVE taken the time to add Google Products in GBP in order to enrich their real estate in their business profile, to drive traffic to their websites, and hopefully to feed Google with even more knowledge about their service and product offerings.
To get started, you’ll need to open a Google Merchant Center account and upload a product feed. Sellers must opt-in to ‘free listings’ (surfaces across Google) to be eligible for organic visibility.
Just like when you add Google Products in GBP your ‘free listings’ products will also need to be UTM tagged so that you can monitor traffic, sales and other ROI in Google Analytics.
I’ve added a new tab on my Google sheet (linked to down below – keep reading!) so that you can produce tagged URLs for your ‘free listings’ campaign.
UTM tag your phone number
Hat tip to one of my favourite people ever Dani Owens for this (if you haven’t checked out her Bring Home the Bacon training, you should do!)
When using CallRail to track calls in GBP listings you can choose your own source, medium and campaign. So if anyone uses call tracking in their business profile you can tag this as well:
source = google
medium = organic
campaign = gbp-phone
UTM tagged URLs and Google Search Console
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.
How I'm UTM tagging my posts
I like to be granular in my approach to measuring the value of Google My Business posts here’s how I’m putting together the UTM parameters for those.
GA is case sensitive so you have to follow the rules EXACTLY otherwise it will be put into the wrong channel and not attributed correctly. If you tag your source as the medium and medium as source (so you got your labels in a twist) GA will put it in the Channel Grouping called (other) along with all the other lost data pots it couldn’t find a home for.
I use google as the campaign source, organic as the medium, and then use the type of Google Business Profile post to populate the campaign name.
You can use anything for these – the key is to be consistent, to keep them lower case, separated by dashes, and avoid the use of special characters.
I use the following campaign names:
Getting granular with google posts
What’s new post: gbp-whats-new-post
Event post: gbp-event-post
Offer post: gbp-offer-post
I separate Google posts out by individual post types, given that different types of posts function differently in the business profile. Google has a habit of testing placement of different types of placement for post types, I figured I want to know data by post type so I can track the impact of Google moving my shizzle left, right and centre.
Use the ‘campaign content’ field to describe the content of that post – again, keep it unique and descriptive.
I use gbp in all of the campaign names do so I can quickly filter by ‘gmb’ when I am looking at campaign traffic in Google Analytics.
I can clearly see what type of GBP links are driving revenue, newsletter signups, and many other micro conversions that are important to the businesses in question.
By having a common naming convention, I can see the details of all of the links in GBP that are driving traffic to my client’s websites – and what that traffic does once it’s on the website.
Assisted Conversions (UA) and Conversion Paths (GA4)
So your posts are working hard, you’re working hard on your posts, you’ve populated your Google products, and they’re looking mighty fine in the SERP. But are they also lending a hand to other channels in terms of conversions?
In UA you can look at your efforts in the MCF Multi-Channel funnel reports to see how your GBP posts are assisting in conversions. Go to MCF> Assisted Conversions and change the primary dimension in (other) and replace with Campaign. Add gmb in the filter to see how all of your GBP efforts are contributing to the success of other channels.
NB the eagle 🦅eyed amongst you might have noticed that the campaign names in the above screenshot don’t exactly match those that I suggest using – the premise is the same!
In GA4 you'll find this data in the conversions paths report.
Keeping it all nice and tidy
If you’re tagging up all of your Google Business Profile posts, you’re adding all of your events and special offers, and you’re maybe adding a ‘what’s new’ post once a week – that’s a lot of posts!
In order to keep a handle on all of this tagging – and to allow you to start to make sense of the successes (and failures) of your posts and products – you need to come up with a naming convention, and then you need to stick with that naming convention. You hear that?
STICK WITH YOUR NAMING CONVENTION or you’ll end up having to tidy up the bad data retrospectively. You don’t want this.
A gift from me – to you – with love 🎁
I have a separate spreadsheet for each client, this auto-populates their UTM parameters based on what I add in the fields – then I don’t have to make each parameter in the Google URL builder, and it’s a handy record of all of my posts content.
You can see it here – http://bit.ly/GMB-UTM-GUIDE – make your own copy and enter tagging paradise!
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.
The work of Annie Cushing and Jill Quick I’ve found to be very readable and comprehensive, and a great start for getting your head round all of this stuff!
Enjoy – tap me up with any questions – and thanks for reading this far down the page!