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Referrer and UTM Parameters

15. Jul, 2021

Pirsch supports special URL query parameters to improve the quality of your statistics. They can be used to reduce the number of unknown referrers on the dashboard and to track your paid or unpaid marketing campaigns.

Setting the Referrer

The following parameters can be added to a link to set the referrer:

We recommend to use ref, as it is the shortest, or utm_source if used with other UTM parameters. A simple example for a query parameter is https://example.com/?ref=Docs. If visitors click on the link, they will show up below Docs on the referrer panel.

Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) parameters were first introduced by Google Analytics' predecessor Urchin and are a widely accepted tool to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns. With Pirsch, you can use UTM parameters to break down how many people visited your website and compare the results of your campaigns.

A UTM parameter is added to a link just like referrers as described above. To track how many visitors came from a paid newsletter for example, you can add the source, medium, and campaign to the URL: https://example.com/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Paid+Newsletter. How you use these parameters is up to you. To add spaces to a parameter, use %20 or a plus (+) sign: ?utm_source=with+space or ?utm_source=with%20space.

utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign are essential parameters you usually set for a campaign. utm_content and utm_term can be used to further break down the traffic and are often used for A/B testing. The panels for these parameters will only show up on the dashboard if you filter by one of the essential parameters.

UTM Source

utm_source identifies which source sent the traffic. This can be a website or newsletter for example.

UTM Medium

utm_medium identifies the media, like social media or Twitter, to be more precise.

UTM Campaign

utm_campaign identifies the marketing campaign, like summer sale.

UTM Content

utm_content identifies which content sent the traffic. If you have multiple links referring to the same page in a newsletter for example, you can distinguish which link was clicked. Examples for utm_content are top and bottom, or menu and sidebar.

UTM Term

utm_term is only relevant for paid ads and is used to filter for search terms used by visitors.