UTM parameters alternative

Robert2k
Shopify Partner
9 0 0

Hi there, I'm reaching out with a question. I'm tracking orders from different sales channels based on UTMs inside Shopify reports. To give you an idea of the current setup, it's based on product SKUs and UTMs. So, if the UTM parameter and SKU match, then the sale will be counted in the report. This helps us to have a pretty good idea of what sales each sales channel or campaign brings, as we are using UTMs for almost everything. Now, I've found out that if customers choose not to share personal information, then UTMs won't work (that was the answer I got from Shopify Support).

Because of this, I observed that some sales are missing from our internal reports. Do you know of any alternatives to UTMs for a more accurate tracking of sales from different sources? Thank you for your help.

Replies 6 (6)

MyWebConcepts
Shopify Partner
1 0 0

Hi Robert,

 

You can probably just create your own UTM parameter string using this: https://ga-dev-tools.web.app/ga4/campaign-url-builder/

 

Then you can set one of the parameters to match the product SKU.

 

Afterwards simply use the resultant URL from the UtM parameter builder as the link to the product in your ad. Shopify should show the parameters in the order. 

My Web Concepts
Robert2k
Shopify Partner
9 0 0

Hi, that's exactly what we are using. But for some reason certain orders are missing from our reports. Even if they should have the UTM.

ahurlburt
Shopify Partner
18 0 3

@Robert2k wrote:

Now, I've found out that if customers choose not to share personal information, then UTMs won't work (that was the answer I got from Shopify Support).


That doesn't make any sense. UTMs are just URL parameters, it has nothing to do with if a customer chooses to share info or not. That being said there are a bunch of reasons UTM tracking will only provide partial attribution for sales.

Example you can't control how the customer gets to your website or how the customer gets back to your website if they don't buy from direct link (ie multi-touch attribution). Attribution is a very difficult problem for this reason. If they visit via google search result then there are no UTMs for example, but if for example you are running a FB ad then the UTMs should be added assuming you set them up correctly. But what if UTMs are provided for first touch (ie ad), customer doesn't buy but then later searches on google on a different device, you likely can't link this back to original session with your UTM source especially now that 3rd party cookies are often blocked.

UTMs are nice in that they are universal and since they are part of the URL work across platforms. Any other tracking would be cookie (1st/3rd party) or possibly local storage provided you are using browser.

 

There are platforms claiming to provide better solutions, they are quite expensive geared mainly towards ad agencies and if they do actually work better likely rely on malware (likely masked as chrome extensions) to track users across sessions, I don't see any technical way they could get better results than the ad platforms without hijacking the browser/device somehow. 

 

Why do you think your UTMs are being blocked? It will be very difficult to track individual sales back to a particular source since some/most platforms will not provide which sale they are attributing a conversion to, they are essentially a black box. I would always advise using UTMs which it sounds like you are doing but they are not a panacea. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish (ie determining ROAS across channels) then maybe I/others could give a better suggestion for that particular use case.

Adam Hurlburt | Cofounder & CTO of Sellify: a CRM & B2B Solution For Shopify Stores

If you found this suggestion helpful, please let me know by giving it a like or marking it as a solution.
Robert2k
Shopify Partner
9 0 0

Thanks for your answer, In my specific case, we used UTMs to double-check the results of our A/B testing software, which also includes only people from specific UTMs in the test. This method was usually pretty accurate. However, in one of our latest tests, we noticed that a number of customers who should have been present in our reports based on UTMs, were missing. These customers were present in the A/B testing software based on the same UTMs.

Upon checking with Hyros, it was confirmed that these customers came from links with those UTM parameters. However, for some reason they did not appear in Shopify (When Shopify support checked these orders, the UTMs were not visible at all). When I asked Shopify support, they mentioned that this was because 'those customers chose not to share personal data.' But as I continue my research, Shopify Support explanation seems increasingly unlikely.

ahurlburt
Shopify Partner
18 0 3

When you say they did not appear in Shopify are you referring to the conversion details page on the order which shows the source/etc? 

 

Not sure if it helps but google analytics does show the shopify order number (i believe it's called transaction number / id) and would also support segmentation based on UTMs. So if a customer visited from UTM and checkout out in same session there should be a good chance of it showing the chain with associated UTMs. One issue with GA is that I find the default shopify integration misses a lot of orders but if that was a viable alternative you could look into improving the default setup.

Adam Hurlburt | Cofounder & CTO of Sellify: a CRM & B2B Solution For Shopify Stores

If you found this suggestion helpful, please let me know by giving it a like or marking it as a solution.

harsh_1729
Shopify Partner
9 1 4

Hey Robert2k,

 

There are a few alternatives to UTM codes for tracking and evaluating advertising campaign performance in Google Analytics:

 

Google Tag Manager: Google Tag Manager is a tag management system that allows you to manage all of your website tags in one place. You can use Google Tag Manager to create and deploy UTM codes, as well as other types of tags, such as Google Analytics tracking codes and remarketing tags.

 

Google Analytics custom dimensions and metrics: Google Analytics allows you to create custom dimensions and metrics to track specific data about your website visitors and their behavior. You can use custom dimensions and metrics to track advertising campaign performance by creating custom dimensions for campaign source, medium, and campaign name. You can then use these custom dimensions to create segments and reports in Google Analytics.

 

Which alternative to UTM codes you choose will depend on your specific needs and requirements. If you are looking for a simple and easy-to-use solution, then using a third-party URL shortener is a good option. If you need more control over your tracking or if you need to track traffic from sources that block JavaScript or cookies, then you may want to consider using Google Tag Manager or server-side tracking.

 

Best Regards,
Harsh
Team Adnabu

Harsh Gussain | Customer Success Executive@ AdNabu


 - Was my reply helpful? Click Like to let me know! 


 - Was your question answered? Mark it as an Accepted Solution


 - Try our Nabu for Google Shopping Feed App from Shopify App Store.