Probably no marketer running advertising campaigns needs convincing about the importance of using UTM. However, it is worthwhile to learn about the inverted form of in-page link marking under the enigmatic acronym itm. I invite you to read on!

What will you learn from this post?

If you’re just starting your Google Analytics adventure, take a look at the Google Analytics glossary.

What are ITMs?

ITM is abbreviated in several ways: internal tracking module, internal tracking marketing or internal tracking metrics. Regardless of the definition, it is a way to measure clicks or purchases from banners or items inside our site. Let’s say we want to check how many people buy directly after clicking on a slide on the homepage. We can’t add utm to internal links because they start a new session and won’t be linked to previous user sessions.

So how do you deal with measuring the effectiveness of internal shares, banners or items that can lead a customer to purchase? Below is my way of tagging internal links using Google Tag Manager. If you have never used this tool, you may find it difficult. However, save this post for later and come back to it when you need it.

UTM vs ITM – which one to choose?

UTM is used to mark links that will direct to our site and come from another source. For example: from social media, newsletter, chat, forum. The easiest tool is UTM builder, which requires minimal input to prepare our link for further sharing.

We can easily evaluate the effectiveness of links marked with utm using Google Analytics. We can find them in the campaigns tab. In the screenshot, sample campaigns from all sources on my site.

How to implement ITM on the site?

The target address containing itm could look like, for example.

kingasroka.com?itm_source=homepage&utm_medium=banner&utm_campaign=pinned

It is important to maintain a uniform design and stick to the assumed itm in the same cases. I only limit myself to source, medium and campaign. Now let’s move on to the advanced stage of creating itm.

Google Analytics

In custom dimensions in UA (service -> custom definitions -> custom dimension) add three new dimensions in sequence: itm_source, itm_medium and itm_campaign. Example in the screenshot.

Note: I use non-standard dimension per session. Means that it has similar performance to utm but also shows sales data such as conversions, conversion rate, transactions or revenue. It is more precise to measure each action (hit) but then it will not show any sales data.

After adding all three dimensions, pay attention to the index number. It will be useful in the next step.

Google Tag Manager

Google Analytics will display the information contained in the ITM based on the custom dimensions. However, in order to correctly decipher the links, you need to define the basic parameters using Tag Manager.

Configuration of custom dimensions in GTM

  1. Create a variable “itm source – parameter” and repeat for medium and campaign respectively.
  2. Choose a new variable from the template named “constant“. Then enter there the index number that was assigned to this dimension in GA. Repeat for source, medium and campaign respectively.
  3. Configure the tag type “page display“, go to the “custom dimensions” section and then enter: index {{itm_source index}} and value {{itm_source URL-Parameter}}. Repeat for medium and campaign.
  4. Publish the changes.
  5. Create a custom report in Google Analytics and add all dimensions as metrics.
  6. Exclude in GA the query parameters: itm_sorce, itm_medium, itm_campaign (View -> View Settings -> Query Exclusions).
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Google Search Console

Itm parameters should be excluded from the url so that they are not indexed by Google. To everyone’s surprise, Google has decided to withdraw parameters from the url. However, it is worthwhile to preview the links pointing to our site in Google Search Console. By doing so, we can catch whether addresses with ITM internal tags fall in there. This shouldn’t happen, but if it does, it’s worth using allow or disallow for a particular parameter.

Summary

I hope I have concretely and substantively presented this fascinating phenomenon called ITM internal link tracking. The most important lesson from this post is: don’t use utm within your own site! If it really matters, tag a banner, graphic or any element with ITM. They look exactly the same as UTM, however, they require a little bit more fiddling. The result, however, will be a perfectly tailored report, with the effectiveness of the tagged elements.


And how do you handle such tasks? Leave a comment or share my post on Linkedin if you think this is knowledge worth sharing with the world!


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