Maximizing ROAS with Strategic UTM Tracking and Cost Import in GA4 via GA Porter

UTM tags allow you to merge user session data with marketing campaign data (Ad spend etc). to evaluate channel efficiency (ROAS etc.). Google Analytics 4 has a Non-Google cost report that lets you compare sessions, spend and revenue data, and ROAS across different advertising channels or campaigns. However, this report automatically collects statistics about Google Ads only. Marketers have to manually upload data from other sources or try to analyse the effectiveness of advertising campaigns manually.

This problem can be solved with the help of our GA Porter application. With its implementation you can see data from various channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Sklik and much more all clearly in one report. Let's have a look at what are UTM, how to use them wisely and how to benefit from it.

What are UTM parameters?

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters are a set of URL (a URL is a webpage's internet address that users can enter into their web browser) parameters used by marketers to track the effectiveness of their online marketing campaigns across different sources of traffic and publishing media. These parameters are added to the end of a URL and help identify which campaign is sending traffic to a specific website. UTM parameters can also be used to attribute website sessions to the campaign and track subsequent sessions until the attribution window expires. By using UTM parameters, marketers can gain valuable insights into which campaigns and sources are driving the most traffic and conversions, allowing them to optimize their marketing strategies accordingly.

While UTM parameters remain constant, their associated values can be defined and modified as needed. These are 8 existing UTM parameters supported by GA4:

  1. Source (utm_source): identifies which site sent the traffic.

  2. Medium (utm_medium): identifies what type of link was used, such as cost per click or email.

  3. Campaign (utm_campaign): identifies the name of the specific product promotion or strategic campaign, for example, a spring sale.

  4. Term (utm_term): identifies search terms used for paid search.

  5. Content (utm_content): identifies what specifically was clicked to bring the user to the site, like a banner ad or a text link. This is often used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads.

  6. Campaign ID (utm_id): identifies the ID of the specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

  7. *Creative format (utm_creative_format): This refers to the type of advertising material used in a campaign. Examples include display ads, native ads, video ads, and search ads.

  8. *Marketing tactic (utm_marketing_tactic): This refers to the specific targeting criteria applied to a campaign. Examples include remarketing (targeting people who have interacted with your brand before) and prospecting (targeting new potential customers).

*Last two UTMs are not currently reported in Google Analytics 4 properties.

What is the role of UTM parameters in marketing?

UTM parameters are a versatile tool that enables businesses to track the performance of their marketing campaigns across various tools and platforms. By accurately tracking traffic sources and categorizing data, businesses can optimize their return on advertising spend (ROAS) and make informed decisions about their advertising efforts. 

In other words, UTM parameters help businesses track and analyze the behaviour of their web visitors. By tracking visitor behaviour, businesses can identify patterns and trends that can inform future marketing campaigns. This information enables businesses to optimize their advertising efforts for maximum impact, ultimately improving their ROAS.

However, it's important to use UTM parameters thoughtfully and ensure their consistency across all marketing tools and platforms. Inaccurate or inconsistent UTM parameters can lead to incorrect traffic categorization, disrupt automated processes and integrations, and skew performance analysis. By taking the time to prepare and implement UTM parameters correctly, you can obtain accurate data analysis and make informed decisions about your marketing campaigns.

How do UTM parameters work in GA4?

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) represents a significant shift from Universal Analytics (UA), especially in how UTM parameters are handled. This evolution in analytics has paved the way for innovative solutions like the GA Porter. The GA Porter is a groundbreaking product designed to bridge the gap between non-Google platforms and GA4, seamlessly connecting cost data.

Automatic Recognition: GA4 automatically recognizes UTM parameters attached to URLs and uses them to populate the corresponding fields in the GA4 interface. This means that when a user clicks on a referral link, the URL parameters are forwarded to Analytics, and the parameter values become visible in the Traffic acquisition report.

You can track the traffic referred by different campaigns by adding UTM campaign parameters to the URLs of destination pages used in referral links and ad campaigns. To keep track of campaign-related information, it is important to pair each parameter with a value that you assign. A parameter-value pair contains this information. For your Flash sale campaign, you could use parameter-value pairs such as:

utm_source = facebook;   to identify source of campaign
utm_medium = cpc;    to identify medium of campaign
utm_campaign = flash-sale; to identify a campaign name
utm_id = 11253826000255002; to identify a campaign id

By implementing these parameters, your custom campaign URL will look like this:

Remember, if you are setting up your UTM parameters into a URL manually, insert a question mark (?) after the URL and before the UTM parameter, and separate the parameter and its value with an ampersand symbol (&). Be careful also about differentiating small and large letters and diacritical marks as some tools cannot read them, it will change the URL and thus Google Analytics 4 wont be able to connect data to the right campaign.

While the foundational concept of UTM parameters remains consistent in GA4, the way they integrate with the platform and the flexibility and depth of analysis they offer have been enhanced. If you're transitioning from UA to GA4 or leveraging tools like GA Porter, it's essential to familiarise yourself with these nuances to make the most of your campaign tracking and analysis.

Processing UTM parameters in Google Analytics 4

Now we know how UTM works in GA4 but let’s have a look into processing the data on the previous example. 

Source and Medium: Under the "Traffic Acquisition" report in GA4, you'll find the "Source" (utm_source = facebook) and "Medium" (utm_medium = cpc) dimensions. These dimensions automatically capture the values from the utm_source and utm_medium parameters, respectively.

Campaign and Campaign ID: The "Campaign" (utm_campaign = flash-sale) dimension in the same report captures the value from the utm_campaign parameter. This allows you to easily segment and analyze the performance of individual campaigns.

Advanced Filtering and Segmentation

GA4 offers advanced filtering options. You can create specific segments based on UTM parameters to analyze the behavior of users coming from particular campaigns, sources, or mediums. For instance, you can segment users who arrived through a specific email campaign and analyze their on-site behavior, conversion rates, and more.

As an addition, with implementation of GA Porter you can see cost data from various channels like Facebook, Sklik, Heureka and much more all clearly in one report which you can find by navigating in GA4 to Reports — Acquisition — Non-Google cost. But remember, you will see them only after you set up Data import!

Creating UTM parameters

Now, when we understand how analytic tools like GA4 process UTM parameters, let's break down how you should approach to UTM parameters creation.

Determine what you want to monitor and analyze: Before you start using UTMs, you need to decide what you want to track. For example, you might want to track traffic from a specific ad campaign or from a particular social media platform.

Choose your UTM parameters: Once you know what you want to track, you can choose the UTM parameters that will help you do so. The most common UTM parameters are utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign, utm_id, but you can also use others like utm_content and utm_term.

Decide on naming conventions: It's important to use consistent naming conventions for your UTM parameters so that you can easily track and analyze your data. For example, if you're tracking traffic from a specific ad campaign, you might name your UTM parameters like this: utm_source=facebook, utm_medium=cpc, and utm_campaign=spring-sale.

Use a UTM builder: To make sure that your UTM parameters are formatted correctly, it's a good idea to use a UTM builder tool. There are many free tools available online that can help you build your UTM parameters and generate tracking links. Try for example the URL builder from Google or check some templates for creating UTMs in Google sheets. You can also learn how to use dynamic parameters in the next chapter.

Test and analyze your data: Once your UTM parameters are set up, it's important to test them to make sure they're working properly. You should also regularly analyze your data to see which marketing channels and campaigns are most effective in driving conversions.

UTM - Static and Dynamic URLs

When it comes to tracking your website traffic via UTM, you should know that some marketing platforms could populate UTM parameter values dynamically. What does it mean?

Dynamic UTM parameters adapt automatically, adjusting themselves based on the delivery method of the advertisement. For example, if you're running Facebook ads with multiple campaigns, you could use {} to track which specific campaign was most effective in driving traffic to your landing page. The value of {} would change depending on which campaign the user clicked on.

Static UTM parameters, on the other hand, remain constant. For example, if you wanted to track all traffic coming from Facebook, you could use utm_source=facebook. The value of facebook would remain constant regardless of when the link was clicked or which specific ad campaign was being run.

An example of a complete UTM chain for Facebook Ads ad is this: „utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign={{}}&utm_content={{}}&utm_id={{}}&utm_term={{}}“.

Consistency and diacritical marks in UTM parameters 

Diacritics can play a significant role in UTM parameters for cost import and may influence the accurate interpretation and tracking of data. Some web technologies or tools might encounter difficulties interpreting diacritics in UTM parameters, potentially leading to integration errors or data processing issues. Therefore, when implementing GA Porter, the cooperation of both parties is needed, much more than we were used to.

For instance, when setting up an ad campaign on the Sklik platform named "bleskové-slevy", and selecting the "Remove diacritics" option in the Autotagging section, the utm_campaign will be assigned the value "bleskove-slevy", devoid of diacritics.

When a visitor accesses your website through a URL containing this UTM parameter, GA4 recognizes the traffic as originating from the ad campaign labeled "bleskove-slevy", which lacks diacritics. 

On the other hand, GA Porter retrieves cost data directly from the Sklik platform via API. Here, only the original campaign name, "bleskové-slevy" with diacritics, is available and this data is saved to a CSV file for subsequent upload to GA4.

Unfortunately, due to the different campaign names ("bleskove-slevy" vs. "bleskové-slevy"), GA4 fails to link cost data to visitor data, resulting in the absence of cost data in GA4.

UTM_ID and its importance for cost import in Google Analytics 4

UTM_ ID is a unique identifier for a campaign (Campaign ID) that is required for GA4 data import.

For example: utm_id=6374888202200.

Understanding Data Import in GA4:

In Google Analytics 4, Data Import allows users to integrate external data sources with their GA4 property. This feature is particularly useful for bringing in data that isn't automatically tracked by GA4, such as cost data from non-Google advertising platforms.

The Role of UTM_ID:

The utm_id parameter plays a pivotal role in this process. It serves as a unique identifier for each campaign, ensuring that the data from external sources matches the correct campaign in GA4. When setting up campaigns in advertising systems, it's crucial to include the utm_id parameter in the destination URLs. This ensures that when a user clicks on an ad, the specific campaign ID is captured and reported in GA4, allowing for precise traffic measurement.

GA Porter and Cost Data Import:

GA Porter, being a tool designed to connect cost data from non-Google platforms to GA4, relies heavily on the accuracy of UTM parameters, especially utm_id. 

Any discrepancy can lead to mismatches or missing data, making it imperative to maintain consistency.


UTM parameters stand as a cornerstone in the realm of online marketing campaign measurement and analysis. Through them, marketers can trace the origins of their website visitors, enabling the fine-tuning of advertising strategies. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers enhanced tracking and analysis capabilities for UTM parameters, granting a deeper insight into Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). The GA Porter application emerges as a game-changer, seamlessly integrating cost data from non-Google platforms with GA4, providing a comprehensive view of campaign performance across diverse advertising platforms. The UTM_ID, serving as a unique campaign identifier, is pivotal for accurate cost data import. Ensuring UTM parameters are consistent and accurate is crucial for the right understanding and tracking of data. In today's digital age, a good grasp and effective use of UTM parameters are vital for any marketer aiming for the best performance in their online campaigns.

Here are some take away points:

  • UTM parameters are crucial for merging user session data with marketing campaign data, allowing for the evaluation of channel efficiency and ROAS. Google Analytics 4 has a specific report for Non-Google cost data but requires manual data upload from non-Google sources.

  • GA Porter is a tool that facilitates the integration of data from various channels like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Sklik, etc., into GA4, allowing for a unified report of sessions, spend, revenue data, and ROAS.

  • UTM parameters in GA4 are automatically recognized and populate the Traffic acquisition report. The use of UTM parameters must be consistent and accurate for proper data interpretation and tracking.

  • The UTM_ID parameter is essential for the data import process in GA4, serving as a unique identifier for campaigns and ensuring precise traffic measurement and cost data matching.

  • A thorough understanding and effective use of UTM parameters are vital for marketers to optimise online campaign performance in the digital landscape.

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Made in Prague, Czech Republic


All rights reserved | GA Porter ©2024

Made in Prague, Czech Republic


All rights reserved | GA Porter ©2024

Made in Prague, Czech Republic