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I use UTM parameters to know specifics about where people are coming from. From what I can tell, this is really on good for landing pages. If the user does this:

landing page >> product page >> checkout >> paypal.com >> product thank you

I won't know which source they came from since the UTM values are lost once they hit the product page (its URL doesn't have UTM parameters).

Is my reasoning on this right? UTM is really just for one page and cannot trace the path of a user through your site?

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That's right. You are going to want to store that value in session or in a cookie.

  • You are correct that the utm parameters don't carry to every page a visitor visits after the landing page. You have a couple options to figure out the source for people that visit the product page. 1) Store the variable in session (server side) and you could add it to the transactions table when someone makes a purchase. 2) you could store the source URL in a cookie (client side). 3)You can look up pathways from the landing page in GA. Behavior > Landing Pages > Entrance Paths > etc – BradHanks Jan 9 '15 at 20:19
  • I was only wanting any solutions in GA. Do you have some additional info on your #3 suggestion? Going from UTM to pathways in GA. – 4thSpace Jan 9 '15 at 20:34
  • Above the default chart of sessions you will see that the first tab "Explorer" is selected. Click "Entrance Paths" next to it. It will allow you to explore the paths that your visitors take. You can also look at "Users Flow" under "audience" in the GA sidebar. Lastly I would recommend implementing universal analytics so that you can drill down on individuals and not just look at aggregate stats. – BradHanks Jan 9 '15 at 20:38
  • thanks. Yes - I have universal analytics enabled. – 4thSpace Jan 9 '15 at 20:48
  • Another thing you might want to look into is creating a funnel segment using the "sequences option. You can check out my answer here. – BradHanks Jan 9 '15 at 21:05

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