Tracking RSS subscriptions with UTM parameters

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1 min read

UTM parameters are used since the dawn of time to track marketing campaigns.

Can you use them to reduce dark/direct traffic and label RSS subscriptions?

This is the only way that comes to mind if you have a static site (in case you can’t read access logs and infer traffic).

To add UTM parameters to your RSS feed, I opted for this simple solution.

In your RSS feed, simply append the following query parameters to your URLs:

?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_campaign=rss

E.g. if you’re building your RSS feed using a static site generator, you can create an RSS template and simply append these parameters to each URL.

This is a code snippet from my RSS feed:

...
	{%- for post in collections.post | reverse %}
	{% set absolutePostUrl %}{{ post.url | url | absoluteUrl(metadata.url) }}?utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_campaign=rss{% endset %}
	<entry>
		<title>{{ post.data.title }}</title>
		<link href="{{ absolutePostUrl }}"/>
		<updated>{{ (post.data.updated or post.date) | rssDate }}</updated>
...

This works like a charm and suits my use case.

Of course you’ll only get these information from people that aren’t blocking analytics…

Do you know any other way to keep track of RSS readers, without the use of a RSS service?