What are UTM Codes?

UTM codes (or parameters) are defined as “five variants of URL parameters used by marketers to track the effectiveness of online marketing campaigns across traffic sources and publishing media.”

… What?

UTM codes are a tag that is put at the end of a URL that allows marketers to see where their visitors are coming from.

For example, if you share a blog on Facebook and someone clicks through to your website from that post, you will be able to know that your social post is how they arrived at your blog and website. You will able to quickly be able to determine what is driving people to your website and where your audience is finding you.

A UTM code has several parameters so you can get pretty granular about your marketing efforts:

There are 5 UTM parameters:

  1. utm_source: where the visitor found the link
  2. utm_medium: what type of source (promoted content, social media, email, etc.)
  3. utm_campaign: what promotion or campaign this URL is part of
  4. utm_term: identify keywords for paid ad campaigns
  5. utm_content: what specifically led the viewer to the landing page (banner image, text link, etc.)

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When to Use UTM Codes

Because UTM codes can be added to any URL, they can be used on any platform you use.

When used on social media, you will get more insightful data into your audience and engagement than with the analytics available on the platform.

You will also fully utilize Google Analytics by gaining important information with every link you share. With UTM codes your data will be more specific and you will be able to determine which efforts are paying off, and which ones are not bringing any traffic to your site.

Source is the only parameter you are required to track, but it is extremely useful to marketers because it tells you exactly where the visitor is from. When you know where a visitor is from, you can compare the success of your ads across platforms.

UTM codes make A/B Testing simple. If you post the same content to all of your social accounts, you can compare the level of engagement on each platform at once in Google Analytics

Medium can be used in a similar way. UTM codes allow you to track the type of content as well, so you can compare the success of content such as emails, social media posts, and ads.

Campaign can be used to track which campaign the content is part of, simplifying not only organizing but also comparing and testing campaigns and content. For example, you might create separate campaigns for the same content to measure engagement with different media.

Term is especially important when tracking paid advertising content. You can better analyze AdWord campaigns by tracking keywords; tracking the keywords in paid searches tells you which keywords are best.

Content is best used to differentiate ads. If you have multiple URLs with the same source, campaign, and medium codes, then you can use content to determine what part of an ad the viewer clicked on; for example, the viewer may click on the headline title, CTA button, or an image when clicking an advertisement.

How to Use UTM Codes

To track UTM codes with Google Analytics, follow these 3 quick steps.

  1. Create

Using the Google URL Builder, add your desired parameter tags to your URL.

Paste the URL you want to track in Website URL, then enter your source. A source is always required, whether it’s from an email newsletter, an ad, or a social media post.

Then enter any other parameters you wish to track.

Google will then create your new URL. We recommend using the Convert URL to Short Link feature if you are posting a raw link; UTM codes can make URLs quite long (and honestly, a bit ugly). Shorter URLs are more suited for social media posts or any source where the entire URL is visible.

  1. Post

Copy your newly generated URL and paste where you want to share your content.

 These links can be used as hyperlinks on a website or shared directly to social accounts.

  1. Track

Using Google Analytics, you can track and compare all your UTM-tagged URLs.

Under Audience, find Sources, then go to Campaigns. Here you can view every URL and their sources and media.

Google Analytics is a key part of many marketers’ strategies, and UTM codes make it an even more powerful tool. Tracking parameters consistently will give you a better understanding of your audience and greater insight into the success of your marketing strategy.

 Thanks for reading,

Christine

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