Also known as “UTM parameters”, and standing for Urchin Tracking Module, UTM codes are little snippets of text added to the end of URLs to help track define traffic coming to your site and to aid analysis of content, ads and links posted on different channels and mediums on the web.
UTM code added to URLs is extremely useful as it helps track how successful a campaign or piece of content has been, and attribute conversions more accurately. You can track UTM parameters through Google Analytics in the Acquisition-> Source/Medium, or Acquisition -> All campaigns reports.
An example of UTM codes is highlighted in the URL below in bold:
By adding UTM code to all forms of content shared online (your blog posts/content on social media, in your newsletters, your display campaigns, etc.), you can see in Google Analytics how each specific post, online channel, and online medium performed. These types of information provide useful insights to inform future campaigns or content.
These types of examples include knowing what exact tweet or guest blog on another site drove that increase in site traffic or customer leads. This granular insight can be easily tracked by just ensuring all content shared online is tagged with UTM codes.
Before implementing UTMs into campaigns, it would be beneficial to plan your tagging method (especially where multiple people are tagging campaigns) so you can decide, for instance, whether display campaign mediums are called ‘display’ or ‘banner’, whether email campaigns are called ‘email’, ‘ezine’ or ‘newsletter’ etc.
Note, UTMs are case sensitive so best practice would be to always use lower case in tags.
Adding UTM code is very simple through Google Campaign URL builder, which can be found here:
Add the URL you want to track, whether it is a campaign landing page (i.e. offer page, competition), blog post URL, or any other page on your site you want to specifically track when sharing the URL on different online channels.
Add the actual website (or email) sending the traffic or the URL is being posted on.
For example: utm_source=facebook, utm_source=twitter, utm_source=aprilnewsletter, utm_source=dailymail
Add the marketing medium that the URL is featured on.
For example: utm_medium=social, utm_medium=email, utm_medium=display.
*Note, make sure to not get source and medium mixed up which is easily done.
You have the option to add a content UTM that tracks the different types of content that point to the same URL from the same campaign, source, and medium codes.
Often used in PPC or with two identical links on the same page or to differentiate between different social posts for the campaign.
For example: utm_content=sidebarlink, utm_content=headerlink, utm_content=tweet_with_infographic_image
You should collectively use 1 campaign name for all content for the one campaign. A campaign can be the name of a large digital campaign incorporating various channels, the name of just one piece of content (i.e. blog post) or a newsletter etc.
For example: summersale, 20percentpromocode, aprilnewsletter,
When building campaign URLs for 1 campaign being featured across different online channels, it is important to make sure the campaign name is the same so it is not duplicated in Google Analytics reporting. The UTMs are case sensitive.
When UTM code is added to a URL and shared on the web, the clicks from these links feeds the UTM data into Google Analytics. This data can be found in the Acquisition-> Source/Medium, or Acquisition -> All campaigns reports.
You will be able to see your list of campaigns in the campaign over view report. In the above example, you can see a list of different campaigns assigned to new iProspect blog posts shared online via social media and through internal emails. These blog posts were tagged up with UTM code before being shared on different online mediums.
Seeing how each source/medium the URL was shared on performed
If you click into any of the campaigns listed above, you can see how each UTM tagged channel performed in driving traffic to that page.
As you can see in the below image of one particular iProspect blog, the source “LinkedIn” through the medium “social” drove the most visits and the internal mail (source “iProspect” and medium “email”) sent drove the least visits.
If your site’s Google Analytics is tracking KPIs through goals or ecommerce tracking, you can see how well each campaign or channel performedtowards ecommerce or goal KPIs.
1. Always write UTMs in lower case to avoid duplication in reporting as UTMs are case sensitive.
4.Use Bit.ly to create vanity URLs for your content URLs containing long utm snippets. Instead of sharing this long URL on Facebook; http://www.iprospect.com/en/ie/our-blog/03-ad-ops-series-4-ad-ops-problems/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=AdOpsSeriesHashtagProblems, just pop it into Bit.ly to create a neater version like this; bit.ly/AdOpsProblems. All the UTM information will pass through to Google Analytics.
Now to go to share this new blog post of mine on social channels using utm code to track how each post performs!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave one below.