Whether you're running adverts on online platforms, posting to social media, or even sending traffic to your site from email shots, one of the most important things for you to look at is the performance. This allows you to understand what is working and what isn't, highlighting changes in strategy and the best ways to interact with your audience moving forwards. There are platforms which allow you to see this data already, but what would you say if I told you that you could see even more data? This is where UTM tracking comes into play - a special code that can be added to the end of any URL to track clicks and the performance of marketing activities.
This post will help you understand UTM codes and show you how to use them to track more data (and who doesn't love more data!).
What Are UTM Codes?
Let's start with the most obvious question, what are UTM codes? A UTM code is a simple snippet of code that you can add to the end of a URL to track the performance of a campaign and its content.
A UTM code has 5 different URL parameters that you can track in your analytics platform such as Google Analytics:
For all you super nerds out there the term UTM stands for 'Urchin Traffic Monitor', with the name coming from a web analytics software called Urchin Tracker.
What Do UTM Codes Look Like?
The UTM code appears at the end of a URL, combining a series of characters to define any of the 5 parameters listed earlier.
If we were running a paid advert on Facebook to take people to one of the entries to The 36 Chambers Of Digital Marketing, the URL would look like this when using the UTM code:
As you can see, each parameter name is followed with a term/phrase that I have personally chosen to allow me to segment the data for this exact advert and from this exact source when using a data analysis tool such as Google Analytics.
It is totally up to you how to label each of the parameters, and which parameters to use as you don't have to use all of them.
I would suggest that you find a UTM code structure that works best for you and stick to it as this will allow you to dive into the data with ease.
How To Create & Use UTM Codes
Lots of online platforms have a built-in UTM code feature but some appear limited or overly confusing.
Instead, I would suggest that you use this website - https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/, a tried, tested and trusted UTM code builder that is simple to use and completely free.
The following breaks down how to build your UTM code using this tool:
Website URL -Enter the URL that you are using for your advert, post, button etc...
Campaign Source - Enter the platform that the URL will be used on (eg. Google, Facebook, Mailchimp etc...).
Campaign Medium - This defines the medium used, like CPC, banner advert, email, QR code...
Campaign Name - Enter a unique name that defines your campaign.
You can use the 5th and 6th options on the site, but I would suggest only using the initial 4 to keep things simple as there is less room for error.
Now your UTM code parameters are completed, you will see that an extended version of your original URL has been made for you.
Simply copy this URL and use it instead of the original URL.
Where To Find The UTM Code Data In Google Analytics
With the new UTM code version of your URL in use and generating data, it's time to look at the performance in Google Analytics.
Log into your Google Analytics account, navigate and click on the ACQUISITION tab on the left, then click on CAMPAIGNS.
So there you have it, UTM codes really help you understand the performance of what you are doing and will elevate your digital marketing efforts from this. I would suggest giving them a try on a social media post, or a segment of your next email shot and see if the data is coming through ok. If it isn't, feel free to use this article as a troubleshooting guide which you can keep coming back to reference.
Go forth, have fun, and as always, stay classy!
Ciao for now,