May
06
2019

What's a UTM Code and How Can it Transform Your Marketing

If you’re a business owner, you probably already know one of the most important ways to reach consumers is a well-designed and functional website. Driving traffic to your website is important, but knowing how those visitors are finding your site is also important. So how can you track where your website clicks are coming from and how people are finding you? By attaching a UTM code to your click-thru URL!

What is a UTM Code?

‘UTM’ means Urchin Tracking Code. A UTM is a code that can be attached to your URL and tracks mediums, sources and campaign names (among other things). Sound confusing? It’s actually simpler than you think! We are going to break it down for you next.

The three main questions that are answered by using a UTM code are: Where, How, and Why?

  • Where is your website traffic coming from?
  • How did website visitors find you?
  • And Why are they on your site?

In UTM technical terms we refer to these as: source, medium and campaign name.

  • Source is where your website traffic is coming from (utm_source)
    • ex. facebook, google display network, email, etc.
  • Medium is what type of marketing contributed the clicks (utm_medium)
    • ex. advertising online, paid search, newsletter, etc.
  • Campaign name is the specific campaign that generated the click (utm_campaign). Basically you can make this up based on how you want to group your marketing efforts.
    • ex. end of year clearance, new customer promo, etc.

How Do You Use a UTM Code?

Google Analytics can track where your clicks are coming from whether it’s from social media platforms, television or newspaper advertisements. To make attaching a UTM code to your URL simple, use one of the dozens of free “URL builders” available on the internet. Google has a URL builder that is easy and simple to use. Once you have decided how you want to track, enter your information into the parameters (source, medium and campaign) and click “generate URL”. Yes, it’s really that easy! You’ll notice there are several other fields available as well. Not all of these are mandatory so start small (source, medium, campaign), and you can expand into more detailed tracking URLs as your campaign complexities change.

Here is an example of a UTM using source, medium and campaign:

https://www.about.us/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=blog-promotion

You’ll notice at the URL builder does all the coding work for you. All you need to do is copy the generated URL and use this as the click-thru on your marketing efforts. These UTMs feed into your Google Analytics so you can access and analyze the traffic in the Google Analytics acquisition report (Google Analytics > Acquisition > All Traffic > Source/Medium).

Now how does this transform your marketing? Once you know where your website traffic is coming from, you can adjust your marketing tactics to know what social media platform or marketing medium has the most impact. For example, if you find that most of your website traffic comes from Facebook, it might be smart to utilize that social media platform over Twitter or Instagram. Maybe you’re spending $2000 a month on a digital display campaign that isn’t producing the results you would hope. UTM codes make it easier to organize and keep track of this data and can even help you spend your marketing budget more wisely. Use these codes strategically and watch your website traffic, leads and conversions soar.