SEM

A Crash Course on UTM Tracking Codes

Myta Santiago 5 mins read
A Crash Course on UTM Tracking Codes

One of the myriads of benefits of having all sorts of online platforms is that you can easily track the specific actions of users that step into your website through various sources. With UTM tracking codes, it even easier for you to understand what’s more effective for your ongoing marketing strategy. 

Sounds technical? It sure is but we’ll make it easy for you to understand. We’ll go through the parts of a UTM tracking code first and then give you some reasons why we highly recommend using it on your marketing campaigns.

Parts of a UTM Tracking Code

The Urchin Tracking Module is a tool that allows you to track your web traffic in detail. These UTMs are codes that are included at the end of a website link or a URL and usually come after a question mark. 

This is how a link with UTM tracking codes looks like:

DigitalMaas UTM Parameter

The string of code after question marks on the above example are required parameters that Google Analytics tracks. 

It’s like asking your adult children, during Christmas, a detailed journey towards your house in the hinterlands:

  • Where did you come from 
  • How did you get here
  • Why did you come here

In digital marketing speak, that would be the source (where?), the medium (how?) and the name (why?). Let’s go by each parameter so you know why they’re important.

1. Source

This indicates where the traffic comes from. 

Example: You have an email campaign that leads to a landing page to your next free webinar. You can then add a UTM source to determine that it came from an email campaign source. 

&utm_source=email

2. Medium

This is the way you got the traffic.

Example: On your email campaign, add a UTM medium to determine that you came from a campaign where you had to click a CTA (call-to-action) button in order to access the landing page.

&utm_medium=email-cta

3. Name

This is which campaign is driving traffic to you. 

It can be used to identify a specific promotion, event or activity aimed at a specific target and is a required parameter.

Example: Because your email campaign is part of a major marketing campaign for Christmas, you can add a UTM campaign name to determine that it came from an email under that campaign. You can be imaginative with this one.

&utm_campaign=email-Christmas-webinar

Pro tip: You can simply use spaces instead of dashes or underscores on each naming convention (the label after the equal sign). It will come up as ‘%20’ on the final URL.

There are optional parameters that you can add to further differentiate your trackers between campaigns. These are:

  • Campaign Content (utm_content): Campaign Content refers to the content of the marketing medium. 
  • Campaign Term – optional (utm_term): The Campaign Term allows you to track keywords, like paid keywords.

How To Create UTM Tracking Codes

There are two ways to create UTM tracking codes:

  • Manual: this is easy but tedious to do but still doable! Just individually type the parameters. This is perfectly fine if you want to add just a few parameters in and if there are little to no chances across different campaigns.
  • Campaign URL Builder: This site, set up by Google, automatically creates the link with the UTM codes for you. Just type in your source, medium and name, copy the link and you’re done.

UTM Tracking Code Builder

Why Use UTM Tracking Codes

The main benefit of using UTM tracking codes is that it lets you see where your visitors are coming from at a more detailed level across your marketing campaigns and even organic (non-paid) endeavours – including your Google My Business listing.

You can add UTM tracking codes on your website and on your appointment link – available to certain businesses. This is something you can also do within the DigitalMaas Platform like in the below example.

DigitalMaas Platform UTM

Without UTM tracking codes, the only thing you will see is the referrer – the site link that brought the user to the current page. The UTM information helps you know more specific details about the sources driving people to your website.

Ultimately, using UTM tracking codes helps you see which campaigns are more effective given how many users click on the link on which platform and how many are converted into customers or clients. You can compare between and among mediums under each campaign and identify which platform you can give more budget or attention to in your next campaigns.

Best Practices

We at DigitalMaas have been using UTM tracking codes since our inception and, really, we’ve learned so much about this integral process in our campaigns. Here are some that we’d like you to know, too.

1. Keep It Simple

You might have really beautiful campaign names that you want to add to your UTM tracking codes but as much as we love creativity and imagination, it would be best to keep it simple and use easy-to-understand names.

DigitalMaas UTM Tracking Example

If you have different emails going out to different countries, for example, you can track traffic coming from there as well. Just write down the country on the UTM campaign name to make it easily identifiable when you look into your Google Analytics dashboard.

2. Tag What You Need

It can be a little fun to use UTM tracking codes on every single link but we don’t recommend doing this. If you’re running a paid ads campaign, tag your destination URLs. This is standard. You can also tag your GMB listing to know if people are visiting your website by clicking the link on your knowledge graph or Google Posts. 

But this isn’t a standard for organic campaigns so while this is doable, this isn’t a requirement.

3. Use the Terms You Need

In the earlier part of this post, we talked about the required fields you need to fill out when making your UTM tracking code. Unless you want a fully detailed view of how and why a lead has visited your website, you can just supply the source, medium and name to attach to your link.

With UTM tracking codes, you can make turn your usual online real estate into high-quality lead generating platforms that reel in views that turn into customers, see which campaigns may be carried over to another one to test and make digital marketing work for you.

Myta Santiago

Content writer, book blogger, sensitivity reader and proofreader with years of experience. Aside from providing evergreen web content, they are also an aspiring historical fantasy author. Reads 50-80 books a year, so you know they mean business when it comes to writing.

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