There are certain tools that every marketer needs, whether they realize it or not. UTM codes are one of those tools. For those who aren’t familiar, UTM codes are unique URLs that are designed to redirect to a website or landing page. These URLs include tracking information (the UTM code) to allow the website owner to know where the clickthrough came from. For example, if you have ads on Google and Facebook, you’ll be able to know which campaign is doing better with proper UTM tracking.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s back up a little bit. Advertising and marketing online are a bit complicated, and there’s a lot of ground to cover. If you’ve already got a strategy up and in place, you need to make sure that you’re on top of UTM tracking so that you don’t lose any time or beneficial information by skipping this simple step. If you are just getting started, you’re ahead of the game. Either way, this guide will help you better understand UTM tracking, its benefits, and why your business needs it.
Organic Advertising Isn’t Enough
You can use UTM tracking codes in some organic advertising efforts. However, they’re usually found in paid ads. Some companies vow that they’ll never use paid ads or get invested in “complicated” PPC campaigns, but upon further research, you’ll find that organic marketing is not enough on its own. It can do a lot for your business, but it can’t do it all.
At some point, you’re going to have to invest in paid advertising. The way that you do it will make all the difference. With the robust availability of reporting tools, UTM tracking should be treated as a default part of the process. Why wouldn’t you want more specific information about your traffic so that you can fine-tune or fix mistakes in your campaigns?
So, Where Do I Find UTM Codes?
You can’t track your unique URLs without their dedicated codes. These are located at the end of your URL and will contain specific characters to help signify a traffic source or other component. It may include up to five different components, which we’ll dig into the details below. These codes can be custom-created, or you can make them with tools like the Google Analytics UTM code tool.
If you really want to make the most of your UTM creation, check out this handy guide on using UTM parameters.
What Does UTM Mean? What’s Included?
UTM stands for “Urchin Traffic Monitor”, which was the base for Google Analytics. This tag or coding method was created to help people monitor traffic sources and referrals. Just as you can ask people to check a box on a form to let you know where they heard about your company, you can use UTM tracking to see exactly how people got to your website or landing page.
The five components that can be included in a UTM code include:
This includes information about where your traffic came from. For example, the code might say something like “UTM_source=Facebook” for all traffic that is redirected to your website from your Facebook page. Sources might also consist of email servers, other websites, or even Google or other search engines.
This refers to the type of placement or digital marketing used. If you have links from paid search, their UTM would be “paid search”. If someone came from Facebook like the example above, you’d use “social” as the UTM parameter. This allows you to know which of your channels are performing best.
The content is a unique parameter that allows you to track which content performs best. For example, you can track what CTA performs best in email marketing or track display rendering to see which ad sizes are most effective. You can even track multiple links or images to see which ones were most engaged by users. This helps ensure that you’re using the most attention-grabbing content for marketing.
The campaign name is a good item to have in your UTM tracking code, provided that you know the names of your campaigns. It makes things easier to organize on the backend and ensures credit is given where it is due. Plus, if you have a campaign that includes multiple mediums and data, you can keep the data together by incorporating a campaign parameter in your UTM codes.
If you want to check to see how certain keywords or terms are working, you can use this parameter. Simply use UTM codes that target certain terms. You can even do A/B testing to track two terms at once. That would look something like: UTM_source=save20dollars, which you might be testing against UTM_source=save10percent.
Tracking UTM Codes in Google Analytics
If you’re using Google Analytics, like many do for marketing, you’ll have to check a few different places to get your UTM tracking insights. Here’s how to find each parameter:
Source: Acquisition> All Traffic> Source/Medium> Source
Medium: Acquisition>All Traffic> Source/Medium> Medium
Campaign: Acquisition> All Traffic> Source/Medium> Other> Campaign
Term: Acquisition> All Traffic> Source/Medium>Other> Keyword
Content: Acquisition> All Traffic> Source/Medium> Other> Ad Content
Keep It Consistent: Best Practices and More
The biggest part of UTM tracking is to be consistent and follow all best practices. For example, when using the “medium” parameter, you’ll want to stick to Google’s own default terms. You should also be consistent in your formatting and capitalization because it’s all a personal preference but Google tracks both specifically. Don’t use special characters, either, because that can complicate or mess up the code, and make sure you set up a regular tracking schedule to keep an eye on your campaigns.
If you are looking to take your marketing to the next level and make sure that your campaigns are on point across the board, the team at REIN can help. Our dedicated professionals take a holistic approach and ensure that we’re doing everything in our power to help you maximize your marketing and your overall success. Contact us now for assistance with UTM tracking and other analytics that can bolster your marketing campaigns.
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