If you’re a marketer, then you’re also the gatekeeper to vital website knowledge and campaign statistics. But can you honestly say that your current Google Analytics setup really gives you the kind of in-the-trenches traffic information you and your colleagues want to know about? If the answer is ‘help me, oh wise one,’ then may we introduce you to three little letters that’ll make all the difference: UTM.
What is a UTM?
You probably already know the basic answer, but just for the cheap seats, a UTM, which stands for urchin traffic monitor, is a code affixed to the end of a URL that provides more details about where your site traffic is coming from. In essence, it allows you to dig much deeper to gain better insights into your campaign performance.
There are five parameters you can track using a UTM code: source, medium, campaign, keyword term, and content. The first three are the most valuable to your Google Analytics.
Here’s one of our own UTM codes:
What’s great about UTMs is that the length of the URL won’t negatively impact your SEO (but you can still run it through a URL shortener if you insist), and you don’t have to do anything extra in your Google Analytics to start using them. Plus, these codes make your data more meaningful.
Why You Need to Start Using UTM Codes
We live in a world where everything that can be recorded, catalogued, and analysed is. Our society is hoarding more data than ever in the history of our species. We’re not doing it for poops and giggles—analysing data helps us understand our own behaviour.
Using UTMs is perhaps the least painful way to collect the minute details of your traffic, which will help you better understand what’s working and what’s costing too much money. Really, there’s not even a need to manually enter your UTM codes.
Imagine how useful this data will be when you have to decide between two campaigns. Imagine how much money your company will save by knowing which campaigns to drop and which campaigns increase your ROI (and having the data to back everything up).
The Five Parameters You Can Track With UTM Codes
As we said before, there’s no reason to enter these codes manually, so if you don’t already have your own UTM generator handy, feel free to use ours. Let’s take a closer look to see what these parameters are all about:
The first UTM code in the sequence tells you where, oh where, your visitor comes from.
Examples of popular sources include: Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp, Google, Reddit, YouTube
The next line in our cosmic address indicates what kind of traffic it is, i.e., whether it was an affiliate link, a cost-per-click, or a social post. This will be really important when you’re tracking ads.
Other examples of utm_medium codes include: Automation, Banner, Podcast, Press release, Boosted post
This UTM parameter answers the question ‘why is this traffic coming to me?’ In other words, what marketing tactic has your team done to get this traffic? As the name suggests, this is where you would put the name of your campaign.
If you’ve already downloaded our UTM builder, you’ll notice there’s no drop-down list. That’s because this parameter is personal to your campaigns. But however you choose to label your campaigns, make sure to be consistent about it.
As an SEO agency, we’re suckers for keywords. But in the case of UTM codes, you should be too! This UTM parameter will bolster your SEO efforts, as it will show you exactly what keywords are pulling in the most traffic. (This is why PPC and SEO are such great bedfellows).
This UTM parameter will be as individual as your brand, but here are some examples of what the code looks like:
The very last parameter in your UTM code shows you what page element the visitor clicked on to get to your web page. So, if you have CTA buttons scattered across a single web page or email, this parameter tells you exactly which one was clicked on. As you can guess, this will provide you with helpful details when A/B testing.
Tips For Using UTMs
Empower Yourself to Do More With Analytics
In conclusion, UTMs provide marketers with more precise traffic data that they can leverage to sharpen and fine-tune their marketing campaigns. UTMs are easy to set up and, if you’re using your own UTM builder, are painless to generate. Our media team uses UTMs for our sponsored ads, and if you want access to the same UTM builder we use, click here.
Get a free media audit today.