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What is UTM code tracking & how to use it

BuzzGuru team

What is a UTM code? It is one of the most useful tools in online marketing, which allows you to track the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns. How does UTM tracking work? How do you generate links with smart code bits? Where can you view the results later? Find out in the article by the BuzzGuru team!

Table of contents:

What is a UTM tracking code?

UTM tracking code is a bit of textcode inserted into the link that allows you to see where exactly the traffic comes from. With it’s help you can easily track the number of clicks, their sources, types of ad campaigns and other key parameters you need to track. It is a very useful feature for marketers, thanks to which they can track the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. UTM code helps to categorize the traffic coming to the site and it immediately becomes clear which of the advertising sources is efficient and which one is not.

How does UTM tracking work?

It is worth starting with the fact that UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, which the Urchin Software Corporation created. Later Google bought this company, and their technologies formed the basis of the Google Analytics service. So all UTM codes are interpreted by GA and other commercial analytical services that collect data from GA.

The process is simple. First, you generate the code, then paste it into your link and run your ad campaigns. After that, you can go to Google Analytics, see all the statistics of each of those links and evaluate the results of your marketing ads.

Example of a link with UTM tracking

What can you track with a UTM code?

Campaign

The utm_campaign code is needed to understand which of the many ad campaigns the link belongs to.

For example, you want to track the company's fall sale links. Then insert the utm_campaign=fall_sale code in your links.

Source

The utm_source code helps you track where precisely the website was accessed from. This can be an ad, a newsletter, a banner on a search engine, and so on.

For example, you sent a newsletter to potential customers and placed a link to your site. To track the number of clicks, put the utm_source=newsletter code in it.

Medium

The utm_medium code is necessary for understanding from which platform the click on the link was made. The medium can be a social network, search engine, email, and so on.

For example: to not forget that a particular link led people to the site from an email, add the code utm_medium=email.

Piece of content

The utm_content code is used when you want to track exactly what content piece on your website people click on the most.

For example, you want to find out which of the buttons in the email is clicked more, the top or bottom one. So put the codes utm_content=top_button and utm_content=bottom_button in the links behind these buttons.

Term

The utm_term code is needed to track the effectiveness of advertising campaigns in Google. Contextual ads in the search engine are promoted via the keywords that users type into the search bar. In this case, UTM helps you understand which keywords or terms brought the most traffic.

For example, you make three ads in which you put the keywords "buy flowers," "order flowers," and "flower delivery." To understand which of them brought the most conversions, put the codes utm_term=buy_flowers, utm_term=order_flowers, and utm_term=flower_delivery in the links to the site.

How to сreate UTM сodes to track your URLs?

It's easy to build a link with all the UTM codes you need. You just need to put "/?" at the very end of the link and then place all the necessary codes through "&" without spaces. Here's what it would look like if you put the UTM tracks mentioned above together:

https://www.example.com/?utm_campaign=fall_sale&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=top_button

If you need a large link with a lot of UTM codes, it is better not to risk it and build it through Campaign URL Builder by Google Analytics:

Campaign URL Builder interface

If you are worried that your link looks bulky and will be seen by users because it is not hidden behind the button, scoot it through the URL shortener. This will not affect UTM tracking in any way.

How to track UTM in Google Analytics?

  • Go to the “Acquisition” tab → “New users by User source/medium”, → “View user acquisition”.

How to track UTM in Google Analytics
  • Here you will see the "User source/medium" and other dashboards. You will be able to make decisions on the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns.

How to track influencer marketing using UTM tags?

You can track the effectiveness of influencer marketing via UTM tracking this way:

  • Put codes like utm_source=influencer_x_ad and utm_medium=social,
  • Shorten the link via URL shortener,
  • Give the link to the influencers and tell them to place it in the ad,
  • After placing an ad, track how many people clicked on it through GA.

Summary

UTM tracking is an extremely useful tool that helps you track advertising campaigns’ effectiveness and make decisions based on behavioural data. These little bits of code help you track where traffic to your website came from. So not using them means not seeing the full picture of your brand promotion.

Here are some tips that will make using UTM code even more useful:

  1. Keep track of which case you use on the keyboard because codes utm_source=social and utm_source=Social are different codes. The same goes for the symbols. If you have code utm_medium=email, but you are looking for utm_medium=e-mail, you will not see the data.
  2. Be careful with special characters in the codes. It is better not to use them at all so that you do not get confused. Especially “/”, “?”, and “&”, since they are needed to separate UTMs from the main link text and among themselves.
  3. Do not allow spaces. By mistake, you can write utm_term=flower delivery, but such a link will not work. Be sure to use an underscore instead of space ("_") to get this like utm_term=flower_delivery.
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