What Is UTM Tracking and How Can I Use It?

Comes With Fries
Sep 2021
Credit
Connie Rose

WHAT IS UTM TRACKING?

UTM tracking is all about measuring the impact of campaigns that you’re running. This is done by adding UTM tags / codes to the end of your website URLs to track who is viewing which webpages. Using UTM tracking will help you to monitor the performance of your marketing. 


WHAT EXACTLY IS A UTM CODE?

A UTM code is added to the end of your URL:

http://yourwebsite.com/your-post-title/?utm_source=google

The part after the '?' is the UTM code. This particular code tracks which platform sent the traffic to the page (i.e. the source).

The UTM code has two components:

  • UTM Parameter - this starts with utm_ followed by one of the 5 separate parameters you can track: utm_source, utm_campaign etc (see below).
  • Tracking variable – these are used to identify what exactly is being tracked (such as the name of the traffic source e.g. google in the example above). This variable follows the "=" sign.  

NOTE: Adding the UTM code doesn't impact the actual website page itself. You can delete the UTM code from the URL whenever you like and add in as many variables as you want to your url and the page will remain exactly the same.

WHAT ARE THE UTM PARAMETERS?

The 5 types of UTM parameters you can add to your URLs and track in your website analytics reports are:

  1. Source (Traffic Source)

The source parameter allows you to track where your traffic has come from. The UTM code to add to your url is utm_source followed by the name of that source. The sources you could track are Facebook, Google, Instagram or the name of an email list.

Example: &utm_source=twitter

  1. Medium

This parameter helps you to track what type of traffic the visitor was on when they clicked through to your site e.g. email, social, referral, display, etc. The parameter to use for this is utm_medium followed by the name of the medium.

Example: &utm_medium=social

  1. Campaign

The campaign parameter allows you to track the performance of a specific campaign. For example, you can use the campaign parameter to differentiate traffic between different Facebook Ad campaigns or email campaigns. The parameter is utm_campaign.

Example: &utm_campaign=example-campaign

  1. Keyword Term

The keyword parameter allows you to track which keyword term a website visitor typed in when they clicked on your site. This parameter is specifically used for paid search ads. The parameter is utm_term.

Example: &utm_term=growth+hacking+tactics

  1. Content 

In case you have multiple links pointing to the same URL (such as an email with two CTA buttons), this code will help you track which link was clicked. The parameter is utm_content.

Example: &utm_content=navlink


HOW DO I ADD UTM CODES INTO MY URLS?

You can either add UTM codes onto the end of your URLs manually in the back end of your site, or you can use the Google URL Builder

To use this, you simply enter your website address and then enter the campaign source so that you can keep track of these via All Traffic → Source/Medium; the rest of the parameters are optional.

You can use these codes in any combination by separating each parameter with the '&' sign.

HOW DO I ANALYSE MY RESULTS?

To make use of your UTM tagging efforts, it's best to analyse your results in Google Analytics. You can do this by going into your account and heading to Acquisition > All Traffic > Primary Dimension. From here you can pick the UTM parameter you want to look into and where your traffic has come from. 


WHY SHOULD I USE UTM CODES?

UTM codes allow you to precisely track your traffic sources and understand what is and isn’t working in your campaigns. UTM tags also give you the opportunity to know specifically which links are bringing in traffic - this is especially useful if you have more than one link in a certain place, such as a newsletter campaign.