UTM codes or parameters are text fragments that have values assigned to them and that make easier to track online campaigns, detailing the source from which the traffic is coming from. This is usually done to track marketing campaigns, social media, newsletter and others, and answers three main questions:
- Where does the traffic to my website comes from?
- Which marketing medium is the one generating the most traffic?
- Through which content or campaign is this traffic entering the website?
This how a regular website looks like :
URL with Custom Parameters.
These UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) Parameters, do not alter the website’s behavior, they do not redirect the user, they are there to indicate where the user entering the website comes from. In fact the modified URL will only be visible when entering the site, during other pages browsing, the regular address for these will show. UTM codes allow to customize links by adding fragments at the end of the URL and are configured through a UTM Builder.
These data could be analyzed with software such as kissmetric, or in acquisition reports from Google Analytics.
There are five types of parameters that can be added to URLs: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, utm_term, utm_content. Each parameter must be synchronized with a value accordingly with the goals for the campaign.
To use this parameters properly, each one must be clearly defined.
Campaign Source (utm_source): this refers to the traffic source, the channel, medium or search engine through which the campaign was executed.
Campaign Medium (utm_medium): this serves to identify the medium through which the click was produced: a newsletter ads or social media, etc.
Campaign Term (utm_term): this is implemented to identify keywords used to reach a website.
Campaign Content (utm_content): it serves to differentiate the links directing to the same URL. If there are several formats for advertisements, such as text, graphics, videos, animations, etc. This will allow to identify which of these does the click belong to.
Campaign Name (utm_campaign): in this field the name for the campaign or offer should be entered, for example: Spring.
- UTM parameter combination
These UTM parameters can be combined between them. Giving a value for campaign, source, and medium will allow to track every link directing to a website, these three parameters are mandatory to define by default, or these can all be used if you possess all the information to obtain detailed information on the actions that are being implemented. These are some ways to use UTM parameter combinations:
- Track the performance of your specific marketing efforts, For example: email campaigns, ads, social network campaigns.
- Discover the reach from your content in social networks.
- Measure the effectiveness from the referred traffic from guest publications.
- Track the same content in several different marketing mediums.
- Figure out which internal links are being clicked the most by a person looking for a post.
- Analyze whether the incoming traffic comes from ads and keywords specific for your campaign.
- How to create UTM campaigns in Google Analytics
1) With Google’s URL Builder if you want to track campaigns through the Analytics interface, there are other tools available in the internet to create a custom URL.
Associate the information about the Campaign, source and medium in the chosen boxes, enter information for these three parameters is mandatory. As for the other two additional parameters, a value can be assigned depending on the strategy.
2) Use links in your posts or strategy.
Shorten the size of the URL that you just created will help you to minimize the character count to share it in social networks, an URL shortener might be needed for this, such as: bitly, google shortener, or Effin Extension for Chrome.
- How to track campaigns in Google Analytics
To view the performance from your UTM campaigns, access reports from the Analytics panel:
1) Acquisition> Campaigns> All campaigns
2) Campaign primary dimension, source or medium.
Google Analytics will efficiently track the traffic generated by your campaign, as long as the implementation has been made correctly. This platform will allow you to combine dimensions and metrics, providing relevant information on the users that visited the site, allowing to make adjustments or measure the results from the strategy.
- UTM Campaigns for Social Networks
The link labeling in social networks is basically used to analyze whether the marketing efforts are effective. It is important that these links are labeled correctly to figure out their origin, using UTM parameters can facilitate the answers to question like these:
Is my Advertisement Banner Working?,
Should I enlarge the budget for my facebook ads campaign or should I stop it?
Which social network generates the most traffic to my website?
Are my followers clicking the links on my tweets?
Which social network should I focus my marketing efforts?
Is my facebook advertisement performing well?… Amongst other doubts that could come up in the analytical process.
It is very important that every action performed is measurable in order to avoid the waste of time, effort and even money.
The source as a UTM parameter for social networks, is labeled with the same name from the social network where it’s being published, for example, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Google recommends to use the source label as the sender name.
The medium will allow to answer the question El medio (Medium) through which channel? the users are coming to the site and it is advised to set a general marketing term to group them, and if a social source is used in the medium, it could be tagged as social.
These are examples from mediums that are not social which could be also used:
Blog / Guest Blog / Syndicate
Campaign: labeling this parameter is more flexible, and it will indicate which marketing action does the traffic come from. This can be used for special promos, product launches. Assign a name that helps to identify it easily, such as “Collection[season]” as a campaign.
Other labeling options could be:
Business goals / Name for the Brand, service or product / Collection / Season / volume / Chapters / Target Type / Version / Launch
UTM campaign tracking in Social Networks.
When gathering the amount of clicks or measuring the reach from your campaign in social networks, it is advised to use tool native for the network, such as: twitter analytics, facebook insight, pinterest analytics or an external tool such as bit.ly, which allow to analyze each interaction with the content (shares, comments, clicks, Retweets, Likes) times, demographics and geographic location. The Google Analytics Platform might help to measure traffic coming from the social source that you labeled when the URL was created, but analytics will not provide specific information about the clicks, it will only provide information about the traffic and navigation towards the url that you added. A way to analyze the interaction from the UTM campaign with your posts is using a tool that allows you to access the social activity that generated it, with the option to combine both tools to create more substantial performance reports.
Top 5 from good practices, advice from the experts.
1. “Only Label what’s necessary” (Google)
2. “Create links using an URL builder”. (Hubspot)
3. “Always Track the performance from every online marketing campaign separately” (Increnta)
- “Insert CTAs aiming to downloadable offers and add a UTM code to know which type of article has the highest conversions through Google Analytics”. (Inbound Cycle)
- “Make sure to test and check the lings before implementing them” (Blogger)
- Tracking and analytics tools.
- Kissmetrics: it allows to configure your own panel to add several mediums making it easier to combine relevant dimensions and metrics for your strategy, it also tracks the behavior from the user that they belong to, how these interact, what are their interests, everything based on how they use your website.
- Bit.ly.: It allows to track social actions through a link generated by the platform, which is stationary and tracks every information about the activity generated from the link. If you add an url with UTM codes, the analytics are maximized, as you can observe actions and also monitor from another web analytics platform such as Google Analytics the source from where your traffic comes from and what value is this generating for your strategy.
- Google Analytics: the popular free web analytics platform, the most granular of all times. Through these you can find relevant information for your campaign, specifically adjusted to your goals. It provides the option to improve or predict your marketing efforts in different mediums.
- WP Statics; this plugin is used by bloggers from the WordPress platform, it provides clear and precise reports about the behavior from the users accessing the website.
Social Mention: this is a tool to track your campaign or brand, it shows what the audience thinks of your brand, are they positive or negative references? it browses over 70 social networks and various content formats, searching for information about your brand, trends, and users with the feature to download reports in cvs format completely for free.
- Mention: this freemium tool locates mentions about specific terms for your campaign in real time, as well as mentions about your brand on the whole Internet. It’s platform is based in functionalities similar to Google Alerts and it’s available in several languages.