I talk to a lot of digital marketers who drive a lot of web traffic from several different sources to their website but are currently unable to measure the value or conversion rates of these unique traffic channels. UTM codes can solve that problem.
For example, you may be buying paid search ads from Google Adwords, Bing, Yahoo, and other sources while also running large display campaigns. From each source you know your impressions and clicks but you may not know which of these traffic sources is sending the most interested and engaged customer to your website.
What Are UTM Codes?
Also know as UTM parameters and Urchin Tracking Modules, UTM codes are small snippets of text added in a specific format to the end of any web URL or link to help you isolate and track the web traffic from that link separate from the rest of your web traffic. Here is an example of a UTM code in use:
When you add UTM codes or snippets to your web URL it doesn't change anything on the webpage. It only reports the source to your web traffic system. Generally, the user is none the wiser and even if they are an advanced user who understands UTM codes they would know that this doesn't effect their web experience and the content they are seeing.
Within the code snippet added to the URL there are five different UTM parameters you can include. All 5 are optional but using all 5 when possible can be very important when you are running a lot of different online marketing campaigns and you want to be able to track and report each individually.
1: Campaign: utm_campaign=name. This tracking code is used to group various parts of a single campaign together. In Google Analytics there is a section for “Campaigns” where this would be reported and accessed.
2. Medium: utm_medium=name. This tracking code is used to report the type of online medium. Social, Email, Direct, etc.
3. Source: utm_source=name. The actual website or vendor that is sending you the traffic.
4. Content: utm_content=footerlink. Used to track the different types of content that point to the same URL from the same campaign, source, and medium codes. Often used in PPC or with two identical links on the same page.
5. Term: utm_term=keyword+keyword. Used to identify the keywords you've paid for in a paid search (PPC) ad.
You can combine and use any combination of these parameters that you would like. Also begin the UTM code with a question mark and separate them with an and symbol as shown in the example above.