Buddy King

Account Executive

December 28, 2022

9 minute read

What is UTM tracking and how can UTM's help my marketing?

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Most people think of marketing as a one-way street: you create a message, put it out there, and hope for the best. But what if there was a way to make your marketing efforts more effective by actually measuring how well they’re working? UTMs can do just that.

What are UTMs? UTMs (or Urchin Tracking Modules) are codes that you can add to the end of a link to track how much traffic they generate. This data can then be used to measure the effectiveness of different marketing campaigns and determine what is and isn’t working.

For example, if you want to see how many users are clicking on your link from an email campaign then you can put a UTM at the end of your link in your email.  Then, when a user clicks on the link in your email, their session will pull in the traffic source that they came from.

So in this example, the link in your email would look like this:

  • www.mywebsite.com/?utm_source=emailseries

When a user from your email series clicks on that link in an email, the UTM will pull in the data from the link click and you can see that they were referred to your site from your "emailseries" campaign.

There are 5 universal UTMs that can be used with any traffic source. What are the 5 UTMs? They are:

  • utm_source
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_medium
  • utm_content
  • utm_term

If you want to start using UTMs in your own marketing efforts, here are a few tips:

1. Define your goals

Before you start creating UTMs, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with them. What do you hope to learn from using UTMs? What kind of data would be most helpful in reaching your goals?

Is your goal to see where most of your traffic is coming from? Then put a UTM at the end of your links that would pull in the traffic source referrer with each session.  Is your goal to measure the engagement rate of the emails you are sending?  Then put a UTM on the link in your CTA to identify how many times people are opening the links in your emails.

Answering these questions will help you create more effective UTMs and get more out of the data they generate.

2. Use a UTM builder

There are a few different ways to create UTMs, but the easiest is to use a UTM builder. UTM builder tools will generate a UTM code for you, which you can then add to your links. All you need to do is enter the URL you want to track, along with some other information about your campaign.

Once the UTM is created you will need to add it to the end of your links and start tracking!

3. Add UTMs to your links

Once you’ve created your UTMs it is time to start using them in your marketing campaigns. Whenever you create a new link for a campaign, make sure to add the appropriate UTM code to it. That way, you can track how much traffic that link generates and use that information to improve your marketing efforts in the long run through data analytics.

You can add a UTM code to your link with the use of a "?" (question mark) at the end of your link.  If you wish to use more than one UTM code on your link, then any additional UTMs after your first code will be separated using the "&" symbol.

For example, if you want to see how many people are clicking on the CTA in your 2nd email of an email series, then the link in your email may look like this:

  • www.mywebsite.com/?utm_source=emailseries&utm_content=email2

Then when someone visits your website from this link, you will know that they came from your email series and that they clicked the link in your 2nd email.

4. Test your links

Before you start using your UTMs in earnest, it’s a good idea to test them out to make sure they’re working as intended. The last thing you want is to launch a marketing campaign only to find out that the UTMs you created aren’t tracking correctly!

To test your links, simply click on them and see if they take you to the correct destination. Once you have landed on the right destination, make sure that the end of your link shows the UTMs that you want to track.  If they do, then you know your links with the UTMs are working properly.

So what are UTMs? UTMs are a valuable tracking tool for any marketer who is looking to measure the traffic coming to their website.  Adding UTMs to your links allows you to gain useful insights into which of your marketing efforts are driving you the best result. You can then analyze that data and apply your findings to your marketing strategy to enhance your marketing efforts!

It is worth noting that UTM tracking alone is not perfect, and can have some shortcomings. To read more about the shortcomings of UTM tracking, check out this article right here!

If you are interested in a software that uses UTMs in addition to advanced tracking scripts in order to accurately keep track of your data, you should give Cometly a try!

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