What Are UTMs, Why Are They Important For Marketing?

Sam McKnight

Published: 06th December 2018

What Are UTMs, Why Are They Important For Marketing? Blog Article Branding and Digital Agency Belfast

UTMs are Urchin Tracking Modules …. I know that probably doesn’t help at all so simply put it is the format Google uses to track traffic driven to your website from a URL.

This is seen as a small structured selection of code at the end of the URL you are using to drive traffic to your website, this is a simple example for a link we could use on Facebook. [Facebook can be changed out for other platforms]

Eg. https://fourteen-forty.com?utm_source=[facebook]


fourteen forty analytics belfast

UTM codes provide so much information to Google Analytics, that your campaign management team should be using them for everything posted online that is driving traffic to your website. This will give you a better idea of how each social post performs and better determine where you should post your content or what sort of content is getting engagement whether it be video, animation or just a single striking image.

The structure of a UTM

A fully structured UTM is broken down into medium, source, content, campaign, or term. Using more of these options allows you to track more in-depth information from the traffic you are generating and where specially they are coming from, which post or ad not just which platform.

Optional Parameters:

  • Campaign Term (utm_term) – Campaign Term is used for tracking particular keywords if you’re running an Adwords campaign.
  • Campaign Content (utm_content) – This parameter is helpful if you’re split testing ads. In this case, you could track each ad to see which was most effective for driving traffic.
google utm generator

Free Tools to Get You Started

Making UTMs part of your marketing campaigns isn’t something to keep you up at night!!

Once you understand the structure and how it ties into Google Analytics you can use any number of free tools to create your actual UTMs.

Shorten your UTMs

One issue of using UTMs is that they are long. You should always turn your UTM parameters into a shortened link using a service like Bitly or another URL shortener.

Shortening the link protects the parameters you have used in your UTM when people are sharing with others.

It’s more common than you think and can mess up attribution – use a shortener to protect the work you’ve put in creating your UTMs!

How to stay organised

  • Have a written process document on how to build UTMs – are you shortening Facebook to FB or Instagram to Insta…
  • Make a set of rules so anyone in the team can step in and make a post using the correct utm technique.

Why is it Important to know where your traffic is coming from?

Being able to see exactly what type of content from which platform is driving traffic to your website is vital information that all campaign management teams should be using to their advantage.

Reporting and reviewing this information on a consistent basis allows you to make strategic changes to the campaign, instead of altering tactics based on a whim with no facts to back up your decisions.

Without the analytics, you can end up going in circles with next to no chance of running a long-term successful marketing campaign. Leaving behind a mountain of wasted hours and the cost associated with that as well as any additional advertising spend.

Found yourself in a similar situation and haven’t been able to report on the success of campaigns as accurately as you’d have liked?

Then give UTM codes a try or give us a call to manage the setup or the running a fully trackable social campaign.

Think Big. Start Small.

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