Have you ever wondered which channels and campaigns drive the most traffic to your website?
The answer is: Using UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters.
What are UTM parameters?
By adding a so-called UTM-parameter to your URL you can use Monitoring tools like Google Analytics to measure where your traffic comes from and how visitors behave on your page.
This also allows for further insights about user behavior like how long users that came to your website through a Facebook ad stay on your page if they read articles or buy your products.
“UTM parameters are simply tags that you add to a URL. When someone clicks on a URL with UTM parameters, those tags are sent back to your Google Analytics for tracking.” –kissmetrics
What does a UTM code look like?
UTM parameters consist of a website URL and the tracking parameters that include the details of the origin of the visitor.
The result could look similar to this:
The first parameter is separated from your URL by a question mark in order for Google to know where your URL ends and where your UTM starts. Every additional parameter will be indicated with the “&” sign.
How to use UTM parameters
You can only track UTM parameters if you have a monitoring tool like Google Analytics linked to your website.
Let’s say you bought a banner placement on a website to promote a Christmas offer. Since you paid for the ad to appear on the website, you want to know how it performs. By using UTMs you can see how many people clicked through, came to your website and much more.
If a user clicks on the UTM link, the parameters will be forwarded to your monitoring tool. This allows you to track the performance of your ad independently from the advertiser, preventing them from giving you wrong numbers.
Open Google Analytics and filter your results by source and medium (left side bar>acquisition>all traffic> source/medium). Now you can see how many users clicked the banner, how long they stayed on your page and much more.
How to easily create UTMs
If you know the parameters by heart you can them manually to your URL. We recommend using a tool to generate UTMs since it makes the entire process much easier and minimizes the room for mistakes. You can use our tool to easily generate UTM codes for your campaigns. Try it now, it’s free
What are the different parameters?
There are five different parameters that you can use separately or simultaneously. You can name them however you like but make sure to be consistent in your naming. For example: If you name a source “facebook” in one UTM and use “fb” in another, they will show as two different sources in your analytics tool.
You define a UTM source to know the platform from which the traffic originated.
For example utm_source=facebook or utm_source=newsletter
A medium can be a Banner, a CPC campaign or a QR code for example. If you have a banner in a newsletter of which you want to track your utm_source=newsletter while your utm_medium=banner
If we’re sending one newsletter in the morning and one in the evening, this parameter would help you differentiate between the two campaigns: utm_campaign=morning and utm_campaign=evening
When running several ads on Google Adwords that each use different keywords, the utm_term parameter is used to see which keywords brought you traffic. utm_term=runningshoes or utm_term=nike_shoes
The content parameter can be used for split testing. Imagine you placed a link in two articles that are identical, but one has a video in it, the other doesn’t. You could use the utm_content=video and utm_content=novideo
When to use UTM tags
Literally every time you want to track the performance of your channels, you should rely on UTM tags. These scanrios can for example include:
Working with Influencers
Track which influencers bring the most traffic to your website.
Find out where your referrals come from.
Distinguish between entry points (for example profile biography and posts)
See which users opened your link
Test different banner ads you’re using
A last piece of advice
If you are posting the URL including UTM parameters in a text post for example, we recommend using URL shorteners like Bitly.
This will shorten your URL significantly while still applying your UTM tracking to the link.
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