Published: June 21, 2019
Do you ever wonder how you can attribute website visits and actions on your site to individual marketing efforts? You may be in need of an Urchin Tracking Module (UTM)! While it sounds like a funny scuba diving apparatus, a UTM simply stands for the parameters that are added to links for tracking purposes.
Why UTM Tracking?
By adding UTM parameters, you are able to better sort and compare website traffic in Google Analytics or other analytics tools and answer questions like:
- Which social media channels drive the most traffic to my blog?
- What medium leads to more website form fills: email newsletters or search advertising?
- How many visits came from a particular campaign across digital marketing tactics?
Without UTM tracking, you really limit your ability to credit your efforts, break down which content and platforms were most successful in driving visits to your site, and optimize for conversions. You may find that a particular topic or campaign performs amazingly well in Facebook, but flops on LinkedIn, while another topic gets great engagement on Instagram but doesn’t resonate with your email marketing audience. All of this information is valuable for focusing your time and money on avenues that are most fruitful for your business.
How Does It Work?
Adding UTM parameters to a link is actually pretty easy. You simply put your link into a URL builder with a few parameters and it generates a long link with all the tracking. This long link then “talks to” analytics tools and the UTM parameters help sort traffic by source, medium, campaign and more.
A link with UTM tracking added might look like this: https://learn.envano.com/?utm_campaign=2020workshops&utm_source=envano.com&utm_medium=blogpost&utm_content=utmtracking.
In this instance, the original link is https://learn.envano.com. Everything we want to track (the campaign name, source, etc.) is added after the question mark using a UTM builder.
Remember to create a different UTM link for each source and medium to validate efforts. If that seems daunting, start by adding tracking to paid advertising links to make sure you are able to analyze efforts for return on investment.
How to create a UTM link:
1. Visit the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder.
2. Enter the following website URL and campaign information:
- Website URL — This is the full link that you’ll be using.
- Campaign Source — This is the platform or website the link will be posted on.
- Example: facebook.com, twitter.com, linkedin.com
- Campaign Medium — This is the medium, or delivery method, in which the link will be shared.
- Example: email, facebookpost, facebookad, twitterpost, linkedinpost, text
- Campaign Name — A campaign name can be specific to just one social media post or it can be used across multiple channels to group campaign metrics together in analytics.
- For example, envanowebinars2019 can be used for all social media posts, emails and advertising for general links about Envano webinars in 2019. If Envano had one post specific to a webinar about analytics in October, we would use a more specific campaign name like octoberanalyticswebinar for that single post.
- If a campaign link is being shared across many different channels, be sure to make a new link with UTM parameters for each different campaign source and medium. Though they may have the same campaign name, a Facebook post will have different source and medium parameters than an email.
- Campaign Term/Content — Generally, these fields are only needed in specific cases, like links that are unique to paid search keywords or ad content like an A/B test. This field can also be used to make the UTM unique if source, medium and name share the same values as another UTM link.
3. A long link with the UTM parameters added will automatically generate below the campaign information.
Pro Tip: If you’re like “man, UTM tracking just makes that link too long,” visit Bitly or another URL shortener to shorten the UTM link. Links should always have UTM parameters added, but shortening the link using Bitly can make it suitable for posting on social media and other places where the long UTM may be obnoxious.
Ready to start validating and attributing your marketing efforts with UTM tracking? Let’s chat!