A UTM tracking code is a snippet of code that is appended to a URL in order to accurately attribute actions or views to a specific campaign in your Analytics. This helps you to identify and measure the success of a campaign regardless of the traffic source.
You can create a unique tracking URL for every advert, link or campaign, depending on your personal preference and reporting requirements.
Top Reasons to use UTM tracking codes
Using UTM codes in your campaigns and links should help you answer some basic questions about your web traffic:
- Where is the traffic coming from?
- How is it getting to me?
- Why is it coming to me?
In essence, UTM tracking codes help you understand where your traffic is coming from.
Components of a UTM tracking code
A UTM code works by using three (or four) elements to help identify traffic:
- Content (optional)
Example UTM code:
In the URL above you can see the “utm_” snippets? That’s where we’ve essentially labelled the traffic that comes from this link.
Google provide a free unique UTM campaign URL builder, available here.
- A website or blog.
- Google Analytics Implemented.
- Basic understanding of advertising.
Follow the steps below to create your first UTM tracking code.
First ensure you have Google Analytics set-up on your website or blog, if you haven’t set-up Google Analytics then follow the instructions available here.
Next use Google’s free UTM campaign URL builder to create trackable URL’s for your ads.
Input your website URL, this should include your site prefix (e.g. https://www.example.com).
Note: It is important to include the site prefix (https or http) to limit referral data discrepancies.
Set your Campaign Source (utm_source), this should be the publisher, provider or site your adverts will appear on.
Include your campaign medium (utm_medium), this is the method or type of advertising your campaign will be using (e.g. display, cpc, email, banner)
Enter your campaign name (utm_campaign), this should be unique and describe your campaign in a few words (e.g. feb_valentines_18).
(optional) If you are using Google AdWords or Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, you can enter the keywords you are targeting with this campaign in Campaign Term (utm_term).
(optional) Those who have multiple creatives or want to distinguish between ad formats can use Campaign Content (utm_content), this allows you to input keywords to differentiate between ads (e.g. 300x250_52931, logo_link, text_link).
This can also be used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.
Use the campaign URL generated by Google’s campaign URL builder in your advertising campaign, this should be your click through URL.
Its recommended that you create unique tracking URL’s for each campaign you intend to run. Those wanting more in-depth reports can create unique tracking URLs for each creative, ad format using Campaign Content.
Tracking UTM tracking codes in Google Analytics
Google Analytics will automatically detect UTM tracking codes and aggregate these together under “Acquisition > Campaigns” in Google Analytics, this should allow you to measure the success of a campaign and make informed decisions.
I highly recommended that you set up campaign goals in Google Analytics, this can help you track conversions in addition to campaign clicks.