Using UTM Tracking in Your Digital Strategy

UTM Codes are a great way to know where your traffic is coming from, regulate costs, and provide information to your and your marketing team. 

But they can be intimidating if you’re not fluent in some web jargon or internet marketing terms.

Today’s podcast and blog post aim to provide some basic details on how to set up and use UTM codes.

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UTM’s use a few very specific keys to track where a client came from, if money was spent to get them, what keyword generated the click and more. The parameters used to build the UTM are “

  • Landing page URL – This is where you want the visitor to end up. This can be a product, blog post, home page, landing page or anywhere in the website.
  • The click Source (Twitter, Facebook, Google, newsletter link, etc). When planning your UTM the source will be where you plan on posting the UTM.
  • The click Medium (organic, paid, etc) – The medium is how the UTM will be presented to the potential visitor. Is it in a paid Google ad (paid) or a Facebook post (organic)
  • The click Campaign (if used, suggested to use an easy to identify name that’s consistent and changes as seasons, months, etc change)
  • The click Term or keyword(s) – multiple keywords should be separated by ampersands and plus signs.
  • The click Content – Use this to track different types of content that could all be in the same campaign. For example, fall2019 may include paid search, Facebook and a banner ad (video ad, text, static banner, rotating banner, etc)

Potential issues :

  • First of all, no spaces should be in your UTM. This will cause them to be read incorrectly, or possibly even not direct to the right landing page. To separate parameters of the UTM, use “&,=, +, -, _, and even %26 & %20.”
  • Mixing UPPER and lower case information in the UTM. Facebook and facebook are NOT the same thing to Google so they will actually be tracked as two different sources.
  • If you use email newsletter software some of them can add the UTM Medium parameter by default, causing you to double up if you use the the Medium parameter in building your UTM. Check to see if it’s added, and if so, leave it off your UTM that you submit.
  • Confusing how you use the Source and Medium tags – Source is the channel, Medium is the type of marketing.
    • Source : Twitter, Facebook
    • Medium : facebook_post (organic), facebook _cpc (paid)
  • What do the symbols in the UTM mean?
    • Question Mark (?) – This is placed right after the URL to indicate there is more information to be read by Google, the server, or other tracking utilities. There should only be ONE question mark per UTM.
    • Ampersand (&) – Yes, it’s called the ampersand. This will be used to indicate additional parameters after an item is identified. So an (&) will appear between each portion of the UTM.
    • Underscore (_) and Hyphen (- ) – This is used mostly in the parameter identifiers (utm_medium) or to separate items being tracked (facebook-cpc).
    • Plus (+) – Used to separate two or more words. This is used often in keywords.

UTMs can be a very powerful tool to finding out where your traffic is coming from and what marketing mediums are working (and which are not). Creating them can take a little time, but it’s really quite easy.

To create a UTM, use the Google URL Campaign Builder

Or, you can download the spreadsheet I created to build the URL automatically by subscribing to the BeBizzy Break newsletter at the bottom of this page. 

Do you have questions or suggestions regarding UTM’s? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter, or leave me a message the contact us page.

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