One crucial aspect of any successful marketing campaign is the ability to track user activity. Without hard data to track, it’s nearly impossible to measure where your website traffic is coming from and the effectiveness of your campaign. UTM codes solve this problem. UTM parameters, or codes, have one purpose: to track where your website visitor came from. If you’ve ever struggled with measuring the impact of your marketing campaigns, UTM codes will definitely come in handy. In this article, we’re going to explain what UTM codes are and how to use them to track the performance of your website.
What are UTM Codes?
UTM, or Urchin Tracking Module, are snippet codes that are added to the end of any URL and help track where website traffic comes from when a user clicks on the link. The name comes from Urchin Tracker, a web analytics software that serves as a base for Google Analytics. A UTM code looks something like this:
The part that starts after the ‘?’ is the UTM code, and that particular snippet is how it’s able to track the source of the traffic to your page.
The beauty of adding UTM codes is that they are universal. You can use them for any link back to your website such as social media posts, tweets, online ad campaigns, and so on. Adding the UTM codes doesn’t have any impact on your SEO or your actual webpage. It’s simply used as a tracking tool to gauge activity.
What can You Track with UTM Codes?
There are 5 different UTM parameters: Source, Medium, Name, Content, and Term.
1. Traffic Source
The source parameter allows you to track where your traffic originated from and typically looks like this: utm_source. (i.e. “google” or “newsletter”).
The medium parameter tracks what type of traffic the visitor originated from and looks like this: &utm_medium=cpc (i.e. “cpc” or “email”).
The campaign name parameter allows you to track the performance of a specific campaign you created, and looks like this: &utm_campaign= campaign-name (i.e. “product 1” or “service 1”).
The content parameter allows you to track campaigns where multiple links within the same campaign point to the same URL. An example of this would be an email with multiple CTA buttons. The UTM Code will help track which link was clicked, and it typically looks like this: &utm_content=navlink
The term parameter allows you to track which keyword term a website visitor came from (i.e. “plumber” or “pest control”). This parameter is especially useful for paid search ads, and typically looks like this: utm_term
How to Create UTM Codes
Google’s URL Builder provides a quick way to create UTM Codes. To begin, you’ll go to the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder. From there, you’ll need to enter your website URL and campaign information. Once complete, Google will automatically create the full URL with the UTM code for you. It’s that simple.
Once you add UTM codes to your links, you can track the URL performance in Google Analytics by going to the ‘Acquisition’ tab, then ‘Campaigns’, and then ‘All Campaigns’.” You can monitor activity in Google Analytics by each of the 5 parameters and filter website sessions by organic traffic, bounce rate, and so on. This helps to quickly identify how people are finding your website, what your most profitable traffic sources are, and how successful specific marketing campaigns are in attracting website visitors.
The best way to keep your tracking codes organized is to keep them simple. Don’t overcomplicate your UTMs with lengthy campaign names that aren’t easy to read and identify. The fewer campaigns you run simultaneously, the easier it will make to manage.
Using UTM Codes in Your Google Business Profile
With all the call-to-action options your Google Business Profile provides, it only makes sense to track the action visitors take. GBP Insights provides a metric called “visit your website.” However, it falls short by only providing insights to your main website page. It doesn’t tell you the number of people who click through from the different links in your Business Profile, or what they do on your website once they get there. This isn’t helpful if you’re trying to separate out web traffic into people that click through from the regular organic results, and those who arrive from one of the links in GBP.
Adding UTM Codes to your Google Business Profile works just the same as the other campaigns listed above. Simply copy the URL of your GBP and paste it into Google’s URL Builder. UTM codes can be added to any CTA button you have on your Business Profile as long as it links directly back to a page on your website. For example, if you have a “schedule an appointment” option on your GBP, and it links directly to a ‘schedule appointment’ or ‘contact us” URL, then UTM code can be added to this page.
There’s no doubt that UTM codes will add another layer of depth to your website analytics. You’ll be able to dive even further into your campaign and pinpoint website activity from a specific campaign. If you’re interested in setting up UTM Codes to track website performance or need help with your current marketing campaign, please reach out to us for a consultation.