Using UTM Codes to Track Your Marketing Efforts
When you sit down to create a marketing campaign, either through email or on social media, you can just paste the link that you want to direct traffic to and call it a day. This is a valid method of driving traffic and conversions, but the problem with it is that you’ll be relying on the platform’s tracking mechanisms to give you any useful data about the click-throughs and success of your posts. This is where UTMs come into play. Let’s take a look at what UTMs are, what they’re used for, how to use them, and how to track them.
What Is a UTM?
Short for “urchin tracking module,” a UTM is a tiny snippet of code-like text that is placed at the very end of a URL (website address) that you are directing viewers to.
An example of a UTM code might be:
The first part of the code “?” indicates that there will be a query for the traffic source, defined by three categories: the campaign name, the medium (in this case, social media), and the source social media platform. This code, for each click by a viewer, will count one view under the campaign name provided.
What Are UTMs Used for?
UTMs are commonly used in marketing strategies within emails or social media posts to help the company gather data on the effectiveness of different campaigns and data streams. When you need to determine the effectiveness of a social media marketing campaign (or an email campaign), UTMs can be an invaluable tool.
How Do I Use UTMs for Marketing?
UTMs are pretty straightforward once you understand the underlying concept, but there are definitely some best practices that you can employ when you use these analytics “boosters.” Let’s take a look at these:
- Keep everything concise when possible. For example, use CAN for campaigns in Canada rather than spelling out the whole country in your text code.
- Stay consistent with your formats and keys. UTM codes are case-sensitive.
- If you have a marketing team, make code lists available to the entire team. If a code exists already, make sure it gets used where appropriate, rather than creating one that diverts valuable data.
- Don’t forget to connect your UTMs to an analytics tool; otherwise, your time is wasted.
How Do I Track My UTMs?
As mentioned above, you have to track your UTMs through an analytics tool. Which tool you choose is up to you, but they all function very similarly. Make sure you like a tool before committing to it, because you may lose valuable tracking history if you switch tools in the middle of a campaign.
If, on the other hand, you don’t think this is your cup of tea, you may be better suited to hiring the services of a marketing agency. Depending on how much time and how many resources you are able to dedicate to marketing, it may be more cost-effective to involve an outside party. The choice is up to you, and you have several options at your disposal. The most important part, however, is to do something to market your brand, even if you aren’t ready to get into UTMs just yet.