First of all, what the heck does UTM even mean?! UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module”. Before there was Google Analytics there was Urchin, which Google purchased. UTM is a (usually) short snippet you can attach to any
URL and then track specifically how it performs.
UTM tags traditionally have three components (these are required):
utm_source – where the clicks/visitors are coming from
utm_medium – what method is being used? Email? Social? CPC?
utm_campaign – the name of the campaign
For instance, if you’re doing an email campaign the utm tagging on the URLs would be:
This would tell you how many people clicked on that URL in this email campaign.
The other two are:
utm_term – most often used for cpc, this defines the keyword/product in the ad.
utm_content – used for testing different ads and link placement within content (i.g. body, footer)
Don’t feel like typing all this out yourself? Google has a nifty tool you can use called “Campaign URL Builder”. Simply add in the information you need and it will create the UTM snippet for you:
Keep in mind this will create one UTM code at a time. So you can either copy and paste each URL you wish to track in the “Website URL” section and then copy and paste the output; or you can just copy the UTM snippet it and copy to the end of the links you wish to track.
While this tool doesn’t require the medium or name to be added, it’s a good idea to add it so you keep each one you create unique for reporting purposes.
Okay, my tracking is in place. Now what?
Head over to Google Analytics and click on the campaign section. If you’ve used the tagging properly you’ll see the names of all the campaigns you’ve used populate to in the section to the right:
Going to each one of these would tell you where the users came from, how long they stayed, if they were a new user or not and more importantly if they completed a goal on your site.
Tweeting a blog post you just wrote? Use UTM tagging.
This will let you measure how successful published articles do on what social networks.
Sending out a newsletter to subscribers? Use UTM tagging.
Are users clicking on your links? Are they forwarding them? This can help answer those questions.
Spending money on paid ads online? Use UTM tagging.
Adwords had a good reporting tool, but using UTM tagging can take your analysis to the next level. Spend money wiser with the information you’ll be able to obtain from these efforts.