How to use UTM Codes to assess your campaigns

 
UTM stood for the Urchin Traffic Monitor, which was part of a software called “Urchin WebAnalytics Software” released in 1998. Google eventually purchased its technology in 2005 and sold the software for almost seven years until it was discontinued in March 28, 2012. Although it’s no longer selling, Google continues to use its URL conventions in its own analytics software to create campaigns, hence the “utm” in “utm_source” and many other variables. Simply put, the “utm” variables are tracking mechanisms that help companies gauge on how successful their campaigns are.

Let’s look at an example link,  which contains many UTM variables after the question mark “?”:

http://www.yourwebsite.com/?utm_source=offline&utm_medium=webkey&utm_campaign=new_product_launch

(* NOTE: No worries about the 192-character limit, by the URL length requirement from webkey chip by Bonpal Technology company. Use free but very powerful URL shortener service like Goo.gl or Bit.ly to handle it.)

UTM Parameters

UTM parameters or Urchin Traffic Monitor parameters (UTM) are URL parameters used by marketers to track audiences. The parameters enable marketers to analyse the effectiveness of marketing campaigns across traffic sources and publishing media.

By adding UTM parameters to URLs, web analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics) reports show which domain source and which campaign name is referring traffic to a website. When a person clicks a link that contains a URL with UTM parameters, the web analytics software of the destination website interprets the parameter information and attributes it to the person’s website session.

There are five different UTM parameters, which may be used in any order:

1. The “utm_source” parameter (required) identifies which site sent the traffic, and is a required parameter.
Example: utm_source=offline

2. The “utm_medium” parameter (required) identifies what type of link was used, such as cost per click or email.
Example: utm_medium=webkey

3. The “utm_campaign” parameter (required) identifies a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.
Example: utm_campaign=new_product_launch

4. The “utm_term” parameter (optional) identifies search terms.
Example: utm_term=webkey+campaign

5. The “utm_content” parameter (optional) identifies what specifically was clicked to bring the user to the site, such as a banner ad or a text link. It is used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads.
Examples: utm_content=logolink or utm_content=textlink

Want to form such customized links? Visit simple guide page from Google’s Campaign URL Builder, or read below articles for details.

Reference Articles

What Is a UTM Code? – https://blog.bufferapp.com/utm-guide
UTM parameters – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UTM_parameters
The Beginner’s Guide to URL Shorteners – https://blog.bufferapp.com/url-shorteners
Custom campaigns – Google Analytics Help – https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033863
Campaign URL Builder – Google Analytics Demos & Tools – https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/