Introduction to Creating UTM based URLs

August 14, 2015

With social media playing a big role in information sharing, one can share any link on social media with the click of a button. The amount of traffic generated through social media is enormous thereby making it quite a difficult task to monitor the traffic from different social media platforms. But, UTMs make it convenient and easy for you, as a digital marketer to categorize the traffic from different sources and subsequently analyse this data.

If you wish to understand the concept of UTMs and how they ease your work of monitoring traffic from social media, then read on!

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Expansion of UTM

First of all, the abbreviation UTM stands for Urchin Traffic Monitor and is used mainly by Google Analytics. UTM is named Urchin Traffic Monitor because this service was developed by Google using Urchin on Demand. Urchin is a web analysis program developed by Urchin Software Corp which was acquired by Google.

Introduction to UTM

UTM Parameters are simply tags that are added to URLs to help track the source of traffic to a particular website or landing page. Inserting these UTM parameters at the end of the URL of the website whose traffic needs to be tracked is also called campaign tagging. Through campaign tagging, you can obtain any information pertaining to the source of traffic to a particular web page or website and so on. All you need to do to obtain the right information is add the right parameters.  These UTM Parameters help you categorize the different sources from where traffic is generated to your website or a campaign’s landing page, and so on.

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Steps to create a UTM URL

These UTM URLs can be created through the use of the URL Builder ( built by Google Analytics, where there are six parameters of which four are mandatory. The process of campaign tagging generally helps you as a digital marketer, to track all your marketing efforts in a neat and organised manner. The tags or UTM Parameters that are most commonly and frequently used are campaign medium, campaign source and campaign name.

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Step 1 – Insert the website URL

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Step 2 – Fill in the Campaign Source

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Step 3 – Insert the Campaign Medium

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Step 4 – Insert the Campaign Name

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Step 5 – Generate the URL

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Most Commonly Used UTM Tags

Campaign Medium

The campaign medium tag is used to denote, as the name suggests, the medium through which the link will be tracked. For example, if a landing page’s traffic is to be tracked and the link of the landing page is shared through an email campaign, then the medium in this case would be ‘email’. Some of the other mediums that are normally used include cpc (cost per click), banner, affiliate, and many others. Medium is the parameter which denotes the type of advertising or marketing campaign that the URL is used for.

Campaign Source

The next most used UTM parameter is ‘campaign source’. The source is the platform on which a particular URL was shared and from where people land on the URL. These can be social media platforms, other websites on which a particular URL can be shared and so on. The source can say Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and others.

Campaign Name

The third most commonly used UTM parameter would be ‘campaign name’. This is basically the tag that helps you segregate different campaigns and understand the analytics of each. If it is related to a campaign whose crux you do not wish to reveal to the audience, it is absolutely okay to use a pseudo term instead of the actual name of the campaign. This way, you are able to track the analytics of the campaign without the whole world coming to know of it.

Examples of UTM Tagging

Mentioned below are a few examples of how you can use UTM parameters in different ways to understand which medium generates the most amount of traffic to your social media pages, websites, and other digital collateral.

Posts on Social Media Platforms

UTM parameters are commonly used when posting on social media. As a digital marketer, you must have posted quite a few links of blog posts, links to various campaigns and so on, on social media. Using UTM parameters while building these links only makes it easier for you to track the traffic from each social media platform on which you share the links.

QR Codes

QR codes are not used much as part of marketing efforts by companies since they feel it doesn’t generate enough traffic to websites. The reality is totally different. It is easier to track the traffic generated from QR codes if the UTM parameters are used.

Email Signatures

Most employees have a signature appended at the end of their emails with links to various social media pages of your company as well as different sections of your company website. This definitely makes it easier for people to access these pages and increases the traffic on these pages. So, if these signatures are tracked through UTM parameters, it makes it easier to see the effectiveness of inserting links in your email signatures.

3 Most Common Mistakes of UTM Tagging

Lack of consistency in tagging

If you are the sort who uses different terms for the same campaign medium, then, it is a really difficult task to aggregate all the traffic from one source and analyse. For example, if you use newsletter once and email campaign another time for the same medium, then you will end up with data that is difficult to categorize accurately.

Different cases for same tag

When you use a particular case for a tag, stick to it always. If you use upper-case for the email tag, then stick to it. Normally, it is recommended that lower case be used for UTM tagging.

Tagging links within a website

A major mistake marketers commit while using UTM parameters, is appending UTM tags for internal links. By making this mistake, traffic from one section of a website to another gets recorded by Google Analytics. This gives incorrect numbers which will make it difficult for you as a digital marketer to analyse the traffic coming on to a particular website.

This information will give you a reasonable idea of how UTM tagging works and what are the different ways you can use UTM parameters. Understanding the basics of how Google Analytics works and how you can organise the raw data you obtain into manageable chunks of neat data will help you in the long run.

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