Tracking where your website traffic comes from is a wise move for marketers. You should always be looking for windows of opportunity to optimize and leverage new strategies in the mediums that are performing well for you.
But finding the specific nuances of your traffic flow can be tricky if you don't have the tools necessary or know where to look.
One simple and easy-to-use trick is to write UTM codes into your links.
What Is a UTM Code?
In a simple definition, UTM codes (or UTM tags) are a way to track traffic coming to your website from a specific platform.
For example, if you post a link to your site on Facebook, and you include a UTM code, you will be able to track people who clicked on that specific post and how they interacted with your website.
Most people turn to UTM codes to track campaign performance. The code will help differentiate the traffic coming from each source and medium by campaign.
Example of a UTM Code
A generic UTM code looks like the following:
You can sort of read this UTM code like a sentence. In this example with the Bluleadz URL slug page, we’re only tracking people through the set campaign (“Campaign Name”), the source is LinkedIn, and the medium is paid social.
Since we’ve used this UTM code, whenever we look at our reporting platform for that source/medium, we’ll be able to see how that specific campaign performed as opposed to the rest of our paid LinkedIn traffic.
What Do UTM Codes Track?
We've mentioned a couple of ways that UTM codes measure and track different elements, but what do these ideas mean to your business?
Here are the five things you can track with well-written UTM codes:
The source in your code identifies the specific origin of your traffic. Are visitors coming from Google or Facebook? Yelp or Instagram?
You can specify which website you want to track in your UTM code and monitor just how much traffic you're pulling in from LinkedIn, for example.
A medium is the general category, or type, of traffic source, like:
- Social media
This part of the tracking code allows you to identify where the link is featured in and single out specific mediums. For example, a particular UTM code will track traffic coming from email instead of social media.
Tracking specific keywords or terms in your code will help you identify which ones are showing a positive ROI from your PPC ad efforts.
If you're paying for a Google Ads campaign, it'd be a great idea to submit a link that has the keyword you're looking to rank for in the UTM code.
UTM codes tracking specific types of content are used to identify where traffic is stemming from if there's identical links on a single page.
For example, is the link in the navigation bar driving traffic to the page, or is it a different link in the footer of the page?
Tracking campaign traffic through UTM codes allows you to group all of the content from one campaign into one set of analytics. You can pull these metrics from any campaign, from a newsletter to a LinkedIn group.
How to Create a UTM Code: 3 Tools You Can Use
Outside of developers who do this for a living, most people aren't able to write code off the top of their head. But that's ok. We have heroes out there who build tools to bridge the gap.
Here are three great URL building tools that will help you create UTM codes that will help boost your traffic analysis:
1. Google Analytics
Probably the most straightforward of the tools, Google Analytics' Campaign URL Builder gives you specific fields to help break down each part of your URL in an easy-to-swallow way.
Once you've completed all the required fields (and any of the applicable optional ones), a URL will be generated for you that contains the necessary UTM codes.
The great thing about this code is that you can design it to be campaign specific. Also, it's free!
2. Google Play URL Builder
Apps require uniquely built URLs, so Google has introduced a URL builder meant to track app campaign management.
Following similar rules to the Campaign URL Builder, you can have a custom built UTM code in no time. There are certain campaign parameters that you have to stick to, but you can find them detailed above the generator.
3. iOS Campaign Tracking URL Builder
Naturally, the iOS Campaign Builder is a bit different from the other two tools. The fields you have to enter are pretty similar to the Google Play Builder, but there are different rules involved.
In your Google Analytics settings, make sure that your iOS Campaign Tracking is turned on and that your application IDs match.
Once you've checked that your tracking URLs are correct, you should be good to go.
How to Create a UTM Code in HubSpot
If you're a HubSpot user, then you have access to a helpful URL generator as well. Just follow these steps to get your own UTM codes.
1. Go to Your Analytics Tool.
In your Marketing Hub dashboard, look for the "Reports" tab in the navigation bar. Select "Analytics Tools" from the dropdown menu.
2. Open Tracking URL Builder.
Scroll to the bottom of the page to find the "Tracking URL Builder" button on the right side of the page. Select it.
It will open to a new page where, on the right, you'll see an orange "Create Tracking URL" button. Open the builder up by clicking it.
3. Create a Tracking URL.
Fill out the required fields and add any content or term UTM codes you may want to track as well.
Once you hit "Create," HubSpot will log the new UTM code as a new campaign. The link will be ready for use on any webpage that you want to track traffic on.
We recommend using UTM codes for any campaign that you would like to see direct ROI from. They can be very useful, but if overdone or done incorrectly, they can get very confusing in reports.
If you have ever needed to show your boss or a client the importance of your digital marketing efforts with a specific campaign or channel, UTM codes will be extremely useful.
With proper tags, you can track every bit of performance from your desired channel or campaign!