If you’re not tracking, you’re slacking! So many businesses either don’t have the bandwidth to track their campaigns, or they end up creating so many disparate and confusing referrer and tracking IDs that any sense of tracking structure is loooong gone, making it difficult to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s working – and not working – in driving leads and sales for you.
Y’know what? Google UTM codes…BTW, do we all love Google?!…put control back in marketer’s hands. We’ve been on both sides of this, as many businesses have:
- No Google UTM = setting up subjective, internal referrer ID type reporting that always gets confusing and seldom keeps a consistent format.
- Yes Google UTM = having a consistent, structured way to capture virtually any measurable element of any campaign. So, co-workers come and go? You won’t have one person naming a referrer code after their puppy and another one after their new boyfriend.
It doesn’t really matter what ‘UTM’ stands for, make up your own definition! But here’s What UTM Is:
They are bits of text added to the end of any URL, after the ‘?’ (we’ll show an example below). It’s easy to use, powerful, & it’ll help track and measure any campaign you have, not just Adwords. So, for example you are running a promotion to your own customer list, you can append a UTM to that. If you are running a Facebook campaign, you can append a UTM to that. And of course if you’re running Adwords campaigns, they work pretty slick there too:)
The primary tracking elements include:
- Campaign (utm_campaign): Groups all of the elements from one campaign in your analytics.
- Source (utm_source): Typically where the ad was published such as Mashable, or the network you are running on such as Google
- Medium (utm_medium): The way the ad is delivered, such as an email campaign, display ad, or Facebook post
- Content (utm_content): This can include details such as the specific ad and ad size
- Term (utm_term): This is the paid keyword, such as ‘business dashboards’.
Here’s an example from our friends at Optimizely. This ad has this URL string, including UTM codes:
In this case, the source is Google (display), the medium is Cost Per Click (CPC) (vs. CPM), it’s a remarketing campaign served as a banner ad. Voila! Now they can track the performance of this specific ad on this site, this ad creative across several sites, their CPC vs, other (maybe CPM) efforts, and how well their remarketing ads do versus their reach ads.
Pretty cool, eh? Oh yeah, since these little rascals take up several more characters in your URL use a URL shortener when using on social media.
In an upcoming post we’ll walk you through the steps of how to track UTM codes in Google Analytics!