By: Austin Dicharry
Urchin Traffic Monitors (or Modules) are short, coded text snippets attached to the end of URLs that tracks the success of a marketing strategy. An example of a URL containing a UTM code is provided by a HubSpot article: http://blog.hubspot.com/9-reasons-you-cant-resist-list?utm_campaign?=blogpost &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook (UTM is bolded).
The “source” is the location of where links are hosted, the “medium” is the link’s mode of delivery (could be anything from email to a postcard) and the “campaign” describes how you are promoting something (a seasonal sale or special discount offer) or what you are promoting.
UTM parameters help determine whether a marketing strategy is successful and exactly which techniques contribute to to that success. If you decide to incorporate social media in a marketing campaign, you could tag links to your company’s website incorporated in your profile that highlight links as part of a company’s profile. Then, you could tag URLs incorporated in your posts with different UTM parameters.
Tagging advertisements and banners placed on other websites with UTM parameters facilitates monitoring which sites are attracting the most traffic. UTMs also reveals the efficacy of variables such as design, placement and size of advertisements/banners, further enhancing your ability to make the most of a marketing campaign.
An analytic program like Google Analytics evaluate UTM code to assist you in determining how effective marketing campaigns are and whether you should continue using them. One common use of UTM is to devise a vanity URL for any offline campaigns you are running and redirect these vanity URLs to a forwarding address, which typically a primary domain name.
Once you have the values you want to include in a URL, Google’s URL Builder generates the URL and UTM code for you. A great thing about UTM codes is that they can be changed anytime they need changed to adjust to rapidly evolving marketing campaign results. Be aware that UTMs are case sensitive so if you tag several URLs with similar codes but capitalize one word in one URL, the uncapitalized URL appears as two different campaigns in Google Analytics.
Custom Campaign Parameters
Google Analytics also provides instructions for creating Custom Campaign Parameters that keep track of multiple campaigns by integrating five different parameters within a UTM code. Thses parameters include the source of the traffic being sent; the medium (newsletter, email, banner); the campaign’s promo code, slogan, name, etc.; content type (to show the success of different forms of content); and terms (identification of paid search keywords).
Using UTM codes is an invaluable tool to track the success of online or offline marketing campaigns that focuses on what works and what does not work. Consequently, it’s ability to provide detailed information regarding the metrics of an advertising strategy can minimize costs, reduce time spent on stagnant campaigns and elevate your company’s ability to implement highly successful advertising campaigns when needed.