How to Use UTM Codes


WHY DO YOU NEED TO INCORPORATE UTM CODES INTO YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY?

Most social media marketers are already riding on the Google Analytics bandwagon, but not everyone is correctly tagging and tracking their links using UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters. If you learn how UTM codes work, and create a plan to use them in your link strategy, they will help you answer key business questions such as:

  1. Are my social media efforts actually driving revenue? How much?
  2. Which marketing channels should we invest in?
As a reminder, you’ll need to have Google Analytics set up for your domain in order to leverage UTM codes. If you’re not sure how to do that, read this article for more details.


WHAT ARE UTM CODES?

UTM codes are tags you append to the end of a destination URL so that you can track clicks on that link through Google Analytics. By attaching three main tags, you answer key questions about your traffic:
  1. Source: Where is my traffic coming from? Source tells you where exactly your traffic is coming from. Perhaps Facebook paid advertising is driving it, or maybe it’s organic posts from Instagram. Ex: utm_source=instagram_organic
  2. Medium: How is it getting here? This is the big-picture origin of your traffic. Is it coming in via social media, or perhaps via print advertisement? Ex: utm_medium=social
  3. Campaign Name: Why is it coming here? Campaign is the most subjective of the tags and will vary according to your social media strategy. Use it to tie traffic back to specific campaigns and business efforts. Ex: utm_campaign=holidaysale
There are two additional optional UTM parameters that can deepen your insight.
 
Campaign Term: What keyword are you using?  Ex: utm_term=running+shoes

Campaign Content: What type of paid advertisement did someone click? Ex: utm_content=logolink

 

BEST PRACTICES FOR USING UTM CODES

  1. No more ugly links. When you append UTM parameters to a URL, you're left with a link that’ll make you cringe, and that’s where BudURL likes to step in and make it look pretty for your customers. When you build UTM codes through BudURL, your links are shortened automatically so you can cut out the extra step of copying and pasting your long URL into a separate tool to shorten it.
  2. Security is key. If you’re using UTM codes but not shortening your links, you’re giving customers (and competitors) a glimpse at your social media strategy by sharing information about your traffic. When you create links through BudURL, you have the option to keep this campaign information private. Learn more about creating masked links here.
  3. Data drives us. As a data-driven company, we care about where your traffic is coming from, and where it’s going. UTM codes help us track the source of your traffic and lend valuable insight into your social media strategy. 
  4. Add a value to it. Use BudURL's conversion tracking feature in tandem with UTM codes to reveal ROI without extra number crunching. For example, each time someone clicks on your Facebook ad for a pair of running shoes and then purchases the shoes on your landing page, we’ll show you ROI immediately in the universal language of $. It’s the easiest way to see which links are making you the most moolah.
  5. Auto-tagging. If you forget a tag, we can help. Or get alerted if someone on your team creates a link that isn’t tagged properly.

 

HOW DOES THIS TRANSLATE INTO A REAL CAMPAIGN?

Let’s walk through an example. Imagine you are working for a retailer selling running shoes as part of a holiday campaign. You’re using paid Facebook ads, and organic posts to Instagram to drive traffic to the landing page selling your shoes. You need to start both these campaigns at the same time, and you want to see which is showing the most ROI. It’s time for UTM codes to come to the rescue!
 
The landing page you want people to visit is: http://www.asics.com/us/en-us/gel-kayano-23/p/0010266036.9320. 
 
Before you share that lovely link via social media, you’ll want to attach UTM parameters to it for tracking. You can do this manually, or you can use a tool like BudURL’s URL builder. The URL builder eliminates the need to keep track of long URLs with UTM tags in a spreadsheet, because you can attach them directly to the link within the tool. 
 
The raw links with the UTM tags will look something like this:
 
Paid Facebook Ads:
http://www.asics.com/us/en-us/gel-kayano-23/p/0010266036.9320/?utm_source=facebook_paid/?utm_medium=social/?utm_campaign=holidaysale/?utm_term=running+shoes/?utm_content=logolink
 
Organic Instagram Posts:
http://www.asics.com/us/en-us/gel-kayano-23/p/0010266036.9320/?utm_source=instagram_organic/?utm_medium=social/?utm_campaign=holidaysale/?utm_term=running+shoes/?utm_content=logolink
 
If you use the URL builder, you can simply click on each appropriate tag, and your link will be generated automatically, and then shortened using your custom BudURL domain.
 
url-builder.png
 
In the end, your link for the Facebook paid ads looks like this: http://asi.cs/a94q
and your organic Instagram post link looks like this: http://asi.cs/k2kc

Post those links to Facebook and Instagram either directly or through a smart social platform like Spredfast, and then sit back while the clicks roll in. You can watch your progress in Google Analytics and BudURL.

If you’re interested in using UTM codes but still have questions, let us know in the comments or click below to schedule a consult with our client success team:
 
Let's Talk


 

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