What is a UTM?

Analytics plays a massive role in any digital marketing agency, and any well performing should never rely on “best guesses” but actual data. You should know where every lead and hit to your website comes from and analyse the results in real-time, tweaking and adjusting your strategy as necessary. However, doing this manually would be impossible in a busy organisation, which is where UTM codes give you accurate information with a fraction of the workload. 

What does UTM stand for?

UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” and is code added to the end of your URL, which allows you to track where hits came from. They will tell you if your traffic is coming from PPC campaigns, Facebook ads or email marketing such as newsletters. As the information created is in real-time, you can check the data at any point. It is instrumental when it comes to tracking the success of different strategies or promotions.

UTM information will show in analytic tools like Google Analytics

How do I recognise UTM code?

When you first see UTM code, it can look complex and intimidating, and this is maybe why some marketers don’t adopt it. However, it is broken down into segments after the question mark, as we will demonstrate below:


campaign=social media – this is your campaign, and the analytics are separated into different areas, in this case, “social media”

medium=social – this identifies the medium where the link has been placed, in this case, “social”, but it could also be, for example, “email”

source=facebook – this is the source of the traffic, in this case, “Facebook”, but it could also be, for example, “Twitter” or “Instagram”

Are there different parameters that you can use?

You can use five parameters in your UTM, and along with the three identified above, you can also use “Term” and “Content”. The critical point is that you have set an original URL on your website prior to creating the UTM code; otherwise, you won’t have any trackable data.

How do you start creating UTM code?

Coding is a complex area, but when it comes to creating UTMs, both HubSpot and Google have helpful tools that link perfectly with their existing analytics. Both are incredibly easy to use with an explanation given, so you don’t need to be a coding genius to generate the information and data you are looking for.

Creating UTMs is easy using these tools

If you are already using HubSpot, you can enter the UTM code via the dashboard by selecting “Reports” > “Analytics Tools” > “Tracking URL Builder” > “Create Tracking URL”. Simply enter the attributes of your UTM code and select “create”.

For Google Analytics, it is perhaps even more straightforward. All you need to do is log into your website’s Google Analytics account. Then click “Audience” > “Sources” > “Campaigns”. Google will automatically track the UTM once they have been created.

When should you use UTM tracking codes?

We recommend starting by tracking on a few URLs to familiarise yourself with the process, and you can adopt a trial and error approach. After you know how the UTM codes work, you can apply them to all posts on various social media sites, your PPC campaigns or email campaigns. In fact, whenever you want to know where your traffic is coming from, you can use a UTM.

There are various plugins that attach UTM data on contact forms

Once you become confident, we know that you will gain a better perspective of what types of campaigns are working for your business, and you can adjust your budget accordingly to achieve a better ROI or more qualified leads.

If you’re interested in learning more about UTM tracking, or performance marketing in general, get in touch with the team at Phoenix Media, where our consultations are always free of charge.


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