Food for thoughtSocial Media

How To Use UTMs

Person typing on a keyboard

Want to find out where your website visitors are coming from? Want to see how well your digital marketing campaign is going? This is where UTM codes come in.

UTM? What’s that?

UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” – and it does exactly what it sounds like. Well, except for the urchin part, which makes it sound like something that marine biologists would put on a fish and not what marketers should put in their digital marketing links.

Enough about sea creatures. What do they really do?

UTM codes allow you to add custom parameters to your links so that you can determine if website visitors clicked through from your email newsletter, Facebook post or Instagram ad. Plus, because you can add the same campaign parameter to multiple links, you can keep an eye on how your campaign is going across all your marketing platforms. Gone are the days when you’d need a custom landing page for every campaign!

Right, so how do I start using them?

So how do you go about adding UTM codes? Here’s a step-by-step for using Google’s own link builder:

  1. Navigate to Google’s Campaign URL builder
  2. Enter the link you’d like your customers to visit under ‘Website URL’
  3. Fill in the name of the platform where the link will display in ‘Campaign Source’
  4. Add in your ‘Campaign Medium’ to give more precise information about the location of the link
  5. Decide on a ‘Campaign Name’ which you will use to track the success of your overall activity
  6. You then have the option to add a ‘Campaign Term’ or ‘Campaign Content’ for more specific tracking

As an example, we’re going to walk you through how we’d set up a custom URL for one of our clients. We will be creating the link for a Facebook ad that promotes their Disney range.

  1. In Google’s Campaign URL builder, we enter this link as the ‘Website URL’: www.halfmoonbayshop.co.uk/collections/disney
  2. We will be using this link on Facebook, so we will enter ‘Facebook’ under ‘Campaign Source’
  3. We’ll want to track if it’s a paid-for or organic post, so we’ll put ‘Ad’ in the ‘Campaign Medium’ box
  4. Our ‘Campaign Name’ will be ‘Disney’ so we can keep track of this post as well as all others in the wider Disney campaign
  5. The unshortened customised link looks like this: www.halfmoonbayshop.co.uk/collections/disney?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Ad&utm_campaign=Disney 

Many social media management platforms will allow you to build custom URLs using UTM codes within their own software. Below you can watch Hootsuite’s guide that goes into detail about customising links in its scheduler.

Want to learn more about tracking your digital marketing success? You can check out our previous blog about why you should use Google Analytics here.