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What is a UTM Code? - Understanding Digital Marketing Tools

Learn all about digital marketing, we have built this glossary to help you understand everything to thrive in online marketing and promoting your website or business.

What is a UTM Code?
UTM codes are specific text strings added to a URL to track important data about website visitors and traffic sources. The information they track can be specific about where the visitors are coming from, which marketing campaign directed them, or which keyword guided them to your website — providing insight into the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing strategies.
The parameters tracked by UTM codes originate from the Urchin Software Corp., a web analytics software that Google acquired and used to create Google Analytics. Hence the name, Urchin Tracking Module code. The purpose is to track the online movements of visitors, primarily for performance analytics and marketing optimization.
UTM codes, effectively used, can be an essential tool for marketers looking for more detailed information on their online traffic and want to make data-based decisions to streamline their marketing strategies. There are five different parameters that marketers can track with UTM, Source, Medium, Campaign, Term, and Content, each providing different insights into your web traffic.
UTM Code's role in digital marketing
In digital marketing, UTM codes play a crucial role in understanding the effectiveness of various marketing efforts. By tracking where web traffic comes from, marketers can evaluate which platforms and strategies are the most successful. Furthermore, they can use this data to hone their campaigns and allocate their budget effectively.
The use of UTM codes equips marketers with the ability to track the success of specific links within a campaign. This visibility allows teams to see what channels (like social media, email marketing, or paid ads) are driving the most traffic, and what campaigns are performing the best. For instance, if a campaign link is shared on both Twitter and Facebook, UTM parameters can specify which network is sending the most traffic.
In a nutshell, given the fluid nature of digital marketing, it’s important to track the efficacy of different strategies. By identifying the source, medium, and campaign details, marketers can gain a better grasp on their user journey. This, in turn, can lead to better user experiences and increased return on marketing investments.
UTM Code examples
For understanding UTM codes better, let’s consider an example: A business decides to run a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook. They want to track the number of clicks generated by each platform. Using UTM codes, they can uniquely identify each source. A sample UTM code may look something like this: www.yoursite.com?utm_source=twitter. The section after the '?' is the UTM code.
In this example, “twitter” is the source of the traffic. You can also add multiple parameters. For example: www.yoursite.com?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialmedia&utm_campaign=spring_sale denotes the medium as 'socialmedia' and the specific campaign as 'spring_sale'.
Overall, using UTM codes in your URL can give you vital information on your marketing strategies. You can understand where your web traffic is coming from, which of your campaigns are successful, and where you need to bolster your efforts. It's an invaluable tool for measuring the success of digital marketing.