A Beginner’s Guide To UTM Codes

For brands looking to track and understand every step of a customer’s online journey, getting familiar with the concept of UTM codes and how they work is a must.


As the saying goes, what gets measured gets managed. Unfortunately, too many businesses get caught up in content production, and forget about checking in with campaigns to see how they are performing. The simple fact of the matter is that without taking the time to analyse, your brand’s marketing efforts could be falling flat and providing a very poor return on investment.

Any industry professional in the world of digital marketing will happily tell you that knowledge is power. However, digging for the right types of metrics and streamlining data processing has never been easier. You can track it all, and you can track it for free – as far as tools go, all you need is access to Google Analytics and a handful of UTM codes. 

Understanding How Online UTM Codes Work 

For the unfamiliar, UTM codes – otherwise known as Urchin Tracking Module codes or tracking tags – are tiny snippets of text added to the end of a URL. In fact, you’ve probably seen them countless times without realising what they are, or the role they perform. 

For brand owners and digital marketing wizards, UTM codes provide a way to track where a website’s traffic comes from in the event that a user clicks a specific link. Marketers customise this text to match the webpage this URL is linked to, all as a means to attribute the success of that campaign to specific pieces of content. 

In a nutshell, UTM codes give credit where credit is due. Although not often required for all traffic sources, some of their most popular uses include the following examples – 

Paid Campaigns – Campaign-based tracking tags group all of the content from one campaign in your analytics. As an example, the specific UTM code outlined below would help a brand to attribute website traffic to links that were placed as a part of a 20% discount promotion across a variety of platforms. 

Example: utm_campaign=20percentpromocode

Source – In order to understand where your clicks are coming from and how they found you, a source-based URL code can tell you all this and more. As a popular means to measure your efforts from the many social media platforms out there, one such example would be to add the following UTM code to track any inbound traffic from your brand’s Facebook page. 

Example: utm_source=Facebook

Unique Content – If you have a banger of a blog and want to track its clicks no matter its source or medium, this type of UTM code is often used in pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns or with two identical links on the same page, as shown in the sample UTM code below.

Example: utm_content=sidebarlink or utm_content=headerlink

The easiest way to start building your own UTM codes can be done in the back end of your brand’s Google Suite. The Google URL Builder is very straightforward to navigate for beginners, and all you need is your website address and a source, with the rest of the parameters being entirely optional. 

For newbies to the UTM codes arena, setting these up should be all about asking where traffic is coming from, how traffic is coming to you, and why you’re getting the clicks in the first place. Once you have that information, it will ultimately allow you to plug any holes in your website, identify what’s working well and what to focus on, and to ultimately help you create better content and lead generation. 

The Key To Good Marketing Is Great Content

Producing quality, consistent and on brand content takes time, effort, experience and resources, but avoiding these responsibilities altogether may actually be doing your brand a disservice. Thankfully, investing in a solid content marketing strategy has actually never been easier. 

Here at Content Hive, producing top quality digital content is exactly what we do best. We have itemised a list of digital content services, and allocated credits next to each of these. This means that each month, you can use your credits with us to produce digital content such as blog articles, social media posts, videos and even animated Instagram stories. By using this model, we believe that it enables us to produce high quality content with faster delivery times.

If you aren’t quite sure where to start on your digital marketing journey and would like to speak to a professional, why not book in a free discovery call with us at Content Hive today to discuss how we can get your brand buzzing online.

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