What are UTM links?
A UTM link is a type of URL that uses a specific tracking code to track the source of website traffic. They are used to track and analyze the performance of digital campaigns, such as what page the user was referred from and what keywords were used to get there. Some of the most common uses for UTM links include newsletters, ads, and social media posts
"UTM" stands for Urchin Tracking Module, a software originally developed by Urchin Software Corporation in the late 1990s that would later be acquired by Google in 2005 and become a core component of Google Analytics.
Why use UTM links?
Overall, UTM links are an extremely valuable tool for website owners and marketers who are looking to gain insight into what is driving their visitors and what marketing strategies produce the best results. They allow for a convenient and clear way to measure and evaluate the performance of individual campaigns, enabling them to make better decisions when it comes to what needs improvement and where they should be better focusing their efforts.
Furthermore, they provide valuable insights into visitor behavior, allowing marketing campaign managers to better understand their customers in order to target them more effectively.
UTM links can also be used for A/B testing and split testing, enabling marketers to quickly understand what is working and what needs to be improved with clear data for insights.
You may also be interested in
UTM links versus UTM parameters
UTM parameters are the actual snippets of code added to a URL to track different elements of a campaign, whereas UTM links are the result of adding those parameters.
Each UTM parameter consists of five values, which can be customized based on the specific marketing campaign and the data that needs to be tracked for insights:
Campaign source is what identifies what ad or initiative the traffic was driven from (e.g. Google AdWords, an email campaign, etc.)
Medium is what describes what type of traffic was generated (organic search, paid search, etc.).
Name is what identifies what specific ad or initiative the traffic came from.
Content allows website owners to differentiate ads that are part of the same campaign.
Term is what allows website owners to track what keyword searches drove the traffic.
Here’s an example of UTM link with its parameters:
In this example, the UTM parameters are:
utm_source: The source of the traffic, in this case "facebook".
utm_medium: The type of marketing channel, in this case "social".
utm_campaign: The name of the specific campaign, in this case "january_sale".
UTM link best practices
When setting up UTM links with parameters, it’s important to follow best practices in order to get the most out of the campaign and the tracking of it.
Here are a few tips to create highly effective UTM links:
Identify which kind of data to track, and how the information collected will be used.
Define the parameters needed to add to the UTM link to capture all relevant data.
Use descriptive names that are easy to recognize and accurately reflect what the link is associated with.
Ensure all URLs have unique tracking parameters.
Keep UTM parameters as short and concise as possible by avoiding extra words, special characters or unnecessary information.
Avoid spaces in the URL as well, as it can cause errors in tracking.
Use consistent parameters across all UTM links in the same campaign in order to compile accurate data.
Tag URLs across all campaigns to ensure data from multiple platforms can be integrated into a single analysis.
Test links before implementing them to ensure the parameters are being triggered in the right places for the correct data collection.
Regularly evaluate and analyze the performance of UTM links, draw insights and use these to better optimize your campaigns.