In the world of SEO, SEM, and Analytics, there’s nothing more frustrating than a dark spot in your data—gaps, uncertainties, or any other variable that prevents you from connecting the dots along a consumer’s digital journey.
Luckily, for every problem, there is a solution. Google Analytics has a built-in marketing tool that serves as a flashlight of sorts—helping to shine a light on some of those hard-to-see places.
So, what is a UTM, exactly?
A UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) is a series of extra characters (referred to as “query strings”) that marketers add to URLs. These extra characters, or “parameters,” allow marketers to glean a wealth of information about the person who clicks that link, including where the traffic came from, the type of link clicked (email, cost per click, etc.), the search term used to bring the traffic, and the type of content that brought the traffic (banner ad, hyperlinked text, etc.).
A fully UTM-tagged URL looks something like this:
Why should I use UTMs?
When implemented correctly, UTMs allow you to pull clear insights into how your marketing efforts impact traffic, conversions, and ROI. For example, without a UTM, you may be able to see that Facebook guided a consumer to your site, but with the addition of UTMs, you can zoom out further to see that it was a specific ad on Facebook associated with a specific marketing campaign that drove the traffic, giving you a fuller snapshot of your marketing successes or shortcomings.
Just as importantly, UTMs are are easy to use, require no updates to page code, and do not affect page elements—giving you more information at virtually zero cost. The true value of digital marketing lies in our ability to see a more complete picture and learn audience behaviors in concrete and measurable ways—UTMs are one of the easiest ways for brands to harness that data and use it to guide more impactful marketing strategies. Tune in later this week for a bit more info on how to integrate UTMs into your URLs.