One of the most important elements to measuring a digital campaign’s success is getting an accurate read on the behaviors of your audience. Did they open the email? Have they clicked the link? Were they interested in learning more about your organization? You can easily track many of these questions through a CMS system. But some indicators can be a little more difficult to assess, and that’s where UTM tracking comes in. We’re going to dissect how these snippets of code can have a significant impact on your digital marketing strategy and overall business.
1. What is UTM tracking?
First things first, let’s lay the foundation to answer the initial question on your mind, “What is UTM tracking?”
Simply put, UTM tracking is a way of using code to trace behaviors to campaigns or campaign elements. These custom snippets of code attached to URLs (or links) can help you pair traffic volume to a source. When generated, this code snippet often looks like a long link of random information strung together—but each element serves a purpose.
When it comes to building a UTM code, there are five main parameters that can help you designate where your incoming traffic or conversions came from:
- Campaign Source (utm_source): This parameter represents your campaign’s primary channel or outlet, i.e., a social media platform like Facebook or a partner website.
- Campaign Name (utm_campaign): This parameter will help you identify which campaign a UTM code is tied to. For example, when running a buy-one-get-one-free shoe promotion, you can use the designation “bogo.”
- Campaign Medium (utm_medium): This represents campaign execution, i.e., via paid social media campaigns or an email newsletter.
- Campaign Term (utm_term): The parameter stores relevant keywords related to paid search campaigns that may drive traffic.
- Campaign Content (utm_content): This code helps you further designate a specific element of your campaign and can come in handy when separating content for A/B testing.
All these details are compiled into a long URL, which you can condense for easy access and sharing. More often than not, one campaign may have multiple UTM codes, depending on the number of elements within your strategy. For example, to separate social media traffic from paid search traffic, you can use a separate (yet similar) code for each respective space.
2. How does UTM tracking work together with Google Ads?
Many digital strategists leverage Google Ads to help drive traffic to their website. At any given time, a company may have upward of 30 or more ads in circulation. To help you understand what conversions those ads produce, you can leverage UTM tracking to monitor things like website purchases, sign-ups, phone calls and downloads. In addition, Google’s auto-tagging feature can help automate some of the manual processes of UTM tracking.
3. Where does UTM tracking have an impact on conversion?
To understand the impact that UTM tracking has on your business, it’s important to differentiate between online and offline leads. Online leads consist of downloads, subscriptions, sign-ups and any variety of digital outreach. Offline leads, however, constitute “in-person” behaviors like phone calls or purchases.
Leads from offline interactions often produce the highest rate of conversion success but are typically the most difficult to land. This is why it’s critical that you have a way of measuring which digital campaigns are driving offline conversions so you can pivot your strategy accordingly.
Let’s go back to the shoe sale example. Say you want to measure how many purchases come from your digital campaign but aren’t sure how to measure that volume. By adding unique UTM codes to your social media content, email marketing and paid search ads, you’ll be able to track when one of the users from that campaign arrives at your website and purchases a pair of shoes. Conversely, for customers who don’t have an associated UTM code, you could attribute those to offline conversions.
Keep in mind, you don’t want to create too many codes and overwhelm yourself with data—if you keep your links organized, you’ll be able to monitor trends and information over time.
Get Started with UTM Tracking
The process of planning, generating and implementing UTM tracking can feel overwhelming — it’s okay if it’s not “clicking” yet. But this tactic can provide integral insights into the success of your digital marketing strategies, and where you’re gaining offline conversions. Ultimately, helping you shape all future marketing operations.
Remember, the world of UTM tracking isn’t for inexperienced marketers, it takes expertise, technical knowledge and patience. Our team of PPC and SEO experts at 10x digital can help you determine where you need to improve your campaign behavior tracking and how you can implement a robust UTM system to do it.