As you create your marketing budget, it can be extremely difficult to determine which campaigns offer the biggest return on your investment. Luckily, when it comes to online marketing, there are tools at your disposal that can help you pinpoint how individual ads are performing.

Just don’t use UTM Codes to track URLs within your own site. They are meant to track incoming traffic to your site. Using them from Page A to Page B on your site will cause a new analytics session to be tracked and you’ll get a disconnect from what was happening before.

Let’s dive in.

UTM Codes Let You Group Campaigns & Track Individual Ads

Woman shopping online at home
With UTM codes, you can track a visitor from precisely where they clicked to your site all the way through the conversion process.

Traditional Google Analytics gives you a broad overview of your website’s performance. But it doesn’t inherently track how traffic from unique outside sources interacts with your site. This is where UTM codes come in.

UTM codes can be attached to a custom URL, enabling Google Analytics to determine where users come from.

Take Facebook for example. With UTM codes you not only can pinpoint how different ad campaigns are performing, you also have the ability to determine which individual ads drive action on your web site. This means you can see:

  • Which Facebook campaigns drive the most traffic to your site

  • Which specific ad generates the most sales

  • How engagement levels correlate to newsletter signups

  • What type of updates encourage the highest level of site engagement

Setup Conversions for Increased Accuracy

It’s worth noting that for the data collected from UTM codes to be as effective as possible, you’ll want to set up Conversion Tracking. Conversion Tracking within Google Analytics allows you to set specific events as goals, such as newsletter signs up or purchases. We’ll discuss this more in a future blog post.

How UTM Codes Work

Business People Watching a Presentation on a Whiteboard
By tracking individuals throughout the entire process, your marketing team can keep using the ads that are working and tweak those that need some work.

The UTM codes attached to a link are determined by UTM parameters.

Of note: since these codes will be part of a URL, be mindful of what characters you use so you do not break it. Using a UTM Code builder makes this a non-issue – more on that later.

UTM parameters can include:

Campaign Source

This is the one UTM parameter that’s required. All others are optional. It could be something as simple as ‘facebook.’ However, it could also be more detailed such as ‘facebook-marketing-group.’

This allows you to see the exact source of your traffic quickly. Generally speaking, ‘facebook’, ‘google’, or ‘newsletter’ works for most cases. You can add more specifics with additional codes.

Campaign Medium

Medium refers to the type of traffic you are getting. Generally, this would be:

  • cpc

  • email

  • banner

  • instagram-stories

Campaign Name

The ‘campaign name’ is the third most common UTM parameter. It typically refers to whatever you’re promoting, such as an upcoming concert, holiday sale or product.

Make it easily identifiable like: ‘Concert 4/2019 Retargeting.’ The use of the slash in the Campaign Name is another example of how using Google’s UTM code is an advantage, because it will ensure characters like a ‘/’ get encoded correctly.

Let’s break it down. This is the URL for this post:


This is the URL for this post that will be shared on our Facebook page and boosted:

UTM code example

Depending on the campaign we’re posting, we may also define the ‘Campaign Term’ and ‘Campaign Content.’ Both of these sections can help you further segregate individual ads and/or postings.

‘Campaign Content’ is very helpful to use when you are running ad variants. Use it to identity Ad 1 vs Ad 2 by a short description. This way you can see what campaigns and ads show engagement full-circle from Facebook and Google Analytics.

Use a UTM Code Builder like Google’s

There are a variety of ways to create your UTM codes, but we’re partial to Google’s UTM Code Builder. Not only is it free and easy to use, it’s also developed by Google. This helps ensure that any UTM codes created meet Google’s requirements.

Use a UTM Code Spreadsheet

young business woman working
Keeping track of your UTM codes on a spreadsheet allows you to easily sort and organize your ads.

Google Sheets (and GSuite in general) is your friend. Make a spreadsheet, star it, and use it.

Now that you have your URL tagged, save it to a spreadsheet. Why? So you can re-use it later. This keeps your URLs organized, helps you maintain a consistent naming structure appropriate to your business, and lets you keep track of what you have used.

You’ll probably want to re-share a page on twitter, and if it makes sense to use the same tags, then you’ll have them. Or, you’ll know what tags to update based on the context of where and what you’re sharing.

How to Monitor Your UTM Tracking Links

You can easily view how your UTM tracking links are performing through your Google Analytics account. Simply log into Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition -> Campaigns -> All Campaigns.

Click on the desired campaign to view how different parameters within that campaign are performing:

‘Campaigns’ refers to the ‘Campaign Name’ ‘Source’ refers to the ‘Campaign Source’ ‘Medium’ refers to the ‘Campaign Medium’ ‘Ad Content’ refers to the ‘Campaign Content’ ‘Keyword’ refers to the ‘Campaign Term’

Need Help Creating UTM Codes and Managing Your Digital Campaigns?

Our digital marketing team is highly skilled at developing, launching, and monitoring online marketing campaigns. We regularly help businesses strategically maximize their marketing budget.

Let’s talk about how to help you increase your sales.

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