What is a UTM code and why it is important to track marketing campaigns

Posted on - 1st Feb, 2018 | Posted By - seo-team

What is a UTM code?

It stands for “Urchin tracking module”. The software corporation acquired by Google in 2005 and they laid the groundwork and it is now known as “Google Analytics”.

It is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL to track a campaign name, medium, and source. Google Analytics enables you to easily find where the searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you.

Common Use

  • Create a vanity URL for every offline campaign, then it redirects to the URL that you assign to it
  • It helps you to track how a radio ad, coupon, newspaper ad, etc. is working without the specific landing pages for campaigns
  • Create a separate UTM code for print ads, TV commercials etc.– Helping you to analyse which one is generating more traffic and conversions etc
  • You can track individual names other than source and medium

Also, other values to code the monitor terms that you go after, or even the content that is to be more specific. Paid keyword terms such as,

  • Gym shoes
  • Deep dish pizza Chicago

For content, you can include 2 messages that are the same but with different text to see which one performs better using A/B testing.

If you want to track separately use Google URL Builder – enter these values into parameters – then finally click “generate URL”.

The easy thing is – you can change the code whenever you need you may run something.

Example of UTM code 

UTM code

In Google Analytics – you can track the traffic sources and click on campaigns. In this you can easily see the campaign name and how well that ad or strategy is doing.

3 Questions a UTM link can answer

  • Where the traffic is coming from?
  • How it is getting to me?
  • Why it is coming?

This works fine using 3 elements known as “UTM Parameters” such as,

  • Content (optional)
  • Source
  • Medium
  • Campaign

A UTM tag looks like this

UTM tag

A long string of characters can be scary, so for simple use – use URL generators. These tools do the magic of stringing them together into a good catchy URL. A few top generators are:

  • Buffer in-app link shortener
  • Google’s URL builder
  • Effin Amazing Chrome Extension

UTM parameters tell Google Analytics how to sort the incoming traffic. If you track links across social media, then you will get some interesting information from Google Analytics.

Where you track UTM information in Google Analytics?

  • Find Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source / Medium
  • Acquisition -> Campaigns -> All Campaigns

How to use UTM codes & Parameters in Social Media Links?

We help Google Analytics on how social media traffic is getting to us, by answering 3 questions such as,

  • Where is the traffic coming from?
  • How it is coming here?
  • Why it is?

Social media UTM examples

social media utm

How to use “Source” parameter in social media

  • Add the parameter &utm_source  to your links – then you can track the visits that comes from this link
  • Number of ways we can do this – For example, tweet to your followers about “web design” post that you wrote, just you could answer the question “where is traffic going to come from” – A few ways,
  • From you, the sharer
  • From twitter – The place where it’s being shared
  • From followers – the one who reading this

Google recommends using the source field – it describes as the “referrer”

What does this mean? – In the case of social media links – if someone retweets or share your links, then the traffic isn’t coming from your site, but you will still get it from same social platform.

If you share a link to face book just use – “&utm_source = facebook” = (your post link)

How to use “Medium” parameter in social media

  • Add the parameter & utm_medium=to your post links, can track visit comes from this link
  • This is more straightforward than source tag
  • If you give a general list of options for “medium” tag – then link-tracking is a lot easier

Google suggests a general name of marketing medium such as

marketing medium

Simple approach is use “social” as your medium. This is the easy way to track the traffic in high level marketing channels.

For non-social links, some other medium tags are:

  • Email
  • Blog
  • Blog-syndicated (sharing articles with syndication sites)
  • Blog-guest (guest posting)

How to use “campaign” parameter in social media

  • Add the parameter &utm_campaign = to your post links – thus it says – “this traffic is coming from this effort”
  • Numerous ways to use this tag! – the beauty behind this tag is you are consistent with other two tags (source, medium) – offering you a lot of flexibility to track this campaign

Ways to use this campaign parameter

  • For special promotions (a product launch)
  • Business objectives – a blog post going to say about generate leads or sales then you can use values – “lead”, “complete”, etc.

Track UTM in Google Analytics

  • Acquisition -> Campaigns -> All Campaigns
  • Click primary dimension of campaign, source, medium


I hope from this post, you come to know how to use UTM tags and track all your social information.

Use buffer tools to tag automatically the links to be used in social. But if you run a huge campaign that consists of tweets, ppc ads, blog posts, and emails?

Then, you can use this link to download the template for free – https://blog.bufferapp.com/utm-guide