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05/27/2020 | by Singlot
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UTM codes: what they are and why you should care

When we talk about marketing, we inevitably talk about data and how to read it. There’s loads of information being generated on a daily basis and marketing campaigns are no strangers to this. As campaigns get more complex, so does data collection and being able to decipher that becomes -at times- a real challenge.

If you’re used to working in Google Analytics, chances are you’ve heard about UTM and why they’re so important. This article aims to explain in more plain terms what a UTM code is and how to create your own.

Check out the video version of this post, in case you don't feel like reading!

What is a UTM?

When you link a website in a campaign, that URL becomes a basic address that Google Analytics uses to organise the data. With no additional information, Google does a decent job of labeling that under the right category. However, there are times where Google can’t understand that address enough and will label your campaign under the (direct/none) section. As a marketer, that is one of the worst things to happen, as that won’t let you see if your campaigns are working and attribute value to your efforts.

A UTM code is additional information used to make it easier for Google to place the campaign in the right section. By providing more information, Google Analytics has a better chance of placing that data correctly, making your reporting much easier.

How to build a UTM?

A simple Google search will help you on that front, but if you’re interested you can get in touch with us and we’ll share a tool by Measureschool we use on the daily. However, suffice today, there are certain parameters you need to take into account when building UTMs.

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UTM codes will help you organise your data

Mandatory parameters

There are three elements that are mandatory when building a UTM:

  1. Campaign Medium: here’s where you input the specific objective of your campaign. Whether you’re doing an email marketing campaign, a social media campaign, a banner campaign etc.
  2. Campaign Source: this section is where we’d normally input the platform we’re running the campaign from. If we’re running an Instagram stories video campaign, we’ll input instagram.
  3. Campaign Name: the campaign name is where you determine a unique naming for what you’re doing. Think carefully and write something that is easy for you to remember. We recommend sticking to your naming convention (you can read more about it here.

Optional parameters

There are two extra optional parameters that we recommend filling in, as they will make it easier down the line for you to read the reports.

  1. Campaign Content: here’s where you will add the information of your adset in your campaigns. That is, info about the target, platform and even dates.
  2. Campaign Term: finally this is where you’ll add the ad name. Following your naming convention here is also key as it’ll allow you to see the results of creative A/B testing at a glance.

UTM codes seem very daunting at first, but it’s just another piece of the puzzle you need to take into account. Tools like the one we use are great but thankfully, advertising platforms are rolling out built-in tools to work on the UTM codes directly.

We’ll talk about the differences between some of those platforms in the next article, so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!

UTMs help you refine data collection and reporting.

Direct / none is your enemy!
Every marketer ever