UTM… codes? parameters? suffixes?

Are you trying to find a better way to track links and analytics through all the different ways you are sharing? Are you having a difficult time giving everything a source? UTMs might just be the ticket. 

UTMs allow us to take one extra step in tracking web traffic. UTMs will let you know exactly where your leads are coming from down to the itty bitty detail of campaigns and sources. 

You’ve seen UTM codes. They are that longer stretch of information you often see after a URL. If you’ve passed a long url along to a friend then you have seen a utm. Here’s a UTM you would see if someone shared one of our LinkedIn Posts with you. 


While Google Analytics already gives us what it thinks is the source (more on this later), through UTM’s we can also track campaign medium, campaign name, campaign term, and campaign content. SO MUCH INFORMATION – some helpful…some may not be not so helpful. All those really great details that are helpful when looking at campaigns us marketers love. 

UTM Codes, or Urchin Tracking Module (UTM) codes, were created by Urchin Software for their web statistics analysis program. Google purchased bought Urchin in 2005 then launched Google Analytics later that year. Urchin was shut down but these codes outlasted.

Let’s break this one down a little further (click image below to enlarge):

It’s important to note here that you are not required to have all 5 of the UTM parameters present. Just pick the one’s that are relevant. LinkedIn only has two in this instance.

We start from the top down and try to build each parameter off of the previous one. Here are examples of how we use UTMs for our Custom Reporting product:

Campaign Medium (utm_medium): What type of channel is sending this traffic to your site. This can be something like “paid social” or “email”.

Example: utm_medium=email

Note: Always add UTMs in your emails if your email marketing/marketing automation provider doesn’t do this for you automatically. Google can sometimes struggle to track email traffic and miscatagorize it as direct traffic.

Campaign Source (utm_source): Which search engine, social network, partner website, advertising partner, etc. is sending this traffic to your site.

Example: utm_source=email

Campaign Name (utm_campaign):
Whenever the link is part of a specific marketing or advertising campaign, this is the place to enter it. 

Example: utm_campaign=custom_reporting

Campaign Term (utm_term):
This is use in paid search campaigns to track relevant ad-based keywords. This helps you identify which keyword(s) resulted in a site visit.

This one can be critical since Google is notoriously bad at reporting the specific keyword or phrase used to find us. This helps close that information gap.

Example: utm_term=marketing+reporting

Campaign Content (utm_content)
: more often than not, we have multiple links to the same content on a single piece of marketing. An email for example may have a call-to-action at the very top of the page and then again at the very bottom to cover anyone who read through the entire email and is ready to learn more. The campaign comment parameter helps to learn which CTAs are working the best at converting customers.

Example: utm_content=cta-bottom

The most important thing here is to do this every time. Be consistent. Also, make sure that you are consistent in your labeling so that as you gather data, it all lands in the right place and you don’t have to combine or rearrange too much manually. Make sure items like your campaign names are consistent and avoid multiples of the same thing (example: “marketing+reporting”, “marketing_reporting”, “marketingReporting”, etc.)

And as always, if you need help, reach out ASAP.

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