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What is a UTM code? And why it is useful?

Every marketer and business pushes out creative, content and ads online at some point in their career. As advertising begins to move away from posters and bus backs to Facebook, Google, Amazon and Instagram, we are given the ability to track which creative and content leads to revenue, engagement and key conversions. What this allows marketers and business owners to do is develop a test and learn methodology on their advertising and marketing efforts. If you push out two sets of creative online organically and we see that one significantly outperforms the other, it makes sense to 1. Find that out, and 2. Use that intellectual property for the next time you push out creative to garner stronger results.

So how do you do it?

The Urchin Tracking Module or UTM code as it is more widely known as, is a simple piece of code that you can stick onto the end of a URL to let Google Analytics know what creative, and content is working harder for your business and resonating with users. When adding the destination URL to a post, picture or ad, simply add the UTM code to the back of it, this will then hook into your Google Analytics and you can track everything from where that user came from, to what they did post click.

The best UTM builder is https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/. Simply fill in the steps inside the link and it will generate you your new UTM ready URL. One warning sign is to keep everything lowercase, as Google will register your pages differently in GA if there are uppercase and lowercase URL’s.

Turning your marketing data led and IP driven

Where people fall short when using UTM codes is collecting the information and data you gather into a singular place and using it to inform future decisions. UTM’s allow the intersection of creative and analytics, If your in-house designer knows exactly what creative resonates with each key audience they will then be able to make more informed decisions on both branding and design. Creative begins to move away from what looks good, to what is effective and delivers results. Essentially over an extended period of time, every creative decision will have a mathematical, data element built into it, and you will be able to predict the effectiveness of the ad/content before it is pushed live based off how previous similar creative had performed. This does not mean the end of creative direction, what it does is make the creative director more powerful and informed when making decisions. Your company will develop intellectual property, and have an idea of what strings to pull, and when to get the results they desire.

Summary

In summary, it may seem like a niggly and daunting task to start tracking each piece of your creative individually. But over time this will become second nature, and you will have gathered key data and information that will allow you to make highly effective marketing decisions. This will not only make you a better marketer or creative, but also drive higher returns on investment.

Published by Alex Jordan