If you’ve ever been on the internet, you’ve definitely seen a URL before. However, not all URLs are created equal. Have you ever noticed how long some links are? Some links seem to go on forever – but there’s a good reason for it. Let us introduce you to UTM codes. Get ready to have your mind blown.

What are UTM codes?

A UTM code is added to the end of a link and names the source through which that link was accessed. It sounds more complicated than it is – it’s essentially like a little tracking device at the end of a link that tells the creator where that link was viewed from. Let’s look at an example. 

Here’s a link from HubSpot’s blog: http://blog.hubspot.com/9-reasons-you-cant-resist-list?utm_campaign=blogpost &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

See how long it is? That’s because over half of it is the UTM code. Here’s the link again, but this time, we’ve made the UTM code bold:

http://blog.hubspot.com/9-reasons-you-cant-resist-list?utm_campaign=blogpost &utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

Let’s break down this code a little bit more. 

You’ll notice that there are 3 mentions of UTMs – “utm_campaign,” “utm_medium,” and “utm_source.” The first, “utm_campaign,” is introducing the UTM program to the link. All the links you attach this code to will be grouped together in your analytics. 

Secondly, “utm_medium” is saying that the medium, or online format, of this link is social media (that’s the “=social” part). You could also have an email or organic medium. 

Finally, “utm_source” specifies that the specific social media platform this link came from is Facebook (“=facebook”). This could also be Twitter, Instagram, YouTube…you name it.

Why are these important for online marketing?

By having these specific UTM codes for each one of your posts, you’re pretty much creating a road map for your online marketing. If one person clicks on a link from Facebook, but five people click the same link from LinkedIn, you’re able to gather valuable information about which content is best suited for each of your social media profiles.

Additionally, you can start recording this information to watch the traffic to your website increase. As it increases, you can pinpoint what techniques are most effective in helping that happen, as well as what isn’t working out as well. 

How do you see the results of your UTM codes?

Once you’ve created all of your campaign’s UTM codes, you’re able to see the results within whatever program you used to create the codes.

There are a few different options for creating and tracking your UTM codes. Google has a Campaign URL Builder that’s easy to use and tremendously effective. Not only is the interface simple to figure out, they also have articles linked on the creation page for best practices, tips, and instructional guides to help you create your perfect campaign.

Additionally, HubSpot’s Marketing Hub has an Analytics tool for creating and tracking your UTM codes. This is also a very easy program to use, and HubSpot never disappoints with their marketing information and tools.

What’s the next step?

When you’re driving traffic to your website, it’s important to have a picture of where your audience is coming from and the content they enjoy. By creating these UTM codes, you can track all of the above! Then, once you have that information, you can tailor your online marketing campaign to get the results you’re looking for.

If you’re not confident going into this alone, you’ve come to the right place! Reach out to us here at Blackwood Creative for all of your social media and online marketing needs. We’re the experts in marketing and growing your business – let’s work together to create something beautiful.

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