As marketers, we strive to understand our web traffic and optimise our marketing efforts. But if you’ve ever felt confused about what a UTM code is and how it can help you make the most of your marketing initiatives, you’re not alone. UTM codes are essential pieces of data used to improve tracking and analytics, but if you’ve ever been intimidated by the concept of understanding and setting them up, you’re not alone! In this blog post, I’m going to break down exactly what a UTM code is, how to create and use them, and how they can help you take your marketing to the next level. So get ready to learn the power of the UTM and never worry about tracking accuracy again!

Quick Insight

A UTM code (Urchin Tracking Module) is a simple code that can be added to the end of your website URL in order to track the performance of various campaigns and content. This code provides data such as the source, medium, and name of the campaign so you can track the success of specific campaigns.

What is a UTM Code?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module and is a code that is used to track website performance in terms of traffic, referrers and other user engagements. It is typically used by digital marketers and webmasters to measure the effectiveness of their website campaigns in terms of visitor interactions. The tracking code is appended to a URL as parameters in order to track the source and performance of marketing campaigns including online ads, email marketing campaigns, and more. UTM codes provide detailed insights into how a given website is performing, allowing users to make smarter decisions about where their resources should be invested for maximum return on investment (ROI).

The use of UTM codes has been debated extensively, with some arguing that it provides too much data for users to digest and can therefore become meaningless. Others argue that having access to specific metrics from multiple sources can help businesses make more informed decisions about where they should focus their content marketing or advertisement budgets, or which platforms provide the best conversion rates for their campaigns. This debate will likely continue as more companies gain access to sophisticated analytics suites that allow them to measure the impact of different channels on their customer acquisition objectives.

Understanding UTM codes allows users to get a better grip on their overall website performance and the ROI of each marketing campaign they conduct. With this knowledge, they can then decide which campaigns need more investment or which channels are underperforming. With this information in hand, the next step is understanding what each element within a UTM code actually stands for – something we’ll discuss in our next section.


UTM codes are used to track website performance in terms of traffic, referrers and other user engagements. It can provide detailed insights into website performance which can help businesses make informed decisions about where resources should be invested for maximum ROI. Debate exists around the use of UTM codes, but understanding them allows users to better understand website performance and the ROI of campaigns.

What Does UTM Stand For?

UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module” and is an analytical strategy used by digital marketers to measure the effectiveness of online campaigns. It was developed in the late 1990s by a Google-acquired company called Urchin Software Corporation and has since been adapted to become a key component of successful online marketing efforts.

The primary purpose behind a UTM code is to be able to track digital marketing campaigns accurately and gain valuable insights on how they are performing. By assigning specific labels or ‘tags’ to each campaign, marketers can get detailed data about the performance of their campaigns, allowing them to make changes for optimisation. This helps them better understand what works and what doesn’t so that they can adjust their strategies accordingly.

Lastly, UTM codes provide a unique URL for tracking purposes, which simplifies campaign tracking across various channels like search engine results pages (SERPs) and third-party websites. This makes it easy for marketers to measure their ad spend across multiple sources without having to manually enter information into separate reports. They can even track conversion rates and individual user activities for more granular insights.

UTM codes are generally used with modern web analytics programmes such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics, as they enable marketers to identify the precise source of website traffic in order to accurately trace back success or failure to its originating source.

The benefits of tracking online campaigns with UTM codes far outweigh any associated costs or complexity of implementation – with accurate data, marketers can make smart decisions that ensure maximum return-on-investment (ROI).

Now that we know what UTM stands for, let’s talk about the many benefits of using a UTM code in your digital marketing campaigns in the next section.

Benefits of Using a UTM Code

Using a UTM code, or Urchin Tracking Module code, is a powerful and effective way to track the performance of your online marketing campaigns. It helps you to understand how visitors come to your website, which pages and content they interact with, and whether they convert from any of your website’s goals. By providing data on these key metrics, marketers can use UTM codes to measure the success of their campaigns, obtain more insights about their target audience, and optimise current and future campaigns.

The primary benefit of using UTM codes is that it allows businesses to accurately measure the performance of their campaigns. Knowing where traffic comes from is essential for any successful digital marketing strategy. With UTM codes, marketers have detailed insight into what source is most effective at driving conversions. For example, if a business runs ads on multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and assigns a different UTM code to each one, they will be able to tell which platform gets the most clicks and leads. With this data in hand, companies are then able to devote more resources to their highest performing channels while trimming down those that do not perform as well.

Another big advantage of using UTM codes is its scalability. There is no upper limit on how many URLs you can create with UTM codes. Hence, even if a business runs multiple marketing campaigns with hundreds or even thousands of links pointing back to its website, all the links can still be tracked easily with just one click. This makes it much easier for businesses looking to track large-scale online campaigns.

Not only does using UTM codes provide invaluable insights into a campaign’s performance but it also saves money and improves efficiency. Instead of wasting money on campaigns that are ineffective, companies can save their resources by investing only in those initiatives that drive results. Furthermore, since tracking URL links requires minimal manual labour versus other forms of measurement (such as manual customer surveys), businesses can spend less time analysing data while getting accurate data points faster than ever before.

Overall, using UTM codes is clearly beneficial for businesses looking to track the performance of their digital marketing efforts. The data obtained from UTMs points out which strategies are working for your brand and which strategies need improvement — giving you invaluable insights into benchmarking the success or failure of your campaigns. While there may be some drawbacks such as potential inaccuracies in link creation or tracking confusion when combining information from different sources, utilising UTM codes nonetheless provides an efficient means of understanding customer behaviour and optimising your overall strategy accordingly.

Now that we have explored the benefits of using a UTM code in detail, let’s turn our attention to understanding the performance of our campaigns – an even deeper dive into understanding your campaign performance through analytics analysis and optimisation techniques.

Understanding the Performance of Your Campaigns

It is important to understand the performance of your campaigns when utilising UTM codes. UTM codes enable businesses to track both physical campaigns and digital strategies and determine what strategies are working and which are not. Through understanding the performance of campaigns, businesses can improve their marketing strategies and maximise ROI.

To properly assess the performance of a campaign, businesses need to pay close attention to key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can help determine whether marketing efforts were successful in driving website visits, conversion rates, user engagement, or even sales. With this data, business owners can make informed decisions about future campaigns and gain insight on how different channels affect the overall success rate. It’s also possible to compare different campaigns side by side to identify patterns within each campaign that could present opportunities for improvement or areas needing further investment.

When it comes to tracking the success of a campaign with UTM codes, there should be an awareness of potential bias that may come into play. The tendency may be to attribute any external success directly to the specific UTM codes in place, but it is essential to look beyond what is easily seen. Many factors play into why a particular post or advertisement was successful or unsuccessful — including timing, positioning, image quality, message clarity and more — so it is important to consider all elements when evaluating a campaign’s success.

With these considerations in mind, businesses can use UTM codes in combination with analytics tools like Google Analytics or webmasters to measure and analyse the performance of their campaigns over time. This data-driven approach gives businesses insight into how their tactics are performing and how they can further refine their strategies for maximum efficiency.

Now that we’ve discussed understanding the performance of campaigns, let’s dive into the next section and learn how you can use UTM codes to generate rich insights about your customer base: how you can generate a UTM code for better tracking.

  • UTM codes are used to track website visits from campaigns in Google Analytics.
  • According to marketing research, companies that use UTM codes for tracking website visits are able to measure their return on investment (ROI) up to 900% better than those that do not use UTM codes.
  • DQ&A research has found that campaigns using UTM codes have an estimated 20–30% higher click-through rate compared to campaigns without UTM codes.

How to Generate a UTM Code

Generating a UTM Code is straightforward and uses the following format:


In each of the three components, you insert your variables to build a tracked URL.

Let’s break them down into more detail.

UTM Source: This is simply where the traffic is coming from, such as Google or Reddit. The goal is to give you insights into which channels are really contributing to your success.

UTM Medium: This tells us what kind of medium has been used, such as organic, CPC (cost-per-click), email, or display advertising. It provides more granular data than source, and you can use it to keep track of how specific campaigns are doing relative to one another.

UTM Campaign: This allows you to set up a system for tracking exactly what links need to be promoted in different campaigns. You can name each campaign separately for easier comparison and analysis.

Once all three parameters are set, you’ll have a tracked URL that looks like this:

You’ll then proceed to use this link in whichever way you’d like, whether that means applying it to your website or sharing it across social media platforms.

Leading into the next section about examples of UTM code parameters, it’s important to remember that using UTM codes is an essential part of keeping track and measuring success of campaigns and sources. By properly specifying source, medium, and campaign elements, marketers gain valuable insight into how customers interact with their links.

Examples of UTM Code Parameters

When using UTM parameters to track the effectiveness of campaigns, it is important to consider what types of parameters should be applied. There are five main parameters that can be used: source, medium, campaign name, term, and content.

Source: The source parameter indicates the site that a user was referred from in order to arrive at the destination page. It is important to use different sources for different campaigns in order to measure their individual effectiveness. Examples of sources may include Google Adwords campaigns, social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter, email campaigns, organic search traffic and more.

Medium: The medium parameter indicates how a user arrived at the destination page from a specific source. This can include direct, referral, organic search and other forms of traffic sources. It is key to use this parameter in order to have an accurate understanding of where a visitor originally came from and how they got there.

Campaign Name: The campaign name parameter allows you to set one general label for the campaign instead of individual URLs or tracking codes for each ad group within the campaign. By giving the overall campaign one label you are able to better organise your data and see which of your groups within the same campaign had better performance.

Term: This parameter specifies the keyword used by search engines when conducting a user’s search query (such as Google). Knowing which terms were most successful will uncover potential deficiencies within your site’s rankings or potential misspellings that were not correctly captured resulting in low visibility for your brand’s products/services.

Content: This parameter details any additional information about the marketing materials that link back to your website. This includes banners ads, text links, etc., and helps you understand which call-to-action resulted in more conversions or leads than others.

UTM codes provide valuable insight into how effective your digital marketing efforts are, but it is vital to examine all aspects of the process in order to draw greater meaning from the data being collected with UTM parameters. To conclude our discussion on examples of UTM code parameters we’d like to shift focus now to look deeper into assessing “Pros and Cons of UTM Codes”.

Pros and Cons of UTM Codes

UTM codes are an efficient way to track website metrics and provide a detailed view of how consumers interact with your website. But as with any tool, there are both pros and cons to consider before utilising UTM codes in your business strategy.


• Accurate Tracking – UTM codes provide precise information on the source of your traffic, allowing you to accurately measure the effectiveness of different platforms. This helps you target the most profitable audiences and allows you to take informed decisions regarding your marketing strategies.

• Targeted Campaigns – UTM codes help businesses increase their visibility by providing more accurate data about user behaviour. This lets you create targeted campaigns based on data-driven insights, helping you to make better decisions about where to invest resources for maximum returns.

• Better Insights – By implementing UTM codes, you can also gain deeper insights into user demographics and behaviour, letting you tailor content to best fit the needs of individual users or target groups.


• Complex Structure – Although they offer great accuracy, UTM codes are quite complex and require attention to detail when setting up the tracking parameters. Additionally, if a parameter is not setup correctly it will not track data properly, meaning that businesses should be careful when formulating their tracking URLs.

• Unreliable Platforms – Some platforms may not support UTM tracking due to technical limitations. These platforms may not provide reliable data and should be avoided when setting up your tracking URLs.

• Manual Inputs – UTM tracking requires manual inputs which can be tedious and error-prone. This means that businesses must ensure that time and resources are allocated for proper monitoring of the campaigns in order to get complete and accurate data sets.

In conclusion, UTM codes offer several benefits for businesses looking to gain better insights into user behaviour, but there are also some potential downsides that should be considered before implementing them into your marketing strategy. With careful planning and thought put into setting up tracking URLs, UTM codes can be an invaluable tool for gaining deeper knowledge about website visitors and optimising campaigns accordingly.

Responses to Common Questions

What types of data can a UTM code help us track?

A UTM code is a great tool for tracking data and performance metrics in digital marketing campaigns. By adding parameters to URLs, UTM codes allow marketers to track everything from website visits and web page views, to clicks on links and ads by different audiences, device types, dates and more. This makes it easy to measure how successful a particular ad campaign is, allowing marketers to refine and optimise their strategies moving forward. Furthermore, UTM codes can also be used to track the effectiveness of email campaigns by recording successes or failures within the email system. Using this data, marketers can determine which techniques work best with their target audience and make adjustments accordingly. All in all, UTM codes are a powerful way to gain insight into the performance of your digital efforts, helping you ensure a positive return on investment (ROI) for your business.

How do I create a UTM code?

Creating a UTM code is a simple process:

1. Choose a tracking service. Popular services include Google Analytics, HubSpot, and Adobe Analytics. These tracking systems will give you the ability to easily track your traffic sources and make sense of campaigns in real-time.

2. Create a campaign URL. This URL should be customised for each advertising campaign that you’re running and should contain everything you need to accurately measure success–basically, it should point to the same page or content that you want to measure separately.

3. Add UTM parameters to your campaign URLs. This is done to provide the tracking system with more specific information about the source, medium, and other characteristics of each link. For example if you’re promoting an article on Facebook, you could add UTM parameters like “utm_source=facebook” and “utm_medium=campaign” to make sure that every click coming from this ad is recognised properly.

4. Monitor and adjust your campaigns as needed using the data from your tracking service. Once your campaigns are launched and data begins collecting in your tracking service, you can monitor them closely and make changes as needed based on results. This will help ensure that your campaigns are driving traffic and conversions in the most efficient manner possible.

What is the purpose of a UTM code?

The purpose of a UTM code is to track the performance of your website and its individual elements. UTM codes represent specific pieces of information, such as a page, campaign, or source, using URL parameters. By using UTM parameters, you can gain insights into what content led visitors to take action on your website. This type of descriptive tracking allows you to better understand the effectiveness of all the different elements of your website: what works, what doesn’t work, and where you can make improvements in the future. Additionally, UTM codes can help identify quality leads from campaigns so that you can separate high-value prospects from irrelevant visitors for remarketing purposes. In short, UTM codes are an invaluable tool for understanding how users interact with your website and how to maximise their engagement over time.

Last Updated on February 27, 2023

Matt Jackson

E-commerce SEO expert, with over 10 years of full-time experience analyzing and fixing online shopping websites. Hands-on experience with Shopify, WordPress, Opencart, Magento, and other CMS.
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