What is UTM?
UTM stands for Urine Tracking Parameters. They add data coming from different traffic to our URL, which we see. He was brought back with an analytics tool called Euchin, a tool that was purchased by Google and developed in Google Analytics. Somewhere, they became the industry standard for tracking marketing campaigns across the device.
These days, most analytics tools, marketing apps, marketing automation tools and CRM look for these parameters automatically.
There are five standard parameters.
UTM Medium: Consider this as a channel. Social, organic, paid, email, affiliates are all main marketing channels that include multiple traffic sources.
UTM Source: the individual site within that channel. For example, Facebook will be a source of your social media for any unexpected links you post to Facebook. If you are running a Facebook advertisement or spending money to promote a link, you do not want to label Facebook as a source within paid. If you are building a link to an email, define the list to which you are sending the email.
UTM Campaign: The specific campaign you are running. Feel free to fill it however it makes sense for you. Names that allow you to easily identify product launches, promotional campaigns, personal emails or posts, etc. are all good.
UTM Content: This is an optional field. If you have multiple links in the same campaign, such as two links in the same email, you can fill this value so that you can separate them. For most marketers, this data is more detailed than they really need.
UTM Period: Marketers rarely use this field these days. It is such that you can track specific keywords for paid organic campaigns. Since AdWords has its own tracking method and a deep integration with Google Analytics, you will hardly need to use this field.
Whenever you place a link to an external site (not your own site, more on this below), you add these criteria to your URL. Then when traffic lands on your site, you know where the visitor came from and this data appears in all your marketing and analytics tools.
UTMS Key: Clean Data
I have worked with hundreds of teams and various analytics implementations. By far, the biggest problem with UTM is having a team to use them consistently.
UTMs are very flexible, you can add whatever value you want to each value. Want to divide your marketing channels into your “fluffy bunny” medium, your “rainbow” medium, and your “pink unicorn” medium? Go for it! Completely up to you.
This flexibility has a downside, although flexibility also means lack of consistency.
Let’s use an example, say you want to tag all your linked paid channels with the same medium parameter.
How do you define that medium?
Okay, you have a lot of options:
Paid (yes, these are sensitive on some devices)
CPA (cost per acquisition)
PPC (pay per click)
CPC (cost per click)
It is incredibly common for different people on the same team to use different words for the same medium, source, or campaign. Using different words in itself is even easier! We all get busy, forgetting what we used in the past, and accidentally tweak something. I catch myself doing this regularly.
Whenever this happens, your data is broken.
Now, some tools will try to group some more common variants for you. Google Analytics has several types of parameters that group it into specialized means.
But many devices do not come, they carry the data exactly as it comes.
Messy data means you have a terrible type trying to see what is going on. The problem can range from constantly massaging yourself a few lines to being so engrossed that it is impossible to see where anything is coming from.
How do we fix this?
Whenever I work with a new team or site, I always start with a basic Google spreadsheet. Then I create some columns that have dropdown selections, specifically for Medium and Source. I’m crazy about continuity for those two values. And then I let people fill campaign and name criteria, however they prefer. If you keep the medium and the source clean, most of your reporting problems will go away.
With a quick formula, you can also get a spreadsheet to create the final tracking URL for you.