Generally, there are two ways to track traffic directed to your website. Firstly, you can unify Google Analytic referrals. Although this can seem like an easier approach as most of the leg work is done for you, they can be harder to analyse due to user protection. The second way to safely analyse traffic data is to use UTM codes, this is an especially beneficial route if you are wanting to analyse specific campaigns. In this article, we’re going to explain what a UTM code is, and the ways in which you can use them. Fear not, these will be in simple terms… so if you are a complete beginner or have a small amount of information already, we’re going to help you understand the technical aspects along with some resources to widen your search.
If you have your own website or manage a business’ website then you’ll know how confusing and long a URL is. A URL is the code that comes up in the top toolbar of an internet browser, this is what directs you to a specific website. They’re nothing pretty, and can seem far too technical to even beginning to imagine how to disentangle them into something that makes much sense. Each website has a specific and unique URL code, what’s more is that each landing page within that website also has a unique URL. This is created based on the website domain which is then specified to a page. An example of this would be for example, the ‘contact TwoFresh page’, the URL being ‘https://www.twofresh.co.uk/contact’. The beginning part of this code is simply the website URL, and the ‘/contact’ has been added to specify the page that is being visited, in this case, the ‘contact us’ page.
You may be wondering how this is relevant to analytics, well in fact, they become extremely useful in pinpointing where exactly the traffic to your website is originating from. There are so many benefits from finding out this information. There are many ways that people can find themselves on your website, it is crucial to understand where people are coming from in order to enhance the understanding you have of your audience. UTM means Urchin Tracking Module, in basic terms it’s an add-on to a URL that has the benefit of web analytic software. These softwares are the basis of Google Analytics, where you can analyse how many people have clicked on a link and how people got to this link.
There are several variants of UTM’s, here are the main five variants and what they are used for (with examples of how this would look in a URL):
- Source – where traffic originated from (utm_source)
- Medium – the type of traffic (utmmedium)
- Campaign – traffic specific campaign performance (utm_campaign)
- Content – the specific link clicked – useful if you have for example, more than one link going to the same URL, useful if you have a mailshot with several Call To Action buttons (utm_content)
- Term – track which keyword a user used to get to you, this is useful for things like paid search ads. (utm_term)
An example of one of these variants being used on our website would be https://www.twofresh.co.uk/contact/?utm_source=google. This tells you that the user has found the website by doing a google search. If the source sais utm_source=Instagram, then the user would have found the website from Instagram.
UTM codes can begin to get seriously long, depending on how specific you want the tracking to be. No matter how long they are, they do not effect the URL, they can be simply added and taken away without affecting the page itself. The best way to make the most of UTM’s is to add them directly into the website and then analyse them via Google Analytics. Google have released the very useful (and free), URL builder which enables you to create your ideal UTM tracking without having to know all the coding. You simply create the UTM within the URL by customising from the options and then copy and paste it into your site. Note, within Google analytics you will need to create a custom report in order to see this specific data.
In conclusion, UTM’s are an effective way to enhance your knowledge about incoming sight traffic from a huge range of areas. It needn’t be confusing with several ways to get help along the way. Once utilised you can make the most of them by bettering your understanding of your audience which can only benefit the growth of your sight.