Why UTM Parameters Should be Part of your Strategy

As marketers, we’re always looking for ways to improve our strategy and show leadership that the work we’re doing is driving results. But, how do you prove that your recent campaign was effective in leading people to your website? That’s where UTM codes come in. 

What are UTM codes?

“UTM” stands for “Urchin tracking module,” deriving from Google’s 2005 acquisition of Urchin Software Corporation. This software was the foundation for Google Analytics. 

UTM codes are a string of terms in a URL that tell the story of how your page visitors landed on your site. Google Analytics tracks these URLs. For example, when you’re scrolling through your Instagram stories and an ad appears asking you to swipe up, a link containing UTM parameters is attached to the ad tracking how effective it is.

While visitors could go to bluestar-design.com directly, if they were to click through from Facebook, for example, we would create a UTM parameter for them to click through that would look like this:


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Why should you use them?

Understanding where your website’s traffic is coming from is vital. By using UTM codes, you gain visibility on exactly which source, medium, and campaign people are converting from—whether that be social media, email marketing, or website banner ads. 

Source: The referrer — Examples include Google, newsletter, and Facebook.

Medium: Your marketing medium — Such as social media, banner ads, and email.

Campaign: This can be the title of the blog you’re promoting, the product name, or a slogan. It is used to help distinguish your campaigns. 

With the source, it is also beneficial to mark whether the post is paid or organic. Traffic to your website will come from both paid and organic content, and you may be promoting a piece of content, both organically and sponsored. By tracking which people visit your website from both sources, you can measure which types of content may not need money behind it to perform well.

Tracking your site’s URLs allows you to analyze how well your content is performing and which mediums you should focus more on. It also gives valuable insight into which types of content (e.g. Social media posts, newsletters, Google advertisements) your audience is most responsive to. 

How to get started

Google’s URL builder is a useful and free tool to begin your UTM journey. Google also provides a tracking template for your team to track your URLs. All you need to do is enter in your original URL, source, medium, campaign name, and any additional parameters. The tool will then generate the link for you to use. 

By adding this tool to the marketing tricks up your sleeve, you’ll have the data you need at your fingertips to display your tactics’ ROI to leadership.

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