UTM Tracking What Is A UTM Code and How Do I Use IT

Phil Hughes
Phil Hughes

It’s a daunting prospect trying to get people to your website. With social media, guest blogging, video and content marketing. It can be so tough to know what (if anything is working).

Unless you know what is working and were your all your website traffic is coming from. It can be a complete scatter gun approach. Nowadays with so much on your plates. I would rather work out what 2 or 3 approaches are working. Focus on them and bin-off the rest.

This it where UTM tracking and UTM codes can be one of your biggest weapons when starting to market your product or service.

What Are UTM Codes?

UTM stands for “Urchin Traffic Monitor“. This name comes from Urchin Tracker, a web analytics software that served as the base for Google Analytics.

When a UTM code or codes are added to a website address they can looks like this: https://elementaryanalytics.com?utm_source=google.

As you can see in the example website address. Everything after the question mark ‘?’ relates to UTM tracking using specific UTM codes.

The first part is the UTM parameter. These parameters are a fixed record allowing you to track 5 different things when promoting your brand.

Whenever you use a parameter they must start ‘utm_’. You can track the source, medium, campaign, content and term. I will go into each one of these in more details.

The second part is where you control what value you would like to track. In our example I want to traffic any traffic that came from Google. Whether that be an ad campaign or some other organic media.

Don’t worry about adding UTM codes to your URL’s. Using UTM tracking doesn’t impact your website in anyway. The codes are only used by tools such as Google Analytics to help you review and UTM codes your have started using.

What Can You Track With UTM Codes?

There are currently 5 different parameters you can tracking using UT< codes.

Traffic Source

This parameter allows you to track where the traffic originated from. The parameter added to your URL is utm_source. Many peoples use whether it came from social media such as facebook or twitter. An ad provider like Google or the Bing network. You can even use the name of your email provider.

Example: &utm_source=facebook


The medium parameter tracks the type traffic the visitor originated from. For example ad, cpc, email, social, display. This is a great way to see if organic or paid traffic is working for you.

Example: &utm_medium=cpc

Campaign Name

This parameter allows you to track the performance of a specific campaign. For example, you can use the campaign parameter to differentiate traffic between different Facebook Ad campaigns or Google Ad campaigns.

Example: &utm_campaign=facebook-retargeting


In case you have multiple links pointing to the same URL (such as an email with two CTA buttons), this code will help you track which link was clicked. The parameter is utm_content.

Example: &utm_content=navlink

Keyword Term

Using the keyword parameter allows you to track which keyword term website traffic came from. This parameter is specifically used for paid search ads. The parameter is utm_term.

Example: &utm_term=social+media+marketing

How to Use the UTM Codes

These codes can be used in any combination that you like. Depending on what information you want to record and be able to analyse.

For example, I helped an email marketing tool called Outflash with an email campaign. In which they offered free users and subscribers a discount if they signed up to one of their paid plans. The link looked like this:


This code allowed us to track the performance of the email marketing campaigns we were sending out using Google Analytics.

You can then see how many people subscribed to their paid plan from the campaigns.

You can create a combination of the tracking codes depending when information you want to see in Google Analytics.

There a 3 quick and easy ways to track how your campaigns are performing using UTM tracking in Google Analytics. Here’s how.

Create a custom report under “Customization” > “Custom Reports”. Add Medium, Campaign, or Source as a dimension and the metrics you want to view.

Go to Acquisition -> Overview -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium to view traffic.

Go to Acquisition -> Campaigns -> All Campaigns to view traffic based on your custom campaign names.

Adding UTM Codes To A URL

The quickest and easiest way to create a URL that contains the UTM tracking codes it to use Google’s URL builder.

To use the URL builder. You need to enter the destination URL that you will be driving traffic to.

The ‘source’ of the campaign, i.e. google, facebook, etc.

The medium that you will be using. Whether that be via email marketing or paid ads, for example email, ads, cpc etc.

You can then give your campaign a name. Or associate it to a promotion code, whatever you like really.

Here is an example I used to promote that you can sign up for Elementary Analytics for free for a 30 day period.

How to create URL with UTM codes with Google's URL builder

As we have discussed you can add additional codes for terms and content. Once you are happy. You can copy the URL.

There you have it. Elementary Analytics’ guide to UTM tracking using UTM codes.

I would love to hear your thoughts on which metrics to track and if you found this post useful.

Regards, Phil.

We are always looking for people to use our service so we can gain feedback about how we can improve. If you would like to work closely with us to make our service the best it can be. Please drop me an email at mailto: [email protected]. I would love to work with you. We can offer extended trial period to people who can offer excellent insights to help us continually improve.

Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Keep marketing campaigns on track — Grow your business

Elementary Analytics isn’t just for creating widgets — it’s great for reviewing your marketing campaigns. Use the dedicated reports to produce PDF’s to impress customers and senior management.

How it’s better: By combining your website traffic and social media insights in one place, Elementary Analytics lets your entire team focus on their day to day work. One tool to track. One place to check performance. No more constant switching between Google Analytics profiles, Social Media accounts, spreadsheets and documents.