What is a UTM?

A UTM, which is short for Urchin Tracking Module, is a tool that allows you to track your web traffic in detail. UTMs are pieces of code that are added to a link or a URL. Once this code is attached, you can see a lot of additional information about your traffic. Without UTMs, you can only see the referrer (which is where the traffic came from). For example, you might be able to see that a certain percentage of your traffic came from Facebook, but you won’t be able to tell which post, page, link, or ad it came from. This means companies know very few details about the sources driving their web traffic.

UTMs allow you to see exactly where your traffic is coming from in detail, and that will tell you which of your marketing efforts are working and which aren’t.

Here’s an overview of UTMs.

As an example, let’s use our homepage. This is the URL:


And this is our URL with a UTM attached (the long line of text after the .com):


Every UTM has a few different parts: the campaign medium, source, name, term, and content. Here are the different parts of the example above:

  • Campaign Name: product
  • Campaign Source: google
  • Campaign Medium: cpc
  • Campaign Content: mixpanel
  • Campaign Term: segmentation

Each part of the UTM has a specific purpose. Let’s review each one.

Campaign Name (utm_campaign): The Campaign Name identifies what you are driving traffic to, like the name of a specific product or campaign.

Campaign Source (utm_source): The Campaign Source refers to the source of the traffic, also called the referrer. For example, this could be Twitter, Google, or Outbrain. The Campaign Source is often the platform you used to create the content, like a post on Facebook.

Campaign Medium (utm_medium): The Campaign Medium is the specific marketing medium (post, tweet, banner ad, email, etc.) that the traffic came from. Combined with the Source information, you can tell exactly which ad, post, or email someone clicked on to get to your site.

Campaign Term – optional (utm_term): The Campaign Term allows you to track keywords, like paid (AdWords/Bing) keywords. Unlike Name, Source, and Medium, the Campaign Term is optional when creating a UTM.

Campaign Content – optional (utm_content): The Campaign Content refers to the content of the marketing medium. This can help you track two different ads that you run on the same channel (like Facebook), which is especially helpful when you’re doing an A/B test. Like the Campaign Term, Campaign Content is an optional part of the UTM tags you create.

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