What does UTM code stand for? 

by | Jul 26, 2020

UTM stand for Urchin Traffic Monitor.

In case this is confusing, Urchin Tracking was a predecessor to Google Analytics, and the UTM codes are just a way for easily tracking traffic to specific URLs in Analytics. A UTM code looks as follows: 

Base URL (without UTM): 

https://corkboardconcepts.com/

URL with UTM: 

https://corkboardconcepts.com/?utm_source=Blog&utm_medium=Text_Link&utm_campaign=Website_Test&utm_term=UTM_Code&utm_content=Common_Acronyms 

Understanding UTMs

UTM codes offer a way to easily pass back information to analytics without making any noticeable differences to the user on the website. By default there are 5 UTM variables to pass back information on, which includes:

  • Campaign Source
  • Campaign Medium
  • Campaign Name
  • Campaign Term
  • Campaign Content

UTM codes explained by corkboard concepts

All of these different variables are seen in the URL with “UTM_” prior. The first UTM will have a ? or # prior to it.

Note: If a url was using a dynamic attribute prior to the UTM, it won’t be able to start with a question mark and will likely use an and-sign, “&”, to signal the start of the UTM. If you are in doubt about the makeup of your URL, it is advisable to use Google’s free tool for generating UTM codes for URLs as it will automatically mark this up for you. 

UTM codes offer a number of tracking measures that are then seamlessly integrated into Google Analytics. Instead of being placed in “Referral Traffic”, the traffic source is then placed into “Campaign” traffic or under “Other” in the general grouping. 

UTM Codes In Practice:

This is particularly helpful for Programmatic Display Advertising where a banner ad can show up on any number of websites. When this happens you can use the UTM codes to indicate what the particular targeting, creative and more was so that you can better understand the performance of the campaign. 

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