Why use a UTM code builder?

Last updated: 3/7/2019

What is a UTM builder?
How does a UTM campaign builder work?
What do I need from a UTM code builder?
Should I look for a free UTM code generator?

As analytics platforms get more sophisticated and marketing campaigns become more tightly focused, being able to track exactly where your data is coming from becomes all the more essential. Staying competitive requires a combination of conducting manual data analysis and employing automated tools such as tracking URLs. Among the most valuable of those tools are UTM tracking codes.

What is a UTM builder?

A “UTM” is an “Urchin Tracking Module,” a reference to a company called Urchin that originated the campaign tracking method. Urchin was purchased by Google in 2005 and incorporated into the suite of tools that eventually became Google Analytics. In the most basic terms, a UTM tag, also known as a UTM parameter, is a short tracking code added to the end of a URL. A UTM builder is a software that automatically generates URLs including those tags.

UTMs are used largely in connection with marketing reports and ad campaigns. UTM tracking makes it easy to identify traffic sources and determine which campaigns are proving most effective. Attaching specific campaign parameters to the end of a custom website URL allows data analysts to track which links generate the most activity. Any time people click on a UTM-tagged campaign URL, the UTM code sends a referral to your analytics tool. This allows you to quickly see which ads, social media campaigns, blog posts, and marketing efforts resonate with your audience.

How does a UTM campaign builder work?

Using a UTM code builder such as the one offered by Siteimprove Analytics is a surprisingly simple process. It’s as easy as entering your website URL into a form field, then filling in the relevant UTM fields related to your campaign. The UTM builder then generates a new URL complete with a relevant UTM tag. (A quick note on best practices for creating custom campaign URLs: use plain-language keywords, try to match your URL to your title, and keep it brief—short URLs are usually better for SEO.)

Here are the five key parameters to consider when using a campaign URL builder:

  • Campaign source

Campaign source is the source that generates the traffic you’re trying to track. Referring to websites, social media platforms, third-party vendors, search engines, or any other places that send users in your direction are campaign sources.

  • Campaign medium

Campaign medium refers to the specific type of links referring data to your analytics tool. Links embedded in an email, ad campaigns like pop-ups or banners, and cost-per-click campaigns like Google AdWords are examples of campaign mediums.

  • Campaign name

Campaign name is the name of the particular marketing campaign for which you’re using the URL builder. For example, “Fall clearance sale” “Site launch promo,” or “Customer rewards coupon” can be campaign names.

  • Campaign term

This field mainly encompasses keywords used in cost-per-click campaigns.

  • Campaign content

Campaign content is used primarily when two or more content variations direct traffic to the same tracking URL. It’s a useful field for testing different markets, designs, content, or for running A/B testing for campaign versioning.  

To illustrate, if you’re building a UTM code to track a monthly email coupon sent out to FakeStore.com rewards members, you might start by entering the URL:

fakestore.com/coupon

You could then add the campaign name “februaryrewards”, the campaign source “email”, and the campaign medium “link”. The finished, UTM-coded URL would look like this:

fakestore.com/coupon?utm_campaign=februaryrewards&utm_source=email&utm_medium=link

What do I need from a UTM code builder?

To put it simply, if you’re at all interested in improving your analytics, a URL builder with UTM capabilities just makes sense. While there are many options online, including a number of free UTM code generators, it’s best to look for an option that coordinates easily with a reliable analytics suite.

A paid tool such as the Campaigns feature of Siteimprove Analytics provides an easy-to-use UTM builder that is designed to integrate seamlessly with an array of analytics. By pairing your UTM data with other metrics tracking your users’ behavior and their paths around your website, you gain a wealth of insights to help you plan more effective marketing and advertising campaigns for the future.

Should I look for a free UTM code generator?

While there are plenty of free UTM code generators out there, there is more to the UTM process than just cranking out custom URLs. Ideally, your UTM generator should be closely tied to your analytics. URL builders are, after all, a means to the end of gathering more relevant analytics data.

Ideally, you should integrate your UTM links with robust analytics tools that make it easier to put your data in the proper context. By combining UTM data with related resources like behavior maps and user journeys, you start streamlining your marketing channels and strengthening your reports. The bottom line: if you want to improve your marketing analytics efforts, a UTM code generator is a must-have resource.