Creating a utm Strategy in your Organization

Creating a utm Strategy in your Organization

If you’re not using utms in your marketing tactics (beyond your AdWords campaigns), it’s time to get started.

So what even are utms? Well, have you ever noticed that within the marketing emails you receive, some of the links appear to have an odd tail - something a robot might have written but not a human. Something like this…

WHOA! What the heck is all of that? Whelp, when implemented strategically, these links can be built, deployed, and analyzed in super cool ways.

First things first. What’s a utm?

From what I understand, the acronym stands for “urchin traffic monitor”, but don’t hold me to that. I think it was a name of the company that created the tracking functionality, and then Google purchased it and left the acronym as is. Or something like that. The thing to remember, is that a utm is part of a unique tracking mechanism used to identify and analyze pockets of traffic.

The Are Five Key Variables

Source. Medium. Campaign. Term. Content.

Source: Where the traffic comes from. For example, a digital ad or facebook.
Medium: The vehicle or method in which the traffic is routed. For example, an email, a podcast (yes, a podcast), social, or direct.
Campaign: Program or campaign name or theme.
Term: Primarily used in AdWords, however you can use this variable any way you like! I recommend A/B experiment information.
Content: Primarily used in AdWords, but the destination can be added here if it’s not clear in the url.

You can create additional variables in Google Analytics if you need to measure or segment differently, however, I’d suggest starting small and growing as the need arrises.

When creating your variables, DO!:

  • Include utm variables in links pointing to our site

  • Use all lowercase all the time*

  • Use an underscore for spaces ("_"). If you include actual spaces, Google Analytics will insert this ugly thing ("%20") as your space.

  • Use utms for non-traditional online marketing like print

  • Use underscores in place of spaces and hyphens for words containing hyphens

  • Keep it simple

*Unless you have filtering to prevent is from happening (you likely don’t), it’s inevitable someone will type Email into your medium variable. Well, Google sees “email” as a different value than “Email” or “e-mail” or even “E-Mail”. Use lowercase for all things all the time and you won’t have duplicate variable values.

When creating your variables, DON’T!:

  • Include utm variables in links pointing to other domains

  • Use CamelCase, UPPERCASE, or a miX of Both

  • Use utms for links already on our site

  • Use long hard to understand naming structure

Keep your naming conventions simple and consider where they should overlap for integrated campaigns. For example, if you were executing a President’s Day Sale, your campaign name might be utm_campaign=presidents_day_sale which can be shared for multiple tactics, but your links for digital ads would have a different source and medium.

Some Examples

Good utm_medium=email&utm_term =&utm_content=just-said- yes&utm_source=klaviyo


Bad category/activewear/clothes- activewear.jsp?
utm_content=routineart&cm_mmc=E mail-_-081615_athleisure-_- %23U00847239-_-routineart#/

Name utm_name Description Examples SFDC Fields
Source utm_source= Where traffic was referred from facebook, google, marketo, Origination Source
Medium utm_medium= The route or channel the traffic took to get to our domain direct, referral, email, social, organic, cpc, paid-media Lead Source
Campaign utm_campaign= Program or campaign theme or name. freemium_nurture Last Marketing Campaign
Term utm_term= Primarily an AdWords variable. Used in other campaigns to house A/B information control, treatment Target Audience Group
Content utm_content= Primarily an AdWords variable. Used in other campaigns to measure where the traffic was headed. The destination point. blog, help_center Destination Source/td>

Download your own simple utm builder here.

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