A UTM code is a basic snippet of code added to the end of your URL to assist with tracking the performance of content and social media campaigns. There are 5 URL parameters available for tracking, including: Content, term, campaign, medium and source.
The dimensions you follow through your UTM codes appear in your analytics reports, giving you a more precise overview of your marketing performance. Google’s URL builder offers a quick way to create UTM codes. All you need to do is add your website address and choose your campaign parameters.

The components of a UTM code

A UTM code will look like this:


UTM codes are split into two components:

  • The Tracking variable: A unique code or that identifies the dimension being tracked (such as the social media site you’re earning traffic from)
  • UTM Parameter: The source, campaign, content, term, or medium you’re tracking.

What does a UTM code track?

As mentioned above, there are many different parameters available to track with UTM codes. Here’s the information available on each tracking code:

  • Traffic Source: With the source parameter, you’ll find out exactly where your traffic came from. UTM_Source will show, for instance, which of your social accounts receives the most attention. Example: &utm_source=Instagram
  • Medium: The Medium parameter tracks what kind of content your visitor came to you from. Example: &utm_medium=social
  • Campaign name: With the campaign name option, you’ll track the performance of a specific strategy in your marketing plans. For instance, you might use this parameter to evaluate the difference in impact between two Facebook campaigns. Example: &utm_campaign=facebook-campaign-1
  • Content: If you have multiple links that are all sending users to the same URL, the content parameter will track which link drove the most traffic. Example: &utm_content=linkoption
  • Keyword term: Finally, with the term parameter, you’ll track which keyword your website visitor found you with. Example &utm_term=what-is-a-utm-code

Benefits of using a UTM code

A UTM code is a powerful way to track additional information about your campaigns through Google Analytics. However, if you have a long-standing campaign that you need to track for a long period, it’s often easier to use a social media publishing tool like Sprout, with URL tracking built-in.

With constant access to URL tracking solutions, you’ll be able to:

  • See where your website traffic is coming from and increase your investments in the right area.
  • Know which links customers are clicking in a campaign and optimize your call to action content.
  • Examine the impact of each campaign and learn more about which social channels your customers are present on.

Before UTM codes, it was challenging to track content variables in A/B testing. However, with a tool like Sprout Social and a basic knowledge of UTM parameters, you can be in the driver’s seat of every campaign.