Thursday, April 25, 2013

On target, and tracking

 By Lee Clark, President, Nye & Associates

The U.S. military uses this term when targets are engaged, whether they are friend or foe. The same term could be used in marketing. Are you effectively targeting and tracking results from your online advertising campaigns using Google Analytics and UTM tags? What’s a UTM tag you ask?

UTM tags are helpful for identifying where traffic comes from, especially if the traffic comes via a banner ad or other source without referrer data. UTM tags should not be used for direct HTML links, as they pass referrer data automatically to Google Analytics. Instead, UTM tags should be used for PPC, ad campaigns, email campaigns and other links that don’t pass referrer data.

A UTM tag is a tracking marker appended to a URL, and is recognized by Google Analytics as a dimension, just like average time on site, for example. UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. In 2005, Google purchased Urchin and rebranded it Google Analytics.

Here is an example URL with UTM tags:

Common parameters include:

  • Campaign Source: utm_source; usually the site, such as Facebook or blog
  • Campaign Medium: (utm_medium; how the link was published, such as a banner ad or tweet
  • Campaign Term: (utm_term; to identify the paid keywords for search campaigns
  • Campaign Content: (utm_content; use to differentiate ads
  • Campaign Name: (utm_name; for ad campaign names, such as ‘FacebookMay2012′ or ‘sedanbannerad’
UTM tags can be used in almost any type of marketing campaign, from PPC advertising to social sharing. However, if a user copy and pastes a link with UTM tags and uses it in a different medium (e.g. Copying a hyperlink from an email newsletter and sharing it via Twitter), the link’s original UTM tags may be maintained.  Additionally, UTM tags don’t have to be used in Google Adwords campaigns – just enable auto-tagging of links.

For all your marketing needs, including Internet and mobile marketing, we invite you get in touch with us (and yes, we just used a UTM tag for tracking).

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