Build It. Track It. Analyze It. 
By: Samantha Scott


Wouldn’t you like to know which content on which social media channels were sending the most traffic to your website? Further, if you know images and video perform well, wouldn’t you like to know which campaign is sending the most traffic? By reviewing and understanding the analytics each social media platform provides coupled with UTM codes – you can.


UTM codes… A simple way to track exactly where traffic to your website is coming from and can easily be used by Google Analytics to measure, track and sort all data derived from these links. 


Why use UTM codes? Think about it this way: If you have 5 different sources pointing to 1 link (your website), UTM codes are the easiest and most efficient way to interpret which one is the most effective at driving traffic to your site, revenue associated, and the actions taken after they go to your site.


What are UTM codes? “UTM” stands for “Urchin Tracking Module.” Urchin Software Corporation was purchased by Google in 2005, and their software was the predecessor for what we now know as Google Analytics.


How do UTM codes work? By adding a specific set of parameters to your web link, the UTM codes are picked up by Google Analytics and can be sorted into a variety of reports. UTM codes will not affect the link in any way, nor will they affect anything on your website.


It is recommended that you set standards for your company so that every UTM code is built the same way. If the wording does not match, it will not populate correctly in Google Analytics.


The breakdown:

Build your UTM Code here:


Website URL (required)

The full website URL (i.e.


Campaign Source (required)

The referrer: the source of the click. Be as specific as possible. (e.g. Facebook, email, Instagram, Boating Industry magazine, etc). Note, no spaces can be included.


Campaign Medium (required)

Marketing medium: What they clicked on from the source. General. (e.g. PPC, social ad, blog).


Campaign Name (not required, but highly recommended)

Campaign identifier: It MUST be the same for all codes generated for the specific campaign (e.g. MDCE17, Subscription_Renewal, etc.). Again, note, no spaces can be included so either combine the words or use an underscore.


Campaign Term (not required, can use as alternative source of information)

Identify the paid keywords in paid search (boat dealers, marine retail, Orlando, South Florida, etc.)


Campaign Content (not required, but helpful with multiple ads for the same thing)

Use to differentiate ads: If you have more than one ad for a campaign from the same source (e.g. for 2 banner sizes - 728x90 and 300x350 web banners both on Boating Industry’s website: 728banner, 300banner; OR two Facebook ads running at once for the same promotion, but different format to see what performs better: carousel, static)


For example, we’re use some dummy UTM codes that we would use with one of our clients, Cornerstone Builders. Here you can see the difference of code/link usage for the same source:


  1. XYZ Dealer is running 2 social media ads on Facebook: 1 is a video, 1 is a static image, both promoting the upcoming June Sales Event. UTM codes as follows:



  1. XYZ Dealer is posting social media updates on Facebook promoting the upcoming June Model Release. UTM codes as follows: &utm_medium=Social_post


Note: in both campaigns, Facebook is the constant source, JuneSalesEvent is the constant campaign, however, we changed the medium (where they clicked from) and the content (differentiator), removing content completely from the post, as it wasn’t necessary.


Once established, campaigns can easily be sorted in Google Analytics and measured, and analyzed for efficiency. In the example below, analytics are sorted Sessions, so the person pulling the report can easily analyze what campaign is driving the most traffic and where they are coming from.




UTM codes offer powerful insight into consumer interest and preferences. They’re easy to create and will give you greater ability to determine what content and what type of content motivates your consumers. That’s some social media ROI!


Editor’s Note: The Marine Dealer Conference & Expo will take place December 10-13, 2017 in Orlando, Fla. If you find value in this blog post, just think of the value you could receive at MDCE.

Get registered here.

Copyright 2018 by Marine Retailers Association of the Americas