UTM Tracking for Nonprofit Digital Marketing Success
Everyone by now has heard of UTM tracking, but many nonprofits still neglect to do it or have adopted it incorrectly. Whether it scares you away because you hear the word “coding” or simply are too stubborn to go the extra step, UTM coding needs to become an essential component of your nonprofit digital marketing strategy.
What is UTM Tracking?
Google refers to UTM tracking as “campaigns,” and gives you the ability to create “custom campaigns” that you can track in Google Analytics. These “custom campaigns” are also known as UTM tracking.
According to Google “Custom Campaigns can help you find out how referral traffic arrives at your content, so you can identify the most effective ways to attract more users.” UTM codes provide you with data about referral traffic, not just the source it was sent from. A custom campaign can be created with Google’s URL builder.
Google categorizes the code by campaign source, medium, term, content, and name. UTM tracking allows you to add codes into URLs to help track content on your website and the referral path a user took. Google has created an easy UTM builder tool (see above), that allows you to create UTM tracking codes without any HTML experience. (Anyone can create one!) UTM tracking allows you to differentiate between social media platforms and types of content that nonprofits need to measure in order to analyze their nonprofit digital marketing success.
UTM tracking gives you referral information that Google Analytics can not otherwise provide . Google Analytics can tell you how someone was referred to your site, for example Facebook. However, Google Analytics can not tell you if a user was referred from a Facebook Ad, Post, or URL unless UTM tracking codes are implemented. UTM tracking will allow you to know exactly how users are coming to your site. Additionally, it can be used for A/B testing, by coding links in specific locations which allow your nonprofit to see which locations work best.
How to Create a UTM Tracking Code
Creating a UTM code is easy! Go to Google’s URL builder and simply create a code for your campaign. Remember spelling and capitalization matter. If you are running an on going campaign or ad, you will want to use the same UTM codes in order to track the campaign. Organizations should set guidelines across departments in order to have synchronized tracking, otherwise data points will be reported in multiple different locations.
How to Analyze Google Analytics Reports
Now, you’ve created a UTM code, how do you find the report?
- Go to Acquisition, select a referral source.
- Use “secondary dimensions” and select campaign, this will sort your referral sources.
- Select other, and choose ad content, this will continue to drill down your results.
Below is an example of Media Cause’s referral sources. Internally we use “campaign content” to allow us to differentiate who’s twitter handle is referring the most traffic (see example above). We can tell that 438 sessions were caused by a tweet sent on Twitter and 78 sessions were caused by LinkedIn Posts. Without using UTM tracking the source would just be Twitter or LinkedIn as a referral source. There would be no way of knowing where on Twitter or LinkedIn these users are coming from.
Below you can see that out of the 438 recorded tweets on Twitter, 275 of those came from Media Cause’s handle and 80 of them came from Cody’s. If this was a campaign and you were tracking ads, this data would be able to tell you which ads were more effective. Ultimately, allowing you to measure your nonprofit’s digital marketing success on that specific campaign.
If you have UTM Tracking questions feel free to comment below or to reach out to us on Twitter at [at]mediacause. Need digital marketing help? Send us an email at connect[at]mediacause[dot]org.