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So what’s the big fuss about UTM codes?

Well, first things first. Google is, if we’re talking about it like a person, one of the most intelligent companies in the world. This is in terms of the data they collect, their internal processes and the way they’ve revolutionized Internet usage. Right?

Here’s the thing though: when you are dealing with machines instead of people, there’s going to be some room for error. Instead of really calling it error, think about it as, you have a machine operating instead of a person so that machine will not make the same choices a person would make.

So when you look at your Google Analytics data and you see a ton of direct or unidentified traffic that doesn’t seem to have a source, this is a problem. For many of us, this massive amount of direct data encapsulates much of our traffic, and if we could figure out how to attribute it to a source, we could make better marketing decisions.

This is where UTM code comes in. Many of us look at Google link tracking and think of it as some burdensome thing we just don’t want to deal with. The idea of copy and pasting a line of code or appending a bunch of letters to a URL when we’re posting on Facebook makes our links seem messy. And just in terms of the culture of the way we use the Internet, we don’t want links to be messy. This is why link shortening services such as or exist in the first place.

Here’s the thing though: even when you are actually shortening a link, you can include that appended UTM code to a link before you shorten it, and your work is then done.

It’s really important to get into the habit of appending code to your URL so that Google will more intelligently pick up your traffic and let you know where data is coming from. Let me give you an example.

We recently did some work with a chiropractor who was very keen to increase his organic results. He told us over and over again, “I had almost 75% more organic traffic last year, which resulted in about 20% more business for me. That 20% of extra business made all the difference and we are actually down from last year.”

When we dug into his Google Analytics, the traffic that he was referring to as organic was actually direct traffic that was unlabeled. After carefully digging into all his advertising accounts and getting an idea of what he was working with, it became clear that the missing traffic was coming from a series of Facebook ads he’d run the previous summer.

He’d been working with a contractor for a long time who was trying to increase his organic traffic and doing a fairly decent job, yet he fired this contractor because the foot traffic wasn’t increasing. Neither of them had really dug into analytics properly to see what the actual issue was.

So, let’s go ahead and introduce you to the UTM code so we can save you these kinds of problems:

Learn it. Live it. Love it!

Join us next week and we’ll dive a little deeper into how this code actually works and how you can use it in your URLs.

Contact Alex for an Analytics Audit!

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