UTM Codes are a great way to see the results of your offline marketing.

As consumers, we’re hit with so many marketing messages that we may not even notice them all, but as marketing professionals, knowing how to track results for your online and offline campaigns is extremely important for measuring which marketing efforts are working for your company… or not.

One fantastic way to track your results is to use UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes. This simple technique can link your marketing practices to Google Analytics and give you the data you need to support an idea or switch gears to try something else. 

What is a UTM code?

A UTM code is a simple code that you can attach to a custom URL in order to track a source, medium, and campaign name. This enables Google Analytics to tell you where searchers came from as well as what campaign directed them to you. This can be used in a variety of campaigns, including tracking email marketing, paid search, and more.

A common use of UTM code is to create a vanity URL for each offline campaign, and then redirect that URL to whatever forwarding address you assign to it — most likely your main domain. This will give you the ability to track how a weekly newspaper ad, coupon, radio ad, or TV commercial is working without having to create custom landing pages for each campaign.

Keep Tabs on Every Message

By creating a separate UTM code for TV commercials and print ads, for example, you can get data on which generates more traffic, conversions, etc. Furthermore, you can track not only the source and the medium (radio, newspaper, coupon, etc.), but even individual campaign names like “Fall Chevy Sale.”

There are also some other values you can add to your code to monitor terms you are going after, or even specific content. Terms can include keywords like “gym shoes,” “chicago deep dish pizza,” or any other paid terms you are targeting. For content you may monitor two different ads that include the same message but different text to see which performs better.

If You Build It, They Will Come

Once you know the values you want to track, you can simply go to Google’s URL Builder, enter these values into the parameters, click “generate URL,” and bam, you are set. The wonderful thing about UTM codes is that you can change the code whenever you like to adjust the medium, month you may be running something, or any other factors you need tweaked.

Here is an example of what a UTM code may look like:


As you see, this is a newspaper ad running in October in the Chicago Tribune and is for a Chicago PPC sale. Going forward it would be a piece of cake to change the month for the campaign, the company I am running this with, and the focus of my sale.

Spend Wisely

In Google Analytics you can now track your offline campaign without building a whole new website for your vanity URL by looking in the Standard Reporting section, then in Traffic Sources, then Sources, and finally by clicking on Campaigns. In this section you should see the name of your Campaign followed by how well you are doing for a certain ad or strategy. The value and limits to this type of tracking are only limited by your imagination. Now you can tell your client or boss with exact data if their $20,000 radio ad or $10,000 newspaper ad is worth running every month.

Ready for More Effective Campaigns?

At LDM, our goal is to help you grow through smart, strategic campaigns that maximize every dollar and boost your business. We’re here to guide you on all-things digital marketing, including social media, SEO and SEM, and more. Need answers? Start a conversation with our marketing experts by opening the chat box on the right to get the insights rolling, or for more information on ways to improve your marketing effectiveness, contact the Chicago internet marketing experts at Launch Digital Marketing today!


This is a Screen Shot of the Google UTM Builder

This is a Screen Shot of the Google UTM Builder

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