A UTM code is a tool that advertisers who rely on Google Analytics can use to further understand the source of their web traffic ― including clicks that come directly from their display ads. And while we always caution against putting too much emphasis on measuring the click as the only value generated by a display ad (because of course, people who view the ads and don’t click also find themselves coming to the business’s website or physical location) it can help advertisers understand which ads are generating traffic. So, what are these UTM codes and how might they benefit an advertiser doing display advertising? A UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) code is a simple piece of HTML code that can be attached to a custom URL for the purpose of tracking a source, medium, and campaign name. When someone clicks the URL that includes the UTM code, that information is sent back to Google Analytics for tracking purposes. GA can then report where visitors came from, as well as what campaigns directed them to the website.

Here’s what one looks like:


UTM codes are commonly used to track everything from display ads to social media posts to paid search campaigns and even offline advertisements like newspaper, radio and television. (These traditional medias require a vanity URL for each offline campaign that redirects that URL to an assigned forwarding address.) Bottom line, when a user clicks a link that includes UTM parameters, Google Analytics can be used to see exactly where the click came from.