Where Is My Website Traffic Coming From and WTF is UTM Tracking?

When months of hard work finally pays off and your trickle of website visitors turns to a flood, it’s time to do a happy dance 🥳. Systematically sending high quality traffic to your site *is* the goal of a well-orchestrated content and social media marketing program, but knowing exactly where traffic is coming from and which activities are responsible for it can be tricky. Luckily, there’s a solution with UTM Tracking and Google Analytics. Here are actions you can take to help you understand what marketing activities are driving the most traffic to your website. 

Knowing What Content Drove Traffic To Your Website

First thing’s first: to properly track traffic going to your website, you need to be using Google Analytics. Using a snippet of code (similar to a Facebook Pixel) that is installed on your website, Google Analytics provides information about the user that  is visiting. This is important because Google and Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and all the other social media platforms don’t exactly play nice together when it comes to sharing detailed information about the visitors sent from a platform to a website. The good news is that Google Analytics provides a simple way to track traffic from social media that works for both organic and paid traffic using tags that you add to a URL called UTM parameters

UTM Tracking: What It Is and How It Works

UTM parameters, short for Urchin Traffic Monitor, are text (a snippet of unique code) added to the end of a URL. This code tells Google Analytics a little bit of information about where each link is coming from, consisting of five main components,  In context, a link with UTM tracking looks like this:

https://URL.com/page/?utm_source=convertkit&utm_medium=email&utm_term=email-headline&utm_content=blog_link&utm_campaign=product

That probably looks like a hot mess, but once you wrap your head around what information is actually being provided, it all makes sense. There’s a few major steps on how to create these types of links and implement this tracking and thankfully, friend of Strong Brand Social and Certified Measurement Marketer, Jennifer Grayeb, CEO of The Nimble Co., shared a massively helpful and informative training session to our membership community to help us understand the basics of Google Analytics and UTM tracking.

How Proper Tracking Can Impact Your Business

When we help Google, Google helps us. UTMs give Google a level of detail that helps us be confident in knowing what is working and what is not. Here are a few specific examples of how measuring results using Google Analytics can impact practical business and marketing decisions.

  • Use Google Analytics quarterly to identify your highest-traffic blogs. Audit them to confirm that they are actually promoting your own products, that the content is still current, and that there’s a clear CTA included in every blog. This is also a great way to identify new content opportunities based on gaps in highly trafficked subjects that have a limited amount of related content published on your site. And if you don’t have your own matching product to promote in a given blog, you can always find an affiliate and plug their product!
  • Evaluate big spending decisions based on data, not hunches. Instead of moving forward with a $10k landing page redesign and copywriting project to boost lagging conversions,check out Google Analytics first to see if anything is off about how the traffic is interacting with the site. Are people only staying on your landing page for 12 seconds instead of several minutes, like you might expect? This could be a clue that they’re leaving the page completely before they even have a chance to take your offer!
  • Monitor your conversions and evaluate contractor relationships. You might figure out that after four months of working with a Pinterest specialist that even though re-pins and likes are through the roof, there’ve only been 15 total clicks sent to your site with zero actual sales. Might be time to make a change.

In all these examples, you can use the data to measure results and then change behavior. That’s the power of data that’s “clean” and reliable.

It’s Never Too Late To Start

Our team at Strong Brand Social is still working on implementing UTM’s across the board. So, speaking from experience: you’re not behind if you’ve never done proper link tracking and it’s okay to start today. Remember that it’s progress over perfection 

Progress is our goal (not perfection). Two places that you can start using UTM parameters right now  without feeling overwhelmed: 

  1. Emails – if you have automated email sequences that deliver your onboarding and evergreen content, update the links you’re using to send people to your site to be UTMs. This content isn’t going anywhere and is already live, so update these first to start tracking.
  2. Organic Social Media – next time you post a link to your site, whether it’s to a blog, product page or a lead magnet, create your link with proper UTM parameters! Paid can come later as it’s a bit of a bigger lift, so starting with organic posts is an easy way to start practicing.

Please DON’T get hung up and think that you have to go back in time and redo all the links you’ve ever created. You don’t. Focus forward with new links and in time, you’ll be in good shape.

We love a brand that takes massive action first and optimizes second. Solving problems in the right order is half that battle, friends! 

In your corner,

Katie

PS If you’re ravenous for even more info on measuring the business impact from social media, please check out the Measurement Model module inside Strong Brand Social Express!

KW Content is a global content and social media marketing agency that develops and launches content and social media programs for purpose-driven brands. Strong Brand Social is our favorite place to hang out! That’s where we provide the absolute best (and most accessible) social media marketing education that empowers small brands to develop their own high-performing marketing programs that are guaranteed to drive growth. Teaching from our proven agency methodologies, we simplify the process and demystify the art of social media marketing to offer focus, efficiency, and measurable results to small business owners, brand directors, and social media marketers. [Learn more.]

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