Using UTM codes

Modified on Wed, 26 Jul 2023 at 03:21 PM

Do you know which campaign or marketing action attracts the most visitors to your website? Whether these campaigns are indeed having the success you expect?

Everyone knows that articles on social media, Google Ads or other CPC campagness bring in visitors, but how much and what is subsequently done by those visitors on your site is far from clear.

To measure how your campaign or other references to your website are working, you use UTM codes. These are universally used and supported by (almost) all web analytics tools. Also in Snoobi Analytics, and Snoobi’s support for advertising codes is more extensive than in many other tools.

What is a UTM code?

A UTM code is a piece of code that you add to the end of the URL. Once someone clicks on a URL with a UTM code, you can see in Snoobi Analytics how that visitor arrived at your web page.

This allows you to measure the performance of your various campaigns within Snoobi Analytics.

The abbreviation UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. Urchin was a Web analytics program from the beginning of this century and this encoding has been in common use since then.

A UTM code consists of several UTM parameters.

  • Campaign Source (utm_source)
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium)
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign)
  • Campaign Term (utm_term)
  • Campaign Content (utm_content)

What does a UTM code look like?

A UTM code can look like this in the URL:

The part in RED in this case is the UTM coding. This code tells that the person who clicked on this link came from Bing (utm_source) and that a CPC ad (utm_medium) was clicked on. The name of the campaign (utm_campaign) is 'sale_2023'.

Why use UTM codes?

Picture this. You have a marketing agency that sells online training courses. To get more people on a mailing list, you wrote an article with some marketing tips.

You decide to promote the article through an outside magazine's newsletter as well as through Facebook. In both ads, you refer to the same landing page where people can read the article and leave their email address.

So how will you measure how many signups each individual channel ultimately generates? To accomplish that, you need put in separate UTM coding so that you can assign incoming clicks to each individual channel.

But in the end, it is not about the number of clicks, it is about the number of signups. Thanks to UTM codes, Snoobi Analytics allows you to see not only how many clicks an incoming link has generated, but also how many conversions.

What UTM parameters are there?

You create a UTM code using different UTM parameters. There are a total of five different parameters.

UTM parameter




Campaign Source (utm_source)


google, facebook, newsletter, etc..

Use utm_source to indicate what platform visitors are coming from.

Campaign Medium (utm_medium)


email, search engine, social media

Use utm_medium to indicate the medium used

Campaign Name (utm_campaign)



Use utm_campaign to identify the name of the marketing campaign.

Campaign Term (utm_term)

No (*)


Use utm_term e.g. to track the keyword of paid search campaigns.

Campaign Content (utm_content)

No (*)

logo, button, text block

For example, utm_content is useful if you use A/B testing, or if you place the same link in multiple places in a newsletter.

(*) Campaign Term and Campaign Content are optional, the other three are required parameters.

Creating UTM codes and some tips

There are several ways to create UTM-codes. You can of course do this manually, but we strongly advise against it as errors are quickly made.
 There are many online tools and spreadsheets to create your UTM codes, some simple, some complex where you can even maintain an overview of historic codes. There is also an option to generate the code in Snoobi's settings under 'Settings | Advertising | Generate Ad Link'.

Whatever method you choose, it is important to realize you cannot use spaces or special characters. You may need to coordinate with others and create a structure for your organization. We often encounter the UTM-codes are used inconsistently which does not help with analytics metrics. Here are some tips for each of the 3 required parameters:

UTM parameter

Usage Tips

Campaign Source (utm_source)

Keep it short, but descriptive and identical for identical sources. So not 'Google Ad' as well as 'Google_ad'

Campaign Medium (utm_medium)

Snoobi has a fixed list that can be used, but you can of course add your own. Do not add the actual campaign name here. Consistency is key here as well.

Campaign Name (utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify the name of the marketing campaign. Some structure helps you to later filter and combine. For instance using 'Summersale' without adding the year is less helpful than using 'Summersale2023' in addition to the 'Summersale2022' you used the year before. By using Snoobi's wildcard filter you can still combine all 'Summersale..' but also zoom in on a specific year.


Is the analysis on UTM codes always complete and exact?

While UTM codes are generally reliable, there are a few reasons why analytics based on UTM codes may not always be exact. Here are the three main reasons:

  1. User Behavior: UTM codes rely on users clicking on a specific tracked link. However, users may not always click on the designated link or they use software or a browser plugin that removes or alters the UTM codes. Visitors may also share the complete URL including UTM-codes on a different platform, for instance when sharing URLs they received in an e-mail or social media. 
  2. Technical limitations, such as infrastructure problems like server errors, delays, or browsers removing parameters. These all will cause discrepancies in analytics. 
  3. Manual errors, like typos, missing parameters, or inconsistent naming conventions, can cause discrepancies when setting up UTM codes and impact tracking accuracy. It is important to adhere to best practices and implement consistent UTM codes to minimize these errors.

Overall, the error margin is sufficiently small to allow for a good analytics level. But do not be suprised if the link with UTM-codes you have created in a newsletter ends up as an incoming link from LinkedIn, or when you see a CPC-advertising link from 2021 appears in your 2023 analytics report!

An example where UTM codes are important

Email remains the most profitable form of communication globally.

If you don't use UTM-codes in your email marketing or include them in the links in your email signature, you won't know the source of your website traffic.

UTM coding (or the Snoobi Ad Code), helps identify and collect valuable traffic data that will  otherwise go unnoticed.

Emails require advertising codes to accurately track traffic. Without these codes, the traffic will simply be categorized as 'Direct Traffic' or 'Unknown' due to the various tools used to read emails, which provide different data to Snoobi Analytics. 

There are multiple ways individuals can access and read your email messages.

  • When users access their email through desktop or mobile devices using tools like Mail or Microsoft Outlook, the traffic appears as "Direct" in Snoobi.
  • Users access their emails through a browser-based email reader, which is encrypted and will appear as 'unknown'.

This means that even if all the traffic is from the same email you sent, you won't be able to identify which specific email it is based on the metrics. 

Even worse, it probably looks like email doesn't really perform at all.
By utilizing UTM- or Snoobi Ad codes, you can accurately attribute emails in Snoobi Analytics to determine the specific results they yielded.



A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generatedWhere to find the UTM codes in Snoobi Analytics?

All the elements from the UTM codes can be separately viewed and reported in the Web Analytics | Advertisement menu.
There is also an option in the Settings menu for administrators to help you create the advertising codes.
And if you want to only view traffic from a specific click, then you can filter all incoming user sessions in the Segmentation menu.

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