Every aspect of our user journeys are tracked online with the information being used to make a better end product for us the users. When it comes to consuming content online the end user (consumer) has a number of different options in how to actually get to the content they want. They can arrive via social links, Google Adwords campaigns or email newsletters.

When Netflix was first launched in Ireland my girlfriend and I both signed up for accounts, but after realising that we only needed one account I deactivated mine. I’d receive emails from Netflix every couple of months asking me to sign up again.

Watching Netflix on TV

We consume online content across multiple devices such as a tablet, games consoles, smartphone and smart TV. As a frequent devourer of TV box sets, I have worked my way through pretty much everything worth watching on Netflix as well as some shows which I had wished I never started.

Each time I log into Netflix I am met with a new suggestion on what to watch and nine times out of ten what Netflix suggests something random and not to my taste. But after a period of time these options change up and new shows are added, old ones are removed while others are reintroduced.

Changing content based on user experience and behaviour could be considered one of the key aspects of the ongoing success of Netflix as a content provider. Although I’ve not resigned up to Netflix I still access their content via our other account with my the top picks for her showing a multitude of poor decisions in relation to 1990’s buddy cop films.

So how does this have anything to do with inbound marketing you might be wonder? Well, Netflix is a paragon of big data usage when it comes to content creation and output. They track everything to create a system where normal TV is being slowly left behind to people with boxset addictions. Each touch point that the consumer interacts with the company’s message is tracked to create a better product and user experience.

Tracking the consumer interactions has become more important than ever for online marketers but what if you don’t have the budget of Netflix.  Can you still track the usefulness of your campaigns?

Of course, you can and it is vitally important especially if you have spent a long time creating brilliant content and put in place campaign KPI’s.

What Are UTM Tracking Codes?

One of the best ways to track how and when your content is consumed is to tag it using UTM codes. Have you ever noticed that the URL that you landed opened for a link in a newsletter or from Twitter is longer than you imagined it should be? This is because the site is using UTM parameters which are the most commonly used tracking references to properly categorise where your website visitors came from. Tracking URLs are used when you’re directing traffic to a landing page from somewhere other than a call-to-action on your own site, like a newsletter, PPC campaign, banner ad, and so forth.

There are a number of tools that you can use to create and track this tags such as Buffer and Google Analytics with analytics being the most popular tool used. Google Analytics is a content marketers friend and UTM codes are their BFF’s. Both provide evidence of the success and failure of campaigns and should be utilised as much as possible. Here are 6 things that we at Learn Inbound think you should know about UTM codes.

1. They are easy to set up. You just need a linked Google account and then you need to go to https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1033867?hl=en

2. You can track anything you want depending on your requirements including links in your email signature to your website, traffic to particular landing pages etc.

3. Once here you just need to fill in the details as they relate to your campaign in the below generator box.

4. Once you have entered all the required information in the generator you will get a UTM code similar to the following.

Create UTM URL5. Attach the link to your chosen method of delivery i.e. Google Adwords campaign, social sharing or email newsletter.

6. Now go to Google analytics and to the following section: Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns you will now see any clicks on these tags as you have set them up.

UTM tracking codes are an inbound marketer’s best friend because they allow you to identify, with quantifiable data, which one of your campaigns are actually working and returning on your investment. So next time you start watching an Adam Sandler movie on Netflix or clicking on a link in an email newsletter keep in mind that your click has more of an impact on what you will get in the future than you might have first thought.

Let us know in the comment section below how you’ve utilised UTM tracking codes to successfully track your inbound marketing efforts.

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