How to Create Trackable Links, and Why You Should
Being able to attribute a traffic source on the internet is essential for any marketer who cares about data. Having trackable links means you can determine how people are finding your pages if you don't have access to analytics from something like Google Analytics.
A trackable link is usually referred to as a UTM link or a link that has UTM parameters. UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module, but you will only ever hear the acronym. This adds tags to a link that can help you label links based on where you're posting them.
Why are Trackable Links Useful?
Let's say you're posting a link to something - a video, a blog, or a landing page - and you want to post it on multiple social media platforms. You may want to know how successful each platform was, and if there are any you should put more focus on. With trackable links, you can create a unique link for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, then easily see which platform was the best.
How to Create Trackable Links
Google Analytics has a Campaign URL Builder tool for creating custom URLs that have parameters. There are a lot of parameters to make the links easier to understand at a glance, including the source (the most important piece of detail), the medium, and a name.
The Downside of UTM Codes
Trackable links using UTM codes are great, until someone copies and pastes one to a different source (like taking your Facebook link and posting it on Twitter). There are ways to strip out the UTM parameters once a link is copied, but then traffic from those sources will show up as direct traffic in your analytics. So as long as you don't think of UTM links as the ultimate solution, you can use them effectively.