Taking Digital Analysis Courses? A Brief Guide to Tracking Codes and How to Use Them

A key part of a digital marketing professional’s role is creating campaigns and accurately monitoring their progress. Without this additional step, digital marketers would be unable to optimize their messaging—significantly impacting the effectiveness of their campaign. 

By using various tracking codes, digital marketers are able to monitor a wide range of campaigns and activities. This provides them with valuable insight into user behaviour, giving them a better understanding of what resonates and connects with their target audience. Examples of popular tracking codes include UTM codes as well as Pixels. This blog will take a closer look at these popular tracking codes and introduce ways in which you can use them efficiently in your digital marketing career. 

Understanding How UTM Codes Work in Digital Marketing

UTM Codes stand for Urchin Tracking Module, which refers to bits of code located at the end of a URL. These bits of code are particularly useful, allowing digital marketers to track the effectiveness of their campaigns while also identifying traffic sources to specific websites. In this way, the UTM codes can be one of the strongest digital marketing tools—helping you get the most out of your marketing efforts. 

Here, students will want to know how to use UTM tags (or UTM parameters) to properly track marketing goals. There are five types of UTM tags, typically placed at the end of a URL and are separated by question marks and ampersands. These tags include:

  • Campaign Source: for identifying the source of traffic 
  • Campaign Medium: for pinpointing the method used to access your link
  • Campaign Name: for discovering associated campaigns or promotions
  • Campaign Term: for tracking relevant keywords that led to site visits
  • Campaign Content: for identifying which elements were clicked on to access your link

URLs that use these UTM tags can be reviewed in Google Analytics, which provides key data associated with that link. This means getting a unique insight into Cost Per Click (CPC) campaigns as well as social media and email marketing campaigns. To do so, you’ll need to set up Google Analytics Goals—which will help you understand how your campaign contributed to individual goals (i.e. Goal Conversion Rate, Goal Completion, and Goal Value).  

UTM codes provide digital marketers with valuable metrics that can be used to identify traffic sources

Exploring How Pixels Function for Those taking Digital Analytics Courses

Alternatively, digital marketers can use tracking pixels to collect key information on how visitors interact with your site or campaign—including data on how they navigate content and what they choose to click on. This information can then be repurposed to create impactful ad campaigns, tailored to individual users’ interests, or to help track conversions and measure a campaign’s effectiveness. Pixels mainly come in two categories:

  • Retargeting pixels: monitoring the user’s behaviour on different sites to optimize ad campaigns.
  • Conversion pixels: monitoring sales concerning a specific ad campaign (tracking the source of conversions and measuring the campaign’s performance).

Students completing their digital marketing analytics training will know that this data can provide key insights that would ultimately improve marketing efforts—allowing digital marketers to track ad impressions, sales conversions, and even read emails. However, they can also violate the user’s privacy, so it’s important to be transparent when applying them.

Digital marketers should review their campaign goals to identify which tools to use

Knowing When to Use These Different Tracking Codes 

By taking a digital marketing analytics course, you’ll be able to explore digital analytics and learn how to transform all of this data into actionable strategies for business development. This includes creating a Google Analytics measurement plan and custom reports, as well as tracking KPIs over time.

Ultimately, digital marketers must review their campaign goals before deciding which analytics tool to use. For example, if you’re interested in analyzing traffic sources, then you’d likely want to go with UTM codes. If you’d like to track conversions or specific actions instead, then pixels might be more efficient. You can also choose a combination of both, collecting more data to better inform your marketing strategies.

Are you interested in taking digital analytics courses?

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