Using UTM Codes for Life Science Marketing Metrics & ROI

We found in the Biotech Marketing Network’s 2018 Marketing Strategies, Tactics, and Needs survey that life science marketers are very unsatisfied with their team’s ability to measure return on investment (ROI). Subsequently, they have fewer resources because the management doesn’t see the benefits of investing in marketing. We aim to help biotech marketers better measure ROI and provide information on the tools of the trade, beginning with UTM Codes.

  • Who : Marketers who want to track the number of clickthroughs they are receiving to a page by campaign, source, medium, content or search term, and ultimately return on investment (ROI).
  • What : Text strings placed at the end of your website URLs, with a specified structure which is best generated by the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder (but after you use this a few times, you may get good at generating them yourself).
  • Why : When combined with Google Analytics and a website set up properly, you can track clickthroughs and ROI of campaigns, social media applications, etc.
  • How : Use the Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder to create a link tagged with the appropriate UTM codes, see the image in this section for details and examples. I’ve created the following link for the e-blast we’ll do through LinkedIn for this newsletter, and the long URL is:
    https://biotechmarketing.org/2018/02/18/february-2018-newsletter/?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=february_newsletter&utm_content=text_link
    For links that are visible, use the shortened link Google gives you, or use a link shortener (see last bullet). You’ll then be able to view the data in Google Analytics. Be sure to have a strategy for which UTM codes to use throughout your team/company, so you’ll get consistent data.
Google Campaign URL Builder Creates Tags to Measure Clickthroughs and ROI
  • When : Use when you have Google Analytics set up on your website and have straightforward access to your data. Larger companies will likely have a system set up for tracking which may or may not involve Google Analytics, so check to see what the syntax and options are before using. You don’t need to use UTM codes in Google Adwords, as Google will track the links automatically.
  • Fun Fact : UTM stands for “Urchin Tracking Module”, as a company called Urchin Software pioneered this method and was acquired by Google in 2005.
  • Bonus Fact : Google will generate a short URL for you to share, and you can also plug the long URL into applications such as bit.ly to get a short link which you can customize if needed, for free. The clickthrough rate on bit.ly links can be tracked publicly by adding a “+” at the end of the URL, which can be good for viewing data without IT’s help, but it will also be available to your competitors. Cutting and pasting the above UTM coded link for this page into bit.ly, and creating a “friendly” shortened URL bit.ly/BMNFeb18 which can be tracked at bit.ly/BMNFeb18+ (check out our stats for our first newsletter LinkedIn email!). This gives you duplicate data, but you never know when you might need metrics quickly from the bit.ly link. There are also companies cropping up which offer to create and track short URLs for you, for a fee.

This post was originally published on the Biotech Marketing Network.