UTM Tags & GDPR: Data Privacy Codes Made Easy
If you're a marketing manager, you've probably heard the term "UTM tags." But what are they and why should you care?
UTM tags are a special kind of tracking code that allows you to see how people are interacting with your content across multiple platforms. The term UTM refers to "Urchin Tracking Module" (Urchin was the name of Google Analytics prior to becoming Google Analytics), but today, most people just call them UTM tags. UTMs are short strings of text (or "tags") that can be embedded in links to track information about how users interact with that link. They can be used in any type of marketing campaign, but they're especially helpful when it comes to running an agile marketing strategy.
For instance, if you wanted to know how many people clicked on your email newsletter, compared all traffic sources, or even just found out where those clicks came from, UTM tags would be one way to do that. UTM data can then be used to optimize campaigns and improve user experience.
How do UTMs work in the context of data privacy? UTMs track behaviour not people, so all data is anonymous. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most significant change to data privacy in decades. It's designed to give users more control over their personal data and require companies to be more transparent about how they use this data. GDPR is often cited as a reason for not tracking marketing performance. However, UTMs do not fall foul of GDPR, in fact they can help keep your site GDPR-compliant by allowing you to collect data anonymously.
You need an easier way to track how your site visitors are engaging so that you can comply with GDPR's requirements. UTM tags provide that solution by helping you gather data about each visitor's engagement with your site through tracking cookies or pixels embedded in links.