Pinterst announced that they were going to allow UTM tracking codes for pins. This is a major win for marketers and companies that rely on UTM tracking to get granular about what campaigns are working. This was a much requested feature.
What is a UTM Tracking Code?
A UTM Tracking code stands for Urchin Tracking Monitor, and it’s a type of a system that allows for bloggers, small business owners and marketers to know how well a specific campaign is doing to to drive traffic and/or lead to conversions using Google Analytics as the analytics platform.
This could be used to track Twitter ads, banner advertisements and now Pinterest!
All this information goes to Google Analytics, and so if you don’t have it for your website, and you’re a small business, you have to grab it. Extremely useful.
What’s the Benefit of a UTM Tracking Code on Pinterest
Pinterest is quite helpful in the sense that it already creates unique urls. Such as this pin’s that was created by Franscio Rosales from Social Mouths that discusses about Facebook marketing.
These unique urls allow you to know which pins are responsible for driving traffic to your site through Google Analytics. But it can get messy since a bunch of pins get tied up together.
With UTM tracking, split testing A/B pins is much easier, because each type of pin can be labelled for a specific campaign. You don’t have to sift through hundreds of pin urls.
With UTM, you’re able to label your campaigns with the campaign source (this is generally the referrer like Google, Yelp, March 2014 newsletter), campaign medium (banner ad, e-mail, or CPC ad) and campaign name.
And so for me, the main benefit is that I’m able to do A/B split testing very carefully, and this way I can create two different pins and see which one converts better to drive people to my e-mail sign up page. For me this is truly exciting!
To find out more about how to create UTM for your website visit the URL Builder site.
If you would like more of visual format, I’ve explained how all this works with a YouTube video.
The Bad News About UTM Tracking…Kind Of
Rich pins and UTM don’t mix right away unfortunately. Let’s say you own a pin that is a rich pin, and you want to add the UTM tracking code.
The only way I’ve figured out how to add the UTM tracking code to a pin is to actually change it at the source of the pin. This can be done on the desktop version of Pinterest, by clicking on the pencil icon on the top right hand corner when you hover your mouse button over the pin.
If you need to know how to change the source of the Pin, the YouTube video below will explain that in detail.
What sucks about this is that once you change the source to include the UTM tracking code, your rich pin content doesn’t show up right away. It actually reverts back to a “normal” pin. However, if you refresh the pin in your browser or you wait a few minutes the rich pin will appear again.
It’s really rich pins playing possum.
Now I tried to pin directly from the site that had UTM code in the url, but unfortunately when I used a Pin it button, it stripped away all the UTM tracking code. I’m not going to lie, that made me sad, and generally I’m a happy guy.
HELPFUL HINT: I know some of you may be tempted to add the UTM tracking codes in the description area of pins, but those urls are long and ugly, and so they will work great on a desktop version of Pinterest, but in mobile it can really be annoying to read in the description.
And keep in mind that 75% of the daily usage is happening on mobile platforms for Pinterest.
The Good News About UTM Tracking Codes
Here’s some excellent news about UTM. You’ll be able to know how far of a reach your pinning efforts have really gone.
UTM tracking codes will be in tact when users repin your content. This means you’re able to see the success of how your original pin did when you posted onto your own Pinterest account.
Let’s say you pinned about an e-book you’re selling, like my Pinterest to Profits with Pintalysis, and you attached UTM tracking. You may want to know how successful a single pin that you pinned onto your board did.
Having a UTM tracking code can help differentiate whether it was a single pin you pinned went viral, and help differentiate it from whether it was someone who visited your website and pinned from there that led to all that traffic.
This is because when people repin your pin, the UTM tracking code remains. This means if someone ten degrees down has repinned your pin that contains your UTM tracking code, you know exactly how that all started.
This is an excellent use of group boards, and you may want to use a UTM to track the effectiveness of virality of a particular group board you’ve joined. You’re not going to know the total number of repins down ten degrees, but you’ll know how much traffic goes to your site.
Feeling like your head’s spinning a bit from all this geek talk?
For another great article that explains UTM in more detail check out this blog post at HeyStephanie.com. I highly recommend you to read it.