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So last week I discussed referrers and mentioned that the utmr tag will be populated by the referrer unless there is a campaign variable to overwrite it. Today we’re going to look at campaign tags and their roles.

Campaign’s in Google Analytics are a fairly simple concept. When a visitor enters your site through a tagged link, the tracking code parses the link data and writes it into our old favorite, the utmz cookie – specifically into the utmccn, utmcmc, utmctr, and utmccd (and sometimes utmgclid) – and the utm.gif request.

Available tags are:  (source: Google Analytics Help)

Campaign Source (utm_source) – Required. Use utm_source to identify a search engine, newsletter name, or other source.

Example: utm_source=google

Campaign Medium (utm_medium) – Required. Use utm_medium to identify a medium such as email or cost-per- click.
Example: utm_medium=cpc

Campaign Term (utm_term) – Used for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.
Example: utm_term=running+shoes

Campaign Content (utm_content) – Used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.
Examples: utm_content=logolink or utm_content=textlink

Campaign Name (utm_campaign) – Used for keyword analysis. Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.
Example: utm_campaign=spring_sale

Fortunately for us, Google provides a URL building tool for those who would rather not much around with their URLs manually. It’s easy to use, though for larger campaigns you may want a campaign building spreadsheet. Fortunately for you Justin Cutroni has one over at his blog.

Tagging links literally just ads information to the URL, then forwards that information to the sites GA code, so there’s no need to fiddle with the GA back end. This also means that you can use them with any site that has GA on it, and it will show up in their analytics.

For instance, if we wanted to we could toss some variables into Youtube’s analytics with:

That would result in the following URL:

Go ahead, click that URL. Send Youtube a message. (ed note: actually, upon inspection it looks like the youtube front page doesn’t use standard utm based Google analytics tracking. There are no signs of GA cookies or UTM.gif requests. Odd)

I’ll end this with the utm.gif. As always these variables write into the utm.gif request along with other relevant data. In this case some or all of the following:

  • utmcn = “utm_new_campaign (1)”
  • utmccn = Campaign Name
  • utmcmd = Campaign Medium (direct), (organic), (none)
  • utmcsr = Campaign Source
  • utmcct = Campaign Content
  • utmcid = Campaign ID
  • utmctm = Campaign Mode (0|1)
  • utmcto = Campaign Timeout

Here’s an example (using Cardinal Path, since it looks like Youtube wont work)