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README.md

README.md

Landing Page Referrer Standard

1.0 Introduction

1.1 utm parameters

1.2 General structure

2.0 Summary of Top Level Categories

3.0 Parameter Specification

3.1 Paid Search

3.2 Vertical Search

3.3 Email

3.4 Affiliate

3.5 Social

3.6 Display

3.7 Offline

1.0 Introduction

This document outlines our specification for tagging traffic sources. It describes the recommended parameters that should be included in landing URLs for the main traffic sources.

1.1 utm parameters

These parameters are commonly used to tag landing pages and are the recommended parameters from Google for doing this.  As many are familiar with them, we support overlap with these parameters and encourage their use as they are often convenient and clear.

We require the use of utm_medium to identify the broad referrer type.  However, in general we do not encourage the use of utm_source as it is commonly used in many diverse ways.  The exception is for display traffic where the display network can be identified with utm_source.  

The utm_medium parameter is required for each traffic source, all others are optional but highly encouraged for better categorization and insights into traffic sources.

1.2 General structure

After the URL, add ? before the first parameter.

eg. www.example.com/?utm_medium=paid_search

Add the & symbol before further parameters.

        eg. www.example.com/?utm_medium=paid_search&network=bing

Following this tagging specification will result in accurate and specific traffic allocation, consistent understanding of performance, and actionable insights appropriately allocated.

2.0 Summary of Top Level Categories

These are the top level categories that we use to categorize referral traffic. They are described in more detail in the following Parameter Specification section. All of these top level categories should be set with the utm_medium parameter as shown.

Category

Required Parameter

Paid Search

utm_medium=paid_search

Vertical Search

utm_medium=vertical_search

Email

utm_medium=email

Affiliate

utm_medium=affiliate

Social

utm_medium=social 

Display

utm_medium=display

Offline

utm_medium=offline

There are also two top level categories which are detected automatically and do not need to be manually tagged:  Organic Search and Referral. Organic Search traffic is traffic from search engines which is not paid for. The Referral category describes traffic that does not fall into any of the other categories. An independent website linking to a page for which nothing is paid for the traffic would be categorized as Referral.

3.0 Parameter Specification

3.1 Paid Search

Paid search traffic is that which is driven from a search engine’s results page that has been paid for.  Specifically, paid search traffic comes from sponsored search results.  Google Adwords is the largest provider of this service.  We recommend the use of the following custom parameters rather than only using gclid to identify a paid search referral.

Paid Search 

(utm_medium=paid_search or utm_medium=sem or utm_medium=cpc or utm_medium=ppc)

Required. Use utm_medium=paid_search or utm_medium=sem or utm_medium=cpc or utm_medium=ppc to identify the referrer type as paid search.

Example: utm_medium=paid_search

Network

(network)

Use network to identify a network such as bing or google.

Example: network=bing

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

Example: utm_campaign=spring_sale

Ad Group

(adgroup)

Use adgroup to identify the specific ad group to which a given referring ad belongs.

Example: adgroup=brand1

Match Type  

(matchtype)

Use matchtype to identify whether the impression was triggered by a broad match.

Example: matchtype=broad

Search Keywords

(search_keywords or utm_term)

Use search_keywords or utm_term to identify the keywords that were responsible for the match.  This is not the search query itself but the matching keywords.

Example: utm_term=hats

Autotagging

(gclid)

Use gclid to capture the gclid associated with this click through

gclid=CPzB25zw6bACFVMdtAodWjUnIQ

3.2 Vertical Search

Vertical search traffic is traffic from a domain specific search engine.  Broadly speaking, vertical search engines are search engines that perform a specific type of search - such as ‘google shopping’ which searches products or ‘travelsupermarket’ which searches for flights and holidays.  This separates vertical search traffic from organic search traffic in that organic search is considered to operate over web pages whereas vertical search operates over products and services.

Vertical Search

(utm_medium=vertical_search or utm_medium=cse)

Required. Use utm_medium=vertical_search or utm_medium=cse to identify the referrer type as vertical search.

Example: utm_medium=vertical_search

Network

(network)

Use network to identify a network such as bing or google.

Example: network=bing

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product group when organising uploads to vertical search sites

Example: utm_campaign=black_shoes

3.3 Email

Email traffic represents any traffic that comes from an email.  This email may be opened in a browser based email client like Google mail or a specific email application like Outlook.  

The media type is used to understand what kind of email this is.  Owned email traffic is from a mailout sent out to customers.  Earned email traffic is generated spontaneously from communication between customers, perhaps recommending a product to a friend.

Email

(utm_medium=email)

Required. Use utm_medium=email to identify the referrer type as email

Example: utm_medium=email

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

Example: utm_campaign=august_mailshot

Media Type

(media_type)

Use media_type to identify whether the traffic is ‘owned’ or ‘earned’.

Example: media_type=earned

3.4 Affiliate

Affiliate traffic is traffic that comes specifically from a marketing affiliate.

Affiliate

(utm_medium=affiliate)

Required. Use utm_medium=affiliate to identify the referrer type as an affiliate.

Example: utm_medium=affiliate

Network

(network)

Use network to identify a network such as Commission Junction or LinkShare.

Example: network=commission_junction

Affiliate ID

(affiliate_id)

Use affiliate_id to identify a specific affiliate as specified by the affiliate network’s setup.

Example: affiliate_id=mse1

Publisher

(publisher)

Use publisher to identify the publisher of the affiliate link - ie the affiliate itself.

Example: publisher=mse

3.5 Social

Social traffic is traffic from sites that are considered to be social networking sites.  Examples are Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.  We consider all traffic from these sites to be social traffic - even if it comes from advertising on a social site.  The media type describes the different kinds of traffic that can be expected from social media.  Bought social traffic is traffic from social media advertising.  Earned social traffic is traffic from the usual exchanges of customers between themselves.  Owned social traffic is driven from a corporate social media profile like facebook page or twitter feed which serves as an advertising platform.

Social

(utm_medium=social)

Required. Use utm_medium=social to identify the referrer type as coming from a social networking site.

Example: utm_medium=social

Network

(network)

Use network to identify a social network such as facebook or twitter.

Example: network=facebook

Media Type

(media_type)

Use media_type to identify whether the traffic is ‘bought’, ‘owned’ or ‘earned’.

Example: media_type=earned

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

Example: utm_campaign=facebook_ad_5

3.6 Display

Display traffic is traffic from display advertising.  Display advertising can be either graphical or text based and includes Google’s adsense platform.  Display advertising includes placement advertising as well as retargeting advertisements.

Display

(utm_medium=display)

Required. Use utm_medium=display to identify the referrer type as a display advertisement.

Example: utm_medium=display

Network

(network or utm_source)

Use network or utm_source to identify the ad network.

Example: network=criteo

Retargeting Or Placement

(retargeting_or_placement)

Use retargeting_or_placement to identify whether the display advert was from a retargeting network.

Example: retargeting_or_placement=retargeting

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

Example: utm_campaign=display1

3.7 Offline

Offline traffic is traffic driven by offline advertising campaigns such as catalogues, billboards or postal campaigns.  The parameters could be included in a QR code.

Offline

(utm_medium=offline)

Required. Use utm_medium=offline to identify the referrer type as offline

Example: utm_medium=offline

Channel

(channel)

Use channel to identify the specific medium through which the campaign was run.

Example: channel=magazine

Campaign

(utm_campaign)

Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.

Example: utm_campaign=tube1

 

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