Updated September 01, 2022

In this article, I’d like to take a look at how to choose the best language for your tagging efforts. With manual tagging you pick variables to help you tag: Source, Medium, Campaign, and if you’re tracking paid keywords, Term.

You might want to reference the previous article that Michael Harrison wrote on how to tag, Google Analytics Link Tagging 101.

How do you choose what to call these variables? Whatever you choose, it is imperative that you are consistent. When you are tagging a banner ad, do not list the Medium as ‘banner’ for one ad and ‘bannerad’ for another. This will prevent you from being able to make the comparisons that really make tagging worthwhile in the first place.

Remember that your Campaign should answer ‘why?’ Why did visitors come to your site?

If you are advertising travel packages, then you might have a ‘cruise’ Campaign. People come to your site because they want to find out more about going on a cruise. If you have a newsletter called ‘Good News Cruise’, then ‘good_news_cruise’ might be the Campaign in your newsletter tags. People come to your site because they read your newsletter.

Your Medium should answer ‘how’. How did the visitor get to your site?

So if you are using pay-per-click advertising to promote your cruise packages, then your Medium would be ‘cpc’ (This is CPC and not PPC because Google Analytics uses the CPC label within the reports. We recommend keeping everything consistent by continuing to use the CPC label). If you have banner ads, your Medium could be ‘banner’. For your newsletter, your Medium would be ’email’.

Your Source is ‘who’ or ‘what’. What is bringing the visitor to your site?

If you are using Google AdWords for your pay-per-click advertising, then your Source for that would be ‘google’. If you are doing pay-per-click advertising with MSN, then your Source would be ‘msn’.

If your banner ad is on www.travelocity.com, then your Source would be ‘Travelocity’. For your newsletter, your Source would be something like ‘newsletter2_19_2007’ so you can keep track of specific editions.

Your Term is the keyword term you are bidding on with your pay-per-click advertising. So if your keyword is cheap Hawaii cruise, then your term would be ‘cheap+hawaii+cruise’.

The reason we would use plus signs in this phrase is because that symbol translates into spaces within Google Analytics, while underscores remain underscores. So if you entered ‘cheap+hawaii+cruise’ in Google Analytics it would show up as ‘cheap hawaii cruise’, whereas ‘cheap_hawaii_cruise’ would show up as ‘cheap_hawaii_cruise’. It’s a small detail, and depends on your preference.

Don’t forget to check out the Google Analytics Destination URL Builder we’ve made available to you!