Campaign Tagging

Learn more about the tagging and naming standards for marketing efforts that send traffic to your owned websites. These standards ensure you can understand what users responding to your campaign do after they get to our website.

It is critical that marketers at the institution utilize campaign tagging codes in their work to track performance of their campaigns, but also ensure they can gain easy access to enterprise channel reports, enable remarketing display and take advantage of personalization capabilities. These pages contain all the details on applying the university standards to Google Analytics UTM (Urchin Tracking Module). Its structure is based on Google Analytics’ default rules for assigning all incoming traffic to a set of default channels with a few alterations. Some of these channels include:

  • Display – Users that came to the website from display ads
  • Email – Users that came to the website from an email
  • Paid Search – Users that came to the website from paid search listings
  • Social – Users that came to the website from a enterprise page on a social media platform
  • Paid Social - Users that came to the website from an advertisement on a social media platform 

UTM Codes for Ohio State Campaigns

Getting ready to send an email? See here for information on email naming and UTM tagging for email marketers.

UTM TypeUTM TagDescription
Campaign Nameutm_campaign

Use to identify a specific product or strategic campaign - should always start with an Ohio State marketing unit prefix code

Pro tip: Departments managing enterprise campaigns such as BuckeyeLove or Day of Giving will often provide a common campaign name for all marketers to use so we can easily understand the impact of our collective efforts.

Campaign Mediumutm_medium

Use to identify what kind of marketing activity is sending traffic to your website.

Pro tip: Google assigns specific mediums to specific channels. Using the medium naming conventions appropriately will help keep your analytics aligned.

Campaign Sourceutm_source

Use to identify what platform or publisher is sending traffic to your website.

Pro tip: Be as consistent as possible with your source names and what they represent to you. Each UTM parameter is an opportunity for analysis. Use them wisely!


The fields below are optional and flexible unless you are sending an email. Please see the email tagging guidelines for further information.

UTM TypeUTM TagDescription
Campaign Termutm_term

Most commonly associated with paid search ads where term is the keyword you are purchasing - see below for recommendations on auto-tagging in paid search and linking to the MCC account at the institution for the best analysis.

You may also use this tag for audience types, but we recommend using it sparingly for this reason - there are often other places like campaign name where audience makes more sense.

Campaign Contentutm_content

You can use this tag to add more specificity to your analysis opportunities. Some examples include ad placement, content type, creative versions and more.

Pro tip: Consider these carefully. Each UTM parameter is an opportunity for analysis. But the analysis is about understanding differences in behavior on our website. Spend time thinking about whether or not you will actually utilize a content term for this type of analysis - just because its available, doesn't mean you need it!

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Append a question mark to your untagged link before adding any UTM codes. Failure to do so will direct users to 404 pages on your site. We also recommend ensuring that the question mark is only used once in a tagged link; multiple question marks will also cause links to break.
  • Always include the core UTM codes. These codes are utm_campaign, utm_medium and utm_source. They help Google Analytics correctly categorize campaign traffic to the appropriate channels.
  • Include your unit prefix code at the beginning of your campaign name. This will make it easy to identify which campaigns are yours if you’re looking at all campaign traffic in an aggregate Google Analytics view. If you’re unsure what your unit prefix code is, use the URL builder to tag your marketing links.
  • Write all UTM tags in lowercase. This is important because UTM codes are case sensitive. Tagging an asset as “Facebook” vs. “facebook” will generate two different lines of data within Google Analytics — even if they’re under the same campaign.
  • Talk to your agency about this campaign tagging structure. If you are working with a marketing agency to deploy your campaigns, please have a conversation with your agency contact before anything launches to ensure that they are following these guidelines for your campaigns.
  • Consider the needs of your CRM system. When you’re trying to tie data from Google Ads, Google Analytics and a CRM tool that can only read UTMs, turn off auto-tagging in Google Ads and tag all of your assets with UTM codes.


  • Do not append UTM tags to links on our website that send users to another page within our website. UTM codes should never be used for linking within internal pages — doing so strips original source data and may cause duplication of traffic. If you are looking for ways to track internal promotions, check out this guide from Bounteous.
  • Don't tag URLs that go to websites outside of Ohio State's domain. For example, if you are promoting a faculty member's article in The Conversation, you don't need to include UTM codes.
  • Don’t use UTM codes when running your campaign through Google Ads if auto-tagging is turned on.
    • When you’re only reporting on Google Ads and Google Analytics metrics: We recommend using the built-in auto-tagging feature instead of UTM codes and always sync your Google Ads account with The Ohio State University’s Google Ads MCC account. Since Google Ads is a Google product, Google Analytics will categorize your campaigns accordingly, regardless of what the source/medium might suggest in your view of Google Analytics. For example, a YouTube campaign that shows google/cpc as its source/medium will be categorized by Google as Display instead of Paid Search.
    • When you’re trying to tie Google Ads, Google Analytics and a CRM tool that can read custom parameters: Consider using the built-in auto-tagging feature in Google Ads and appending custom parameters that can be read in your CRM tool in the destination URL. In this scenario, the gclid will be read by Google Analytics and the custom parameters will be read by your CRM tool.
  • Don't get overwhelmed! We're here to help - please reach out!

Interactive URL builder

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Supplier worksheet

For if you need to send our requirements to a supplier