Some users who set up Marketing Channels configure their Marketing Channel Processing rules to take all values passed in the campaign variable. Though an excellent practice, they are different because of inherent processing and platform differences.


The main differences between a Tracking Codes report and a marketing channel that is configured to capture campaign variable values are as follows:

  • Allocation: A tracking codes report contains only a single allocation, while marketing channels contains first and last touch allocation. Comparing a first-touch channel with a campaign variable set to last touch shows different data.
  • Prior marketing channels bucket data before the given rule: Rules higher up than the "campaign channel" can bucket data there instead of the intended marketing channel. For example:
    1. You have Social networks set up as your first rule, and campaigns as your second.
    2. A user posts a link to your site containing a tracking code on Facebook, and several users click through to your site.
    3. Since Social Networks is the first rule:
      • Marketing channels gives any revenue to Social Networks. The campaign channel would not be considered in any way.
      • The tracking code report gives any revenue to the promotion1 line item, since marketing channel processing rules don't affect it.
  • Other marketing channels can steal last-touch credit. If arriving on your site via a tracking code, the user could come in through another marketing channel at a later time. For example:
    1. You have a campaigns channel set up as your first rule, and direct traffic as your second.
    2. A user initially comes through your tracking code (such as cid=banner2), but leaves the site.
    3. The next day, they type the URL directly into their browser and make a purchase.
    4. Since the user's most recent channel was direct traffic:
      • Marketing channels last touch gives any revenue to direct traffic. First touch would be attributed to campaigns.
      • The tracking code report would give any revenue to the banner2 line item, as the tracking code persisted between visits.
  • Expiration differences: Marketing channels have a rolling 30-day expiration, whether a channel was touched or not. Tracking codes have an expiration based on when the variable was defined. For example:
    1. The campaign variable is set to expire after 30 days; your marketing channel visitor engagement expiration is also set to 30 days.
    2. A user arrives on your site via the tracking code promotion3, then leaves.
    3. They come back three weeks later without a tracking code or marketing channel, and exit the site again.
    4. Another three weeks later, they come back without a tracking code or marketing channel, then make a purchase.
    5. The user ultimately made a purchase beyond 30 days but was never inactive for more than 30 days. Therefore,
      • Marketing channels attribute revenue to the campaigns channel, since the visitor engagement is reset each time they return to your site.
      • The tracking code report would attribute revenue to "None," since the purchase event occurred beyond the variable's expiration.

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