How to Use UTM Campaign Parameters & CID in Adobe Analytics

By utm analytics
Use UTM Campaign Parameters and CID in Adobe Analytics

Are you new to Adobe Analytics? Or maybe your client has decided to move from their Google Analytics instance to Adobe Analytics? If any of these questions apply to you, you might have come across terms like “CID” or articles like “you can’t do UTM parameters” with Adobe Analytics. So how do you get started with appropriately tracking the impact of your paid and unpaid marketing campaigns effectively in Adobe Analytics? This article will help you understand why Adobe Analytics marketers use CID and how they can view their UTM Campaign parameters within Adobe Analytics.

Understanding How Adobe Campaign Tracking Works:

Like Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics can be leveraged to track the success of marketing campaigns by identifying the traffic source and user engagement in your site. Adobe does this through a “Tracking code” that is tracked when a visitor arrives at your site from your marketing campaigns. Most Adobe Analytics users depend on multiple stakeholders to create, manage, and report on their strategies (paid search, paid social media, display, etc). They then utilize Adobe to determine which campaign elements within each campaign type produce the best behavior and conversion results. However, the links that are used are different. Do you ever wonder why companies like Mashable have links that look like:

It doesn’t look like your standard link that you get when utilizing Google’s campaign URL builder right? Well, the tracking code is the reason why. Below, we will explain how Adobe Analytics tracks your campaigns in more detail.

Understanding Tracking Codes in Adobe Analytics:

To use the Adobe campaign tracking features, however, you must be able to configure Adobe to capture and read the campaign tracking codes once a visitor arrives at your site. This can be done via a few methods:

Option 1 — Configure the Javascript plugin GetQuery provided in Adobe Analytics.

This will enable Adobe to capture a URL parameter and place it in the campaign variable (s.campaign). Please note that the URL parameter that sends the data to s.campaign is NOT pre-defined so you will need to define it in the plugin itself. (What does this mean if you’re not well versed in Adobe speak?). Consider the following example:

You decide to spend $5,000 on Facebook and Instagram Ad today to drive conversions for your brand new hotel. When a user clicks on your ad, they might come to your site with the URL “”. In this case, the code “12344” would be placed in the ‘campaigns’ variable for tracking purposes and would appear in Adobe Analytics as such. It wouldn’t read Facebook, or your Campaign Name, it would still just appear as “1234”.

Option 2 — Configure AppMeasurement for Javascript

Like the GetQueryParam plugin, the AppMeasurement for Javascript plugin enables you to capture your URL parameter and place it in the campaign variable. The only difference is that AppMeasurement for Javascript is lighter and faster to use in both mobile and desktop sites so more and more people are utilizing it. In AppMeasurement, you will use Util.getQueryParam to map your campaign variable instead of the getQueryParam plug-in. To edit your s.campaign variable, you will need to navigate to the doPlugins() and set it as follows:

s.doPlugins = function(s) {
s.campaign = s.Util.getQueryParam(“cid”);

In this example, you’d map your s.campaign variable to “cid”.

Once your Javascript files are set up to capture campaign tracking codes, the next step is to begin assigning tracking codes to all links that will refer traffic to your site from your marketing campaigns.

Setting up Tracking Code Marketing Operations to track your campaign data correctly, ie. Adobe Classifications

This is the step where 90% of Adobe Analytics companies make mistakes when they have multiple stakeholders (ie more than 1 person) building campaign tracking links. Consequently, the majority of Fortune 500 marketers utilizing Adobe Analytics are barely able to measure 30–50% of their marketing budget activities.

If you’re not aware of the Adobe Classifications system, we highly recommend you read this article: Top 5 Adobe Analytics Classifications (for campaign URLs ) Used by the Best Marketers.

Assuming you are familiar with Adobe Classifications, we will focus on your biggest challenge to maintaining good data: “improper marketing operations structure”. To put it another way, we’re going to ensure all of your marketing stakeholders (team, agencies, vendors), utilize the same tracking code structure so that you can appropriately track your marketing activities within Adobe Analytics.

There are multiple ways in which marketers will build and maintain campaign links (I’ve seen them all):

  1. “I just use the Google UTM builder or the one provided by Facebook” — if you find yourself in this camp, STOP. Just stop now. Tell everyone to stop doing that since they’re building URL tags that won’t be tracked in Adobe. Moving on…
  2. “I keep them all in a Google Sheets report” — most marketers have probably found themselves in this world if they ever cared about campaign tagging. In fact, here’s a public spreadsheet that we found has gained some popularity:
    The problem here is that while it helps maintain consistency, it makes it very difficult to maintain once you start having larger campaigns. This is why we don’t recommend it.
  3. “I use a UTM Management product” (Recommended) — all marketing data scientists will tell you that this is not just good practice but absolutely necessary for you. A good campaign URL builder for Adobe takes into account your
  • s.campaign parameters,
  • your classifications,
  • your naming conventions

And ensures that every link that is created (by anyone) applies these best practices. The UTM Smart Manager for Adobe Analytics is one of the best Adobe Analytics Campaign URL builders and we have recommended it to countless Fortune 1000 clients who face this problem.

While some might think the cost of paying for a campaign URL builder, consider the consequences of not doing so: you will only track about 30% of your marketing spend effectively. Is that something you’d be willing to admit to your CEO/CFO? Trust us, pay for the subscription, maintain your data integrity, and use these best practices to optimize your campaigns. You’ll be asking for more budget (and getting it approved) in no time.

How to use UTM Campaign Parameters in Adobe Analytics as part of your Tracking Code and Classifications:

We recently wrote an article on how to set up your Adobe Tracking code to enable UTM Campaign parameter tracking within Adobe Analytics. Here’s the link to that article:

Now that you’ve started building tracking codes consistently, it’s now time to tell Adobe how to read and break them up in your reporting. This is done via your Classifications Rule Builder. Below is a quick How-to on building the right classification rules to make this happen:

  • Go to the Classification Rule Builder and then Add a New one. Let’s name it “UTM Tracking Code”.
  • Using RegEx to parse out your UTM parameters: When we create these rules, we will set it so that the RegEx parses our Adobe UTM parameters using the “:” as a separator. This is what the rules you will need to add look like under the Classification Rule Builder.

We will add the following:

Rule Type: Regular Expression

Enter Match Criteria: ^(.+)\:(.+)\:(.+)\:(.+)\:(.+)$

When you Set the Classifications, you will go through Source, Medium, Campaign Name, Content, Term, Campaign Owner and map them out to $1 to $5 respectively.

3. Test your classifications and verify that everything is working correctly.

Once you activate your Rule, you will then see your campaign data in each of the reports.


Adobe Analytics can be a very powerful tool, but if you’re not building your campaign URLs correctly, you’re not using it to your advantage. Make sure you follow the recommendations in this article or feel free to write to us at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments. We’d love to hear your stories.

You can also find more information on these subjects via the Adobe Forum:

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