Marketing Variables

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Marketing Variables are query parameters added to inbound links for your website | web application, and they let you see the performance of your marketing & promotional efforts in Angelfish.

Marketing Variables can be:

  • Declared: query parameters are used to assign the Marketing Variables
  • Automatic: no query parameters are present, and Angelfish uses other information to assign the Marketing Variables

Marketing Variables Builder (opens new tab)


With Angelfish v2.33 and earlier, Declared Marketing Variables are only available in Profiles that use the AGF Tracking Method. Starting with Angelfish v2.4, Declared Marketing Variables are available in all Tracking Methods - no JavaScript required!

If you've already tagged your marketing & promotional efforts with Marketing Variables from another analytics program (a.k.a. Campaign Variables | Parameters), you can re-use these variables with Angelfish.

How to Use Existing Campaign Variables with Angelfish


Marketing Variables


There are 5 variables you can use to describe your marketing initiatives. Only 3 are required (Source, Medium, and Campaign) and we recommend using Variation whenever it's relevant.

Source (agfs)  -  Required

This refers to the website on which the ad is placed, or the overall referring entity.  If the Source is an email, we recommend adding a YYYYMMDD date component to the Source - this allows you to sort Sources by send date in the reports.  Source examples are:

  •   (company sales portal)
  • mediavine     (an ad network)
  • 20211001-fishreport    (Angelfish email newsletter, sent Oct 1, 2021)


Medium (agfm)  -  Required

The Medium describes the type of ad, like an email, banner, cpc, or a text link. The medium reports are most useful when few options are used - we recommend using as few mediums as possible. Common examples are:

  • cpc
  • email
  • banner
  • text-link

A list of automatically assigned Mediums is in "Automatic Values: Medium" in the Tips section, below.


Campaign (agfc)  -  Required

The campaign variable allows you to stitch multiple initiatives together by a common thread.  The campaign reports are most useful when few options are used. You can use the campaign variable however you choose - common uses are for a product/service or for a seasonal promotion.  For example:

  • 2013-summer
  • womens-collection
  • quickbooks-2013
  • bogo

Keyword (agfk)

When declared, this variable is used for Paid Search (pay per click) marketing, and it should reference the bid term for a specific ad.  The value used with this parameter will show up in the Keywords reports.

When not declared, the Keywords variable stores search phrases used on other websites that led people to your website via an inbound link. "Other websites" means major search engines and any website | web application that includes a search function.

Most major search engines mask Keywords - this is represented by "(not provided)" in Angelfish.

If you're a Google AdWords advertiser, you can use the dynamic keyword insertion function to automatically populate agfk with the bid term that triggered the ad, like this:


Variation (agfr)

This variable allows you to differentiate between different versions of copy, images, placements, etc..  For example, the Variation can be used to differentiate between clicks on banner ads which contain different images, or to differentiate between multiple clickable links in a marketing email.  We recommend using a "location-type-description" format for Variations. For example:

  • top-banner-bogo
  • footer-300x150-flashgame


Bringing it all together

Here are a few examples of Angelfish Marketing Variables in action: 

1) A 500x150 banner ad on in the page footer, offering a 20% discount for the 2013 summer sale promotion.


2) A text link promoting a webinar in the body of an email newsletter for existing customers.


3) A Google AdWords ad copy destination URL (with auto-tagging enabled):{keyword}

Note: If a "gclid" parameter is in the page URL and the source is detected as "google", Angelfish will automatically assign a medium of cpc and a campaign of adwords.



Automatic Values: Medium

If no Marketing Variables are detected in the query params, Angelfish will automatically apply values for Medium.  Options are:

  • none  -- No referral information exists. This is typically caused by visitors who access the site directly by typing the URL directly into the address bar, clicking a browser bookmark, click a link in an offline application (e.g. Outlook, Word, Excel, etc.).
  • organic  -- Traffic from a search function on an external website where a keyword parameter exists in the referral.  Prior to v2.4, the organic Medium only includes Visits from major search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu, etc.  In v2.4 and beyond, the organic Medium can be configured to show Visits from the search function on any website | web application.
  • referral -- Traffic from a website | web application that is not a 
  • self -- Visits referred from the same website as is shown in the Profile.  This usually happens when a Visit times out (30 minutes) and the person leaves the page open, then clicks a link on the page later.

Enact Standards

Marketing variables are flexible and you can use them however you wish.  However...they can get out of control quickly if not managed. For example, if you assign "banner" as one Medium,  "banner-ad" as another, and "banners" as a third you will see three separate rows in the Mediums report....which makes the report less useful.

Here are some brief recommendations:

  • Always use lowercase
  • Never use spaces
  • Use 1 Medium for each type, e.g. "email", not "e-mail" and "email" and "EMAIL"
  • use 1 Campaign for each type, e.g. "2013-summer", not "2013summer" and "2013-summer-sale" and "summer-2013"
  • You can usually use an Advanced Filter to consolidate Marketing Variables if they get out of hand


Use Friendly Names

You can't assume the people looking at the reports have seen the ads, so we recommend using names for Marketing Variables that are easy to understand by humans.  "body-button-buynow" is much more descriptive than "v98423".

Offline Campaigns

You can also use Marketing Variables to track marketing efforts that drive visitors to your website.  Newsprint ads or radio campaigns can use a vanity URL, which redirects visitors to a landing page with Marketing Variables in the URL.


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