Why SiteCatalyst tracking code data doesn’t match Google Analytics

I get this question a lot – Here’s the deal as simply as I can:

When you tag a landing URL with a code like


…the data is stored in a cookie. The only other values that the cookie will come into contact with are other values you passed into the cid= parameter. When you run a tracking code report, to the extent that any value interacted with a visitor’s cookie who triggered an event or bought something, this report will give the tracking code credit.

If you use GA as well, like: site.com?utm_source=email123&cid=email123, the data is also stored in a cookie. The problem though, in trying to compare the GA result to Adobe, is that EVERY traffic source in Google Analytics has a source component. GA uses ‘last non-direct click’ attribution.

So, credit goes to the last source touched, other than direct, unless direct was the only source. The tracking code report, unless you have some clunky old VISTA rule floating around throwing everything into the mix (certainly possible), doesn’t care about anything else.

Therefore – your result from tracking stuff in SiteCatalyst SHOULD be attributed to more events, revenue or good things than Google Analytics.

Within Adobe Analytics, the expiration and allocation of the campaign tracking code cookie (which is like an eVar and is found in the eVars or conversion variables section) can be changed.

So – if they don’t match, don’t worry – just use the one that makes people feel better but be prepared to explain the difference along the lines of:

– allocation

– expiration

– what’s going into the cookie (hopefully no high fructose corn-traffic)



paid search expert, sitecatalyst/omniture consultant, professional search engine optimization

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Posted in adobe tracking codes

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