How to Fix Missing Campaign Parameters in Google Analytics

In this article, I am going to talk about how to fix missing campaign parameters notifications in Google Analytics.

Overview

Have you ever come across Google Analytics notifications? These happen when Google crawlers keep visiting your website and make a periodic diagnostic of your website and provide you with notifications as a reminder to look into the issues and fix them.

Sometimes you may get notifications like “Missing Campaign Parameters”. You get this notification when you are running non-Google Ads marketing campaigns (like email, affiliate, etc) that are either untagged or not tagged correctly.

Here untagged means adding the campaign tracking parameters (like utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign, etc) to all of the links embedded in your campaign.

We will see how we can fix this notification. But first, let’s understand what these parameters are.

What are parameters?

By adding parameters to your campaign URL, you can collect information about the success and efficiency of the campaign. There are a total of five campaign parameters that you can add to your URL as below.

  1. utm_source: Source of a campaign like an email, social, affiliate etc.
  2. utm_medium: The marketing medium. For example, CPC, banner, email newsletter.
  3. utm_campaign: Individual campaign name like summer sale, promo offers, etc.
  4. utm_term: Keywords associated with the campaign.
  5. utm_content: Identifies what specifically was clicked to bring the user to the site, such as a banner ad or a text link.

To learn more about the parameters you can visit utm_source, utm_medium, utm_campaign Parameters Tutorial

Why are you getting missing campaign parameters notifications in Google Analytics?

If you get missing campaign parameters notification like in the image below.

notification

It means that the campaigns are not tagged properly or left completely untagged. 

You can click on the “Details” link to get more information and possible reasons for the missing campaign parameters notification like in the image below.

notification details

There could be multiple reasons for this. I have listed a few of them below

  1. Misspelt query parameters
  2. Syntax errors
  3. Duplicate “?”
  4. Missing Google Analytics tracking code
  5. Redirects
  6. Single page application URL pattern (hashed URL)

How to fix missing campaign parameters notifications in Google Analytics

Based on the reasons for having missing campaign parameters, here are a few solutions that might help you fix the issue.

#1. Misspelt query parameters

The most common mistake which people make while tagging a campaign is that they misspelt it. If you have misspelt query parameters in the URL, Google will simply ignore it and will not add it in the reports.

You need to make sure that “utm_source”, “utm_medium”, “utm_campaign”, “utm_term” and “utm_content” are spelt correctly in the campaign URL.

You can use the Google URL Builder tool for this purpose. In this tool, you just need to add your parameter values and the tool will generate the URL for you eliminating the risk of misspelt query parameters.

URl builder

#2. Syntax errors

Another reason for getting missing campaign parameters notification could be syntax errors. Other than misspelt query parameters, if there are any other syntax errors in the campaign URL, then they can create tracking issues and you won’t have campaign data available in the acquisition report.

A general campaign URL will look like below:

https://example.com?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=summer_sale&utm_term=cashback_offer&utm_content=glittering_kids_shoes

If there is a syntax error, the URL may look like below

https://example.com?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign+summer_sale&&utm_term=cashback_offer&utm_content=glittering_kids_shoes

If you can see, after “utm_campaign” instead of the equal sign there is a plus sign. Another error is using multiple ampersands, one after the other.

As suggested earlier it is best to use the Google URL Builder tool for a more accurate URL. 

#3. Multiple “?” in URL

Another common error that happens while creating a campaign URL is to use multiple “?”. This generally happens when the URL has already “?” for non-UTM parameters.  If there are more than one “?” in the URL, the UTM parameters won’t work and this could be one of the reasons for having missing campaign parameters notification.

The best practice is to just have one “?” in the URL followed by the chain of ampersands “&”.

#4. Missing Google Analytics tracking code

One of the reasons could be if the page is not having or missing the Google Analytics tracking code. It may be possible that your campaign URL is correct but if the page is not tracked properly with a valid GA or GTM tracking code, you may not have accurate campaign data in the reporting. 

The best solution here is to use Google Tag Assistant on the landing page to check about valid GA or GTM code. To learn more about the possible reasons for missing Google Analytics tracking code you can visit How to fix ‘Missing Tracking Code’ in Google Analytics?

#5. Redirects

Using redirects, you can send your users to a different URL. Redirects are more frequently used in URL shorteners or if your website has been redesigned. One common problem with redirects is that they may not pass your query parameters and this could lead to missing campaign parameters notification.

Let me explain this with an example. Let’s suppose you are redirecting this URL:

https://example.com/gtmtips” to “https://example.com/gtmtipsnadtricks/

Now if you are using UTM parameters for the same URL, then:

https://example.com/gtmtips?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=summer_sale&utm_term=cashback_offer&utm_content=glittering_kids_shoes

Should also have redirected to:

https://example.com/gtmtipsnadtricks?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=summer_sale&utm_term=cashback_offer&utm_content=glittering_kids_shoes

But this does not happen in many cases. The best solution for this is to ask your developer team to use 301 redirects and the destination URL should also preserve the UTM parameters. You can also verify it manually and check if the UTM parameters are available or not on the destination URL

#6. Single page application URL pattern (hashed URL)

If your website is a single page application then every time a new fragment or new content is loaded the page URL does not refresh. However, if you see that the fragments are separated with “#” within the URL. It means that you are loading the content dynamically.

In such cases, UTM parameters might get lost in the shuffling of the fragment resulting in incomplete tracking. Also if your parameters are added to the URL after the “#” key Google Analytics will ignore them by default.

In such cases, it is best advised to have all the UTM parameters before the “#” key.

Frequently asked questions about how to fix missing campaign parameters in Google Analytics.

What are the campaign parameters?

By adding parameters to your campaign URL, you can collect information about the success and efficiency of the campaign. There are a total of five campaign parameters that you can add to your URL as below.

utm_source: Source of a campaign like an email, social, affiliate etc.
utm_medium: The marketing medium. For example, CPC, banner, email newsletter.
utm_campaign: Individual campaign name like summer sale, promo offers, etc.
utm_term: Keywords associated with the campaign.
utm_content: Identifies what specifically was clicked to bring the user to the site, such as a banner ad or a text link.

Why am I seeing missing campaign parameters notifications in Google Analytics?

If you get missing campaign parameters notification it means that the campaigns are not tagged properly or left completely untagged. 
There could be multiple reasons for that. I have listed a few of them below

1. Misspelt query parameters
2. Syntax errors
3. Duplicate “?”
4. Missing Google Analytics tracking code
5. Redirects
6. Single page application URL pattern (hashed URL)

How do I fix missing campaign parameters notifications in Google Analytics?

To fix these notifications in Google Analytics, you need to tag the campaign parameters correctly. You can use the best practices below to avoid incorrectly tagging campaigns.
1. Avoid misspelt UTM parameters
2. Avoid syntax errors while creating campaign URLs
3. Check that the landing page has a valid GA or GTM code
4. Be careful if you are using redirections, use 301 redirect
5. In the case of single page applications, make sure to have all the UTM parameters before the “#” key.
6. Use Google Campaign URL builder.

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Himanshu Sharma

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