Is there disadvantages of creating your own link tracking source (Example: ?src=publication ) instead of using Google's utm_source?

Two things that I see that it's an advantage using my own tracking code are:

A little bit cleaner in the URL I can easily filter the content by "?src="

2 Answers 2


The disadvantage is that you won't be able to view your Campaign data in Analytics. When you tag your URL's with utm_source along with the other required and optional parameters and people visit your site with those links your Analytics code recognizes it and you can then browse all your Analytics stats filtering by Campaigns, Sources, Mediums, etc. It's a lot harder to do with your own tagged URL's with question marks. You'll have to create so many filters and custom reports why make more work out of it when Google already has a system built for this with more features than a simple question mark equals.


Google Analytics is an awesome product, and very well thought out too! Now if you want to use (?src=publication), you can go ahead and do it. However, then to track the traffic from that source, you will either have to setup an advanced segment or go to the Content tab and filter by "?src=" as you currently are thinking of doing.

Now look at the alternative, using the a GA URL Builder, you can ensure that your a Custom Campaigns are also easily available in the Traffic Sources -> Sources -> Campaigns tab. No need to create any advanced segments. Another advantage of this is that your site administration can be done by one person and the analysis could be done my different set of people (in which case they do not have to remember the different parameter strings being passed such as "?src=".

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