What Are Google Analytics Default Channel Grouping Definitions?

Matt , Sunny and Raj are part of team blue while Ravi , Jimmy, and Murli are part of team red. While playing a soccer match team blue scores 3 goals and team red scores 4 goals and despite red team winning by one goal Raj gets medal as part of winning team.
Confusing isn’t it? Attribution often is. This is what exactly you will end up doing if you don’t understand how Google Analytics default channel grouping works by rewarding a source or medium unfairly.

Channels are groups of sources and mediums in google analytics and here are definitions and to make sure you reward the correct sources and mediums here are definitions of google analytics channels.

What are google analytics channels definitions?

Google Analytics Default Channel Grouping
Google Analytics Default Channel Grouping

This is google analytics channels report and as you can see in the screenshot there are 7 channels represented in this report actually there are 9 channels 2 channels which are not represented in this report are “Email” and “O ther Advertising” . This is google analytics channels report and as you can see in the screenshot there are 7 channels represented in this report actually there are 9 channels 2 channels which are not represented in this report are “Email” and “O ther Advertising” .

What are definitions of channels in google analytics?

Google Analytics Default Channel Definitions

ChannelDefinition
DirectSource exactly matches”direct” and medium exactly matches “(none)” Or “(not set)”
Organic SearchMedium exactly matches “Organic”
SocialSocial Source Referral exactly matches Yes
(Which means the traffic generated from list of more than 5000 domains which GA tags as “Social”) OR medium matches one of the social,social-network,social-media|sm,social network,social media
EmailMedium matches exactly “Email”
AffiliatesMedium exactly matches “affiliate”
ReferralMedium exactly matches “referral”
Paid Search Medium is cpc OR ppc OR paidsearch
AND
Ad Distribution Network does not exactly match Content
DisplayMedium matches display OR cpm OR banner
OR
Ad Distribution Network exactly matches Content
Other Advertising Medium matches cpv OR cpa OR cpp OR content-text

These definitions of Google Analytics channels should help you in creating UTM tags for your marketing campaigns, for example if your affiliates tag their url with utm_medium=partnership instead of utm_medium=affiliate traffic from this affiliate will not be grouped under channel “Affiliates”.

And if you are running a large marketing account with several campaigns it gets difficult to tag and maintain nomenclature of you UTM tags and this may lead to wrong grouping in channels but to avoid that you can use Google Analytics Bulk UTM URL Generator.

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AuthorNIkhil Parachure

Nikhil is nothing short of "Swiss Knife of Digital Marketing" over the course of last 10 years he has been involved in practically every facet of Digital Marketing and Analytics. Starting career with paid search Nikhil has built and managed award winning digital campaigns, has been Google Adwords Top Contributor, Planned and implemented several complex and large scale web and mobile analytics implementations. Currently working for a leading ecommerce platform in India as Head of Digital Marketing Nikhil has also conducted analytics and marketing trainings for several MNCs.

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