Pattern vs. Field Concatenation

Julia Randall
Julia Randall
  • Updated

Use this article to understand the differences between patterns and field concatenations.


Patterns create a key to which all metadata in AA or GA will be associated.


Elements include:

  • Constant
  • Variable (a field that changes and is not static; this can be a text field, a list, a date, an autofill, or a concatenation); you can autofill and concatenate any field in the template, no matter the field set
  • Date
  • Auto# (create a unique key with an incrementing number)
  • Random (create a unique key with a random string of numbers and/or letters)

Patterns lock once the submission has been committed. Once submitted, it cannot be edited by a user. If the Pattern Elements include a Variable that the user wants to change (such as Flight Date, Campaign Name, Category), the user will need to create a new submission because the Pattern will not update to match the edited value.

If the Pattern is EM-{campaign}-{platform}-Auto# and returns EM-AlwaysOn-CheetahMail-123 but the user realizes they used the wrong Campaign Name, they will have to create a new submission.

Field Concatenations

Field Concatenations string together any fields within the field set.


  • Concatenations can be used in other Concatenations (for example, Final Campaign Name=Brand-LOB_Campaign Name_Flight Date).
  • Field Concatenations can be modified by editing the submission! Fields are not locked and will update the concatenation as the included fields are updated.
  • Because Field Concatenations can be modified, we do not recommend using Concatenated Fields for tracking code/campaign code/key/UTM ID purposes
  • NOTE - if you leave an optional field out of a concatenation it will not result in a double delimiter as a pattern would.  It would just leave the missing field and extra delimiter out.

Example uses:

  • UTM Parameters
  • Campaign Manager and Meta Naming Conventions
  • Content Naming Conventions



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