Specifying Goal Match Types - The difference between head, Exact, Regular Expression, and Substring Match

There are four different match types that define how WordStream identifies a goal or funnel URL (or both).

  1. Exact match: This will perform an exact character for character match on URL paths.

    For example, if the page URL is http://www.example-site.com/checkout.html, an exact match string should look like this: /checkout.html. Note that the http://www.example-site.com is not included in the match string.

  2. Head Match: If your website uses dynamically generated content and/or URLs, use the Head Match filter and leave out the dynamic values. A Head Match will attempt to match the page URL character for character up until the end of the provided match string.

    For example, if the URL for a particular user is http://www.example-site.com/checkout.cgi?page=2&id=77345 but the 'id' varies for every other user, enter /checkout.cgi?page=2 and select Head Match as your Match Type.

  3. Regular Expression Match: Regular Expression Matches are useful for matching URL paths with lots of variable data. For this type of match, a regular expression should be constructed to match the entire URL path.

    For example, in the case of the URL http://sports.example.com/checkout.cgi?id=006&page=1, the user may want to match all entries with page=1 and any id. Since a simple head match cannot properly perform this type of match, a regular expression is ideal. The user would construct this expression to successfully match the URL: \/checkout\.cgi\?id\=[0-9]*?\&page\=1

  4. Substring Match: Substring Matches are used match URL paths where the path includes any occurrence of the substring.

    For example, in the case of the URL http://www.example-site.com/download.cgi?id=1&page=4, if the user wanted to match any URL path where page=4, the user would enter page=4 and select Substring Match.

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • All matches are case-insensitive by default. Specifying case-sensitivity applies to all match types including regular expression matches.
  • Do not include a trailing / character in any match string. URL paths being matched have their trailing / character automatically removed.
  • Matches are always performed on the path portion of the URL (eg. /checkout.cgi?id=006&page=1). Do not include the http://www.example.com portion of the URL in the match string.