Thursday, April 22, 2010

How to track email campaigns in Google Analytics

One of the most common recommendations that Napkyn makes to our clients is to properly tag emails so that they can be tracked in Google Analytics. The key to actionable and insightful digital analysis is clean data that properly represents an online business - and tracking email sendouts is a pretty simple way of cleaning up your data.

How do we set up email tracking?

Unless you're lucky enough to use one of these fine email marketing services with automatic Google Analytics integration, you'll have to set up email tracking manually with a bit of coding.

First of all, let's stop thinking in terms of email tracking and start thinking 'link' or 'URL tagging'. That's the key. Your emails contain links back to your website, and if you want to monitor the impact of your email sendouts, you have to add tags to all your links. Tags are short additions to the URL that tell Google Analytics how to categorize traffic.

But not to worry, it's actually pretty simple.

Let's get started!

Great! A little effort now will make your data much more valuable in the near future. Let's use the Contact Us button on the upper right-hand corner of this blog as an example. It really doesn't matter if you're tagging a link in an email, on a blog, or on a website.

It links back to:

www.napkyn.com/contact.html

But I wanted all the traffic that was sent to napkyn.com using that button to be noted that it was coming from this blog and from that button. So I added some tags to the URL - this will not interfere with sending traffic to the right page, it just labels it. Now the button links to:

http://napkyn.com/contact.html?utm_source=contact_button&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=04152010


You can plainly see how I wanted the traffic labeled.

Source = 'contact_button'
Medium = 'blog'
Campaign = '04152010' (The date the button was placed on the blog)

Now, when I look at the Napkyn.com Google Analytics account, I can see that the source and medium have been labeled as we intended.


For an email, you may want to label your traffic differently than I've done here. For example...

Source = 'newsletter'
Medium = 'email'
Campaign = 'fall'

You can use the Google URL Builder or the excellent tool from Cutroni.com to make this process easier.

Of course, there's a lot more to digital analysis than proper link tagging. So give that wonderfully tagged Contact Us button a click, check out napkyn.com, or leave a question in the comments.

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