Using Google Analytics to Track Email Campaigns

Written by  March 13, 2010

In past articles I talked about using Google’s URL builder to track traffic from paid search channels outside Adwords (like MSN and Yahoo for example.)

In this article I thought I’d quickly show you how you can apply that same technique toward tracking of email campaigns as visitors have asked this as well.

Remember, generally Google Analytics looks for a few basic values in each link (yes you can track more items, but these are the basics.) The three basic pieces of information Google looks for in links is the campaign source, campaign medium and campaign name. The actual Google variable representations are listed below as a refresher but I have included some text that will help you from the email perspective.

  1. Campaign Source (utm_source). This identifies the name of your email marketing system, such as ConstantContact. If you don’t use a thirds party email marketing system, you can label your campaign source something general like ‘Email Marketing’.

  2. Campaign Medium (utm_medium). This identifies the campaign instrument used. In the case of email marketing, your medium is ’email’.

  3. Campaign Name (utm_campaign). This identifies the name of your campaign. The Campaign Name helps you differentiate between various campaigns or unique messages within each. Most Email Marketers use their message subject line or other identifying value for this parameter.

Here’s what the URL Builder might look like with those three variables filled in for an Email campaign:

emailtrackingGA

Viewing Email Campaign Results

Once you have built your url and inserted it into the proper location within your email, tracking will automatically begin. With the tracking results you can find out a number of things including: which links were most popular with your recipients, when they visited your website, how long they stayed and where they navigated following arrival.

With this information you can refine your future email marketing to gain better results.

How to view campaign results in Analytics:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account.

  2. Click ‘Traffic Sources’ from your Dashboard.

  3. View your ‘Top Traffic Sources’ or click ‘View Full Report’ to see all traffic sources.

  4. Locate and click the link identifying your email marketing Campaign Source. In our example above, your Campaign Source is your email marketing product, i.e. ConstantContact, or ‘Email Marketing’.

On your Campaign Source page, Google Analytics provides details on the number of visitors generated by your campaign, the number of pages they visited, average time on your website, percent of new visitors to your website and the average bounce rate.

Campaign managers can also drill-down using the segments drop-down menu. This provides even greater detail on individual campaigns, keywords, geographic regions, browser types, operating systems and visitor activity, like the most popular landing and exit pages. Each results page provides the means to drill-down even further and fine-tune your data.

Here is what the top level report might look like when segmented by ‘Source’ in Google Analytics:
emailtrackingGA2

Here is what the top level report might look like when segmented by ‘Medium’ in Google Analytics:
emailtrackingGA3

Here is what the top level report might look like when segmented by ‘Campaign’ in Google Analytics:
emailtrackingGA4

To get more detailed information on each you can further filter, segment, etc… and even drill down by clicking the link to the page you want to see more information on.

Now, if you haven’t had the ability to do so already, you can get better metrics from your email campaigns within Google Analytics.

Got any other ideas for email tracking with GA? Post your ideas below. I’d like to hear them.

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Comments

11 Responses to “Using Google Analytics to Track Email Campaigns”

  1. kris on April 9th, 2010 6:36 am

    Is there a way to “mark” the graph in GA to denote when you started a campaign?
    Lets say I sent out 20,000 post cards asking people to visit my web site on April 5 2010 & get great traffic for the following week, well I can pretty much tell that would be a result of me sending out post cards, however what happens when I look back 2 years from now & wonder “hmm, why did I have that spike in traffic the week following April 5thh 2010?”
    Thanks

  2. Eric on April 9th, 2010 12:59 pm

    Just run your reports in Google Analytics based on a certain timeframe. That should do it. You can use the built in calendar to get it done.

    As far as “marking a start date”, unfortunately Google doesn’t give you the ability to do that. I keep a list in an Excel Spreadsheet for start and end periods at the moment. That helps me go back and determine the effect something had at a later date (when I want to compare to an exact event in time.)

  3. shazam on April 21st, 2010 11:26 am

    Kris: Try the following, which may be what you’re after.

    When looking at the graph, you’ll notice a down arrow, bottom centre. Click that which will slide down revealing a ‘Create new annotation’ button. Click that and enter your info & date which will create a little note on the bottom of the graph for the date you’ve entered. Very handy for keeping tabs on the effect of different SEO/marketing work.

  4. Austen on August 7th, 2010 5:35 pm

    Great post! You can also track how often emails are viewed/opened. You only have to include a tracking pixel. You get these from free providers like http://email-tracking-with-google-analytics.com/
    Each time an email is viewed, a page view is registered in your GoAn account.
    This way you get the full statistics on
    – emails sent
    – emails opened
    – click&responses
    – visits
    – etc.

  5. Tim on August 27th, 2010 10:48 am

    This is great, is there a way to track at an individual level. Would it be possible to include a unique identifier within say the content parameter?

  6. Eric on August 30th, 2010 5:14 pm

    @Tim,

    I’m not sure what you mean by the “individual level”. Can you clarify so I might be able to provide you with an answer?

  7. Tim on August 30th, 2010 6:31 pm

    Hi Eric, I’m thinking along the lines of passing a contact or consumer id. So I can see where specific people went on the site. Thanks!

  8. Michele Bender on July 5th, 2011 4:06 pm

    The typical email that I send from Constant Contact has various links to different pages on my website. In order to track all click thru’s on google analytics, should I apply the URL code, including “campaign name” to each link? Our graphic artist has been including the ecamp name in our emails, but not for each link. I have had trouble identifying those coming from constant contact.

  9. Eric Leuenberger on July 6th, 2011 3:05 pm

    Yes, you should add the code to any link that you want to track in Google Analytics if you are looking to track the campaign.

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