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How to Track Email Campaign Success with Google Analytics

If you love Google Analytics as much as we do, your fondest wish is that you could have it track all your digital marketing activities such as content marketing or social media marketing. After all, success never depends on a single campaign.

When you set out to grow your business, you incorporate multiple modes of interaction and promotion, and you need to monitor all the different metrics to understand how campaigns impact each other and your brand as a whole. Many of our customers are familiar with plain vanilla Google Analytics but unaware that Google has provided ways for you to tag your online campaigns so that Analytics can differentiate between traffic directed to your landing page by a specific promotion and traffic from other sources. If you run only a few campaigns a year, you can try manual tagging. If you run a lot of campaigns, you may find it easier to manage using a product that has integrated with Google Analytics. This blog post describes an email campaign, but the concepts apply to any online promotion that you want Google Analytics to track “beyond the click” – that means all of them.

Why tag email campaigns?

First of all, why tag your email campaigns at all? As an example, we send out a newsletter every month. If we didn’t use tags, each time someone clicks through to read a blog post, Analytics would count it as Direct Traffic, same as a visitor who had typed a URL directly or who had bookmarked our website. Yes, we use MailChimp to do our mail outs and it provides a report of “opens”. But if we want to look at the total picture of what is happening on our website, including what happened AFTER the visitor landed, we need to tag an email campaign so that Analytics can break out campaign traffic from other sources. You’ll be able to view your campaign results under Traffic Sources in Google Analytics, categorized on its own. If you are running several campaigns, you can drill down to see the results for each.

So, what are Google campaign tags?

Tags are extra information which you add to the links in your email. Google Analytics lets you specify 5 types of variables to help you differentiate between campaigns. To make it even easier, Analytics has a URL builder tool you can use to customize your links. Each time a user clicks on a tagged link, the tagged information goes to Google Analytics, which begins tracking the visitor’s activities on your website, including the conversion funnel. What if we run a lot of campaigns? There are email solutions that have integrated with Google Analytics. They automate tagging to make life much simpler. A few of these popular email solutions include:

At this time, only MailChimp has taken the extra step of connecting your MailChimp account with your Google Analytics account to pull in analytics data for richer reports in MailChimp. Google Analytics, however, is where you see a full, consolidated picture of all your traffic sources – whether it’s from AdWords, banner ads, organic search, or other campaigns that you’ve set up using other tools. At the moment, it’s your best dashboard view. So tag, tag, tag.

Got questions? Join us at our next P.A.C.E. Digital Marketing Workshop or Google Analytics Training Course. For more details, visit our Digital Marketing Training Workshops page.