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Easy Email Tracking Part I: Using the URL Builder


Why Use Google Analytics?

I recently began helping one of CZ’s longtime client’s cleanup and analyze the data in his Google Analytics account. During one of our conversations, he mentioned an email marketing campaign he planned to roll-out. As I struggled to explain how we could use Google Analytics to track the campaign, I realized two things. With so many different, often overlapping, ways to track, it is easy to get confused as to what platform does what, where there’s duplication, and what the best way to implement is. I also realized that when you’re starting out, it’s better to try something rather than worrying if your first implementation is the best and most efficient solution out there. Why not try something simple first so you can see how useful it is? Then, if you like it, you can invest the time in setting up something more integrated and efficient. In this two-part post, I’ll discuss a simple way to track your email campaigns using Google Analytics.

By default, many email marketing solutions provide data on the emails themselves – number of emails opened, email links clicked, etc. However, what happens after a user clicks on a link from your email is what can really help you gauge the success of your campaigns. Are people buying items after clicking emails? Do they read more of your blog posts when they come to your site from an email? Spend longer on your site? Google Analytics email campaign tracking can help you to answer these types of questions.

Installing Google Analytics on your site then auditing and fine tuning the account to make sure your data is accurate can be a challenge. If you don’t have experience, you might want to contact someone with experience for help with the initial setup and audit. But, if you already have Google Analytics installed on your site, adding basic email campaign tracking is easy. The method described in this post isn’t the most efficient, but I’d argue it’s the simplest for someone new to email tracking. The first part of this post explains how to set up your tracking URL. Part two details how to test your tracking setup.

How to Use the URL Builder

To track an email beyond a link click, you can use Google’s URL Builder to create a URL that Google Analytics can track. Then just copy and paste the created link(s) into your email campaign. Google did a great job with the URL Builder, and you’ll be surprised how easy it is to use. Just remember that there are 4 required fields:

  1. Your Website URL – URL for the page you want someone that clicks a link in your email to go to.
  2. Campaign Source – Here you’ll identify where your campaign came from. You could put in the name of your email service here for example.
  3. Campaign Medium – If you’re doing this for email, this would be “email,” without the quotes.
  4. Campaign Name – Whatever you want to call your campaign in your Google Analytics account.

While copying and pasting from the URL Builder isn’t the most efficient way to work, it’s easy and will allow you to see whether or not the data you’re getting warrants further investment in making Google Analytics a more integrated part of your email marketing workflow. Stay tuned for part two of this post, which explains how to test the URL you built in this post.

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