If you read our first Reporting and Analytics blog, you’ll already know the importance of tracking your email campaigns, and what key metrics you should be recording.
So now you’ve got the basics covered, we’re going to delve deeper into email reporting metrics, more specifically looking at link tracking and Google Analytics integration. Excited?
You should be, because these metrics could help you turn clicks into conversions… now that’s exciting.
Why do we look beyond the click?
Every good marketer knows that ‘click thru’ rates are an essential metric that tell you how many people clicked on the links within your email, giving you a good indication of how engaged your customers were with your content. However, click thru rates do not give you the full picture of what happened past the initial click… did the customer make a purchase… did they drop off your website?
In order to find out how your customers are behaving once they land on your website, you need to put some tracking in place within your links and on your website. This helps to unlock your customers’ behaviour beyond the click, and for that, we need Google Analytics…
How to track your customers using Google Analytics
Now this might get a bit technical, but bear with us as it’s worth it…
Google Analytics tracking works using something called the Urchin Tracking Module (UTM). You will be able to see this in action in this link:
Everything after the first “?” in the link is the UTM, and it can be broken down into the following:
utm_campaign: Refers to the campaign name (in this instance we would be referring to the March marketing email.
utm_content: Content is used to track an individual or segments response. This could be based on any field in your database, for example user-id. For this example we have used a rather generic “group 1”, because who knows what data you hold! (Your options are endless). It’s important to note that this, like term, is an optional field.
utm_medium: Tells analytics the medium used for marketing, (in this instance we would be talking about email).
utm_source: This is usually the media owner, but for email marketing it can be used to specify the source of email list or type of email, e.g. houselist, welcome-email, abandoned-basket. For the purposes of the link above we are using Enabler (the greatest email product on the planet… of course 😉 ).
utm_term: In AdWords, term is used to identify the keyword used to trigger the ad, but it can be used in email marketing to identify individual links e.g. offer-link. It is important to note that this is an optional field in email campaigns if your email provider lets you set up trackable links.
How do you create your own UTM codes?
There are three main ways you can create UTM codes.
1. Through your Email Service Provider (ESP)
Many ESP’s will have in-system methods of creating UTM codes. Enabler, for example, does it through its Web Links section, allowing you to fully customise your the tracking of your links.
2. Manually writing them
This is the long way of doing it, but there’s nothing to stop you manually adding tracking to the end of your link. All you need do is take my little template here:
Just update the ‘xxx’ with your own tracking information, then add it onto the end of your link. Simples.
3. Using the URL builder in Google Analytics
Let Google create a custom URL which you can track through Analytics. The URL builder tracking is limited in that it only allows you to enter the values for the parameters, for example, the campaign name and keywords, but this useful tool is a handy of generating a custom URL quickly.
Is there any best practice advice?
Link tracking is there to best used to suit your reporting purposes, so there’s no wrong way to do it, but here are some suggestions which should help point you in the right direction:
Naming conventions: Consider standardising this. Remember, each URL will have multiple parameters, you will want to keep it as clean as possible, and having a standard naming convention across the board will make this easier to manage for reporting purposes.
Type case:– Keep it lowercase.
Remember – Customers can see the URL too! This is one that people often forget, whatever your parameters are, your customers will be able to see in the link in their browser. Make sure whatever naming you use, is something you don’t mind being visible.
Use what you need: only use parameters that are 100% necessary to your campaign.
Shorten it: UTM codes can make links incredibly long. It’s always worth considering using a link shortening service like bitly or goo.gl to manage this.
How can you tell which traffic came from emails?
The best way to do this is to set up an Advanced Segment in Google Analytics which will report solely on your email traffic.
To set this up, select the Advanced Segment option using the down arrow at the top left above the reports in Google Analytics, then choose “Create New Segment” and set the Medium to “Email”. The Advanced segment will now be based on all visits to the site with a medium of ‘email’ set, provided that this is how you have labelled your links by tagging them.
Before you send out an email campaign, make sure you’ve tested the tracking by sending yourself (and preferably a few colleagues) the email, and clicked through to your website. Then log into Analytics to check you can see that the clicks are being registered by your new Advanced Segment in Analytics.
Can you see who is converting based on my email campaigns?
I’m glad you asked! There are a few ways you can do this, but the ways we have found most successful is the use of Event Tracking and Page Tracking in Google Analytics.
Event Tracking essentially works by embedding an image tag within your email with information that Google can use to track customers from email clicks through to conversion. (See Google Developers for more detailed information on how to set up your Events). Once you have your Event set up, you will need to add the URL into your email. It would need to be positioned within your email like this:
…some other head contents…
…some other body contents…
<img src=”URL GOES HERE”/>
and the link would look something like this:
This link will tell Google everything it needs to know to track your conversions.
Page Tracking works slightly differently, but is similar in concept. Each email service provider will have a slightly different way of doing this, but the idea is the same. On Enabler, your dashboard report will have a line in the report which feeds back information about revenue generated.
It does this by working in conjunction with your tracked links and your website. In order to track the pages that your audience visit after they’ve landed on your site, the site needs to send some information to Enabler. In this regard Enabler works in the same way as Google Analytics and requires that each page you wish to track contains a small snippet of code.
Some of this may sound complicated, but trust me when I say that the initial leg work is worth it. So many of us have problems justifying the email campaigns we want to deploy, and in-depth tracking helps demonstrate how valuable a channel email really is.
Additionally, I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for watching the sales pour in after a campaign has gone out. That’s right, analytics is fun. Happy tracking!