Reachmail and Google Analytics

There’s no denying that Google Analytics is popular. In fact, it’s the most widely used site traffic analysis software. So, it’s no surprise that we field a lot of queries about ways to combine email marketing and Google Analytics (GA).

While we’re still working on complete GA integration with our existing reporting tools, you’ll be happy to hear there are some things you can do now to put GA to work on your email campaigns. Adding GA tracking to your campaigns can give you great insight on what subscribers do after they’ve clicked on a campaign link and landed on your site. Combined with GA Goals, you’ll get a great perspective on just how effective your campaigns can be.

Getting started is simple in most cases, all you need is a GA account. Keep in mind that any page you want to track will need to include the analytics code, so if your email campaign landing pages don’t already include that code, add it before you start sending optimized traffic there.

Next, you’ll need to modify links in your mailing to include GA tracking codes. From here on, we’ll use a phony example to illustrate how your links change. Our dummy site is a1widgets.com, and this particular campaign is designed to drive traffic to /new_widget.html, a landing page with order form for the latest widget.

Normally, links in the campaign would look like http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html. However, we’re going to add a few GA tracking codes, utm_campaign, utm_source, and utm_medium. There are other tracking codes available, but these three are sufficient to get started.

utm_campaign identifies the marketing campaign that this mailing is a part of. If it’s part of a larger strategy you may wish to align this value with that. In this example though, we’re going to say that the campaign is the monthly email ad, therefore utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd.

utm_medium describes how the message got to the site visitor. Simply using Email is usually enough. So utm_medium=Email.

utm_source is where things get interesting. Historically, “source” has always described “who” so this is a great place to push in any demographic information you have in your list, e.g. age, gender, geographic location. If you don’t have that information available to you (and why not?) it should suffice to use a general term. We’ll use ActiveCustomers, so we get utm_source=ActiveCustomers.

These three parameters need to be tacked on to our landing page URL as a query string. If you’re not familiar with query strings, they’re very simple, just extra information that you can add to a URL in the following format: ?parameter=value&parameter=value etc., etc. To keep things simple, don’t use spaces or special characters in your values unless you’re comfortable with URL encoding.

Ultimately, we get this as our new URL:
http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ActiveCustomers&utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd

And that’s that. At this point, assuming that you’ve got the GA tracking code in your landing page, you’re ready to send. Remember that GA statistics will be delayed about 24 hours.

Once you do start to see some statistics roll in, you’ll be pleased at the insight into your campaigns. The image blow is a sample traffic report indicating visits by campaign and source. Remember in our example, campaign identified the specific marketing effort and the source indicated the source of the subscribers.

Traffic report

Here we have goal conversions by source and medium.

GoalCompletions

Soon we’ll be integrating this data directly with our standard reporting as well as providing automatic campaign tagging but until them don’t hesitate to get started applying GA tracking to your mailings. If you have any questions, contact Reachmail support at support@reachmail.com and keep an eye on the blog for more advanced examples.

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