It seems that lots of companies know that you can track your email campaigns with Google Analytics (GA), but not so many know how to do it or have actually tried to implement it. In this article I'll briefly explain how it works and all you really need to know to track most campaigns.
The premise behind tracking is very simple, instead of having a unique landing page for each marketing campaign, each marketing effort is tagged and tracked by its URLs.There are just three tags that are required for campaign tracking to work, you can learn about the optional ones here.
The campaign name differentiates the overall marketing effort for that campaign from another. For example, we might run a promotion with a Valentines Day theme which we market using a few email newsletters, some banner advertising and a series of print adverts in flyers and newspapers. For Google Analytics (GA) to know that all of the traffic we send to the website from this campaign should be placed in the same box, we give the whole campaign one name. Our other tags differentiate which marketing effort sent which traffic.
To track the campaign name, we need to manually add a tag to each URL used in the campaign such as, utm_campaign=valentines_promo
The campaign source differentiates one mailshot or advert from the next. In a single campaign, we might send a few different email newsletters or adverts. To let GA know which box to place traffic from a single mailshot into, we add the campaign source tag.
To track the campaign source, we need to add another tag to each URL used, utm_source=. We probably have a few of these if we send a few mailshots or adverts. In our Valentines Day promotion example, we might send out a mailshot two weeks before valentines and another a few days before the deadline.
However, we might also like to use the copy we created for these marketing efforts in our print advertising efforts also. Of course we will want to track them separately to figure out which one worked better and was more profitable. This is where the final required tag comes in.
The campaign medium tag gives GA and us that last bit of information to qualify the source. For example, this tells us whether the traffic on these links was from email or print,
Completing the tagging
Putting this all together, in an email sent out to promote this example marketing campaign every link now carries additional information telling GA which box to place that traffic into.
For example, we have two particular product links which bring email recipients to single product pages on our website. One is for our "12 roses in a bouquet" product (http://www.widgetfloristry.ie/12rosebouquet) and another is for our "Single rose with Chocolates" product (http://www.widgetfloristry.ie/singlerosewithchocolates). The links in the email for our last-minute Valentines Day promotion mailshot now look like this:
What about tracking print?
Ok, I hear you. We can't put a URL like this into print media - nobody is going to type this URL out:
Something more clickable like:
However, those links are not from www.widgetfloristry.ie and may look suspicious to customers. A second way is to create a sub-directory for the print part of the campaign (e.g. www.widgetfloristry.ie/valentines) and have that point to the longer tracking URL. This could be more automated by running your own URL shortening service off your own domain. Better still is to have a few very short, memorable and type-able domain names registered for this purpose, perhaps on cheaper TLD's e.g. bouquets.me using those instead.
What use is all this?
Instead of attributing a spike in your traffic to your campaign, you will be able to see specifically what traffic it's brought in, and which marketing efforts performed best. This allows you to refocus efforts on the better techniques and allows you to know the traffic value of given marketing efforts. With a little more time, you can start doing more interesting things such as split testing.
To view the resulting data, log-in to your GA account and navigate to: Traffic Sources > Sources > Campaigns
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