Tracking Email Campaigns Using Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free Web analytics tool that can be integrated with your email marketing campaigns to gain valuable information about the subscriber activity on your site. This data can be used to increase the effectiveness of future campaigns, and thus boost sales conversions, subscribers, or other campaign goals. In fact, according to a 2005 JupiterResearch report, using Web analytics to target email campaigns can produce nine times the revenues and 18 times the profits compared to regular mass email campaigns.

Today I am going to talk about how you can easily tag your email links in Google Analytics so you can better track your email marketing campaigns. Before we begin, make sure you have a Google Analytics account for your Web site, and verify that it is set up to track conversions. This involves placing a piece of code on every page you want to track on your site, including each conversion or order confirmation page.

What is Link Tagging?
Link tagging involves adding additional information (i.e., variables) to the destination URLs used in your online ads so Google Analytics can detect and associate each link with a specific campaign.
You can tag any number of online activities, including banner ads, paid search ads, or emails. Once a visitor responds to the ad, Google stores a cookie on his or her machine and is able to connect her ongoing actions with the original ad.



How to Tag Your Links
Tagging your links is very easy using Google's  URL Builder.You merely need to identify the proper information to place into each of the following variables:

·    Source

·    Medium

·    Term

·    Content

·    Campaign

The source identifies who is delivering your message to the customer. It also defines the origin of your message. Examples include Google, Yahoo, a Web site you are advertising with, or the name of your newsletter.

The medium is the means that is used to deliver the message to the recipient (i.e., CPC, banner, email). For an email marketing campaign, you will use "email."

This is the term or keyword you purchased and is only used in paid search tracking. Therefore, it will not be included in an email marketing campaign.

The content variable can be used to perform A/B testing on two versions of an ad. For instance, you can send out two email newsletters and determine which one performs better for you by tracking them separately. You can also assign different content attributes to different parts of a single email. For instance, you may want to tag your header, special offer, footer, and product links. When you use a different content variable for each specific link in your creative, you are able to determine the effectiveness of each part of your email.

This is the name of your campaign. You can be running one campaign on several different mediums. Use a descriptive term or slogan like "February Promotions" or "Get in Shape for Spring."

Once you have identified your specific campaign variables, simply enter them into the Google URL Builder, and click on "Generate URL." Then replace the original URL of the link in your email with the new one. You'll need to repeat this for each link in the message you're working on, as well as every future email broadcast you send.

How Is My Email Performing?
Now that you're successfully tracking email campaigns, it's important to know how to access the data. To begin, log into Google Analytics and click the "Traffic Sources" tab. Then click "Campaigns." All of your campaigns will be listed here for the time period you selected. You can click on a specific campaign (i.e., February Promotions) to see the full campaign summary. The "Segment" drop-down box has a long list of options, including "Source," "Medium," and "Content." You can use this feature to track the origin of your traffic, the specific email it's coming from, and the call-to-action that's generating the traffic.

Spend some time exploring Google Analytics and learning how to use the technology. The program's full capabilities surpass the scope of this article.

Integrating Google Analytics with your current email marketing reporting tools helps you understand how customers and prospects respond to your ads and interact with your web site. You will have instant access to all of the clickstream data users generate as they move from page to page across your site. This means you can find out who left your site after previewing your landing page, and who started the process of purchasing a product but strayed to another part of the site. You can see who reviewed product or service information, and who didn't. Essentially, this will allow you to identify what is working in your campaigns and what is not. Then you can tweak future campaigns to see an improvement in performance and ultimately, an increase in sales conversions.

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