We will go further into newsletter tracking and try to get all important stats from Google Analytics such as emails sent and emails openings. The advantage to doing this is that for most digital teams, the people creating the newsletters are not necessarily the ones analysing the data. This can help bring the teams a more in-depth view into their work and also a new angle in analysing the newsletter.
Before you go ahead and implement this, you should be aware of a few aspects and make some important decisions.
First, will you all be using the same Google Analytics account? Since the newsletter opens will send a lot of visits to your Google Analytics account and most of them will be bounces (a high percent of users will not click on the newsletter to go to the website), take into consideration that using the same account will interfere with your existing data from the website.
Second, you can create a new, separate account. If you choose to create a new account you need to find out, if you use user tracking, how to link the user activity with the user activity on the website. For Google 360 users this is simpler because they can join views, but for regular Google Analytics users, this might be a struggle.
The third option, which I recommend, is to create a second Google Analytics tracking code and run it in parallel with the one you're currently using for the newsletter.
Now, let's dive into how you can track email opening and email clicks.
The usual Google Analytics script will not work for email clients. However, Google Analytics also includes event tracking which can be used through an embedded image pixel within the email body. Implementing the Google Analytics pixel provides great information like real-time tracking, browser and operating system details and demographics.
Insert this snippet in the body of your email like this:
<head> ... </head>
<img src = "Paste the URL here of the Google Analytics implementation">
<footer> ... </footer>
Most of the newsletter platforms have an HTML editor, which you can find by searching the sign " <> " in the template. This will let you add <img src = URL> in the body of your email.
The URL image pixel looks might like this:
Building the URL of the Google Analytics implementation can be done with Google Analytics tool named: Hit Builder. You can also test the URL in the tool and see the hit in real time in Google Analytics.
You have two options when sending the openings: as an event or as a custom metric.
Before you go ahead with the HIT Builder let's get familiar with the components of the URL:
|cm1=Custom metric||This can be cm1,cm2 etc based on what you've created as a custom metric|
|tid=UA-12345678-1||Your Google Analytics Tracking ID|
|cid=User_ID||A systematic tracking ID for the customer|
|t=event||Tells Google Analytics this is an Event Hit Type|
|ec=email||The Event Category helps segment various events|
|ea=open||The Event Action helps specify exactly what happened|
|el=recipient_id||Event Label specifies a unique identification for this recipient|
|cs=newsletter||Campaign Source allows segmentation of campaign types|
|cm=email||Campaign Medium could segment social vs. email, etc.|
|cn=Campaign_Name||Campaign Name identifies the campaign to you|
To see openings as a custom metric, you should first create a new custom metric in the Google Analytics admin interface named Email Opens.
Log in to Google Analytics, and click on Admin. Select the Account and Web Property, and click on Custom Definitions under the Web Property column. Then click on Custom Metrics.
In the next window, click on the New Custom Metric button, and give your custom metric a name, formatting type, minimum and maximum value, and make sure the box is checked for Active.
You may also find some other benefits to using Google Analytics tracking this way over most email service provider (ESP) tracking. It provides great system information like real-time tracking, browser and operating system details, demographic information including location, and will even tie in nicely with your web reports.
How To Use Your Results
The event tracking results can be seen in Google Analytics right away. Below are some examples of where you can see reports within Google Analytics.
Real Time Events of openings for the newsletter:
This report shows the tracking for opens of the emails sent. You can now see how long it takes for people to start opening the newsletter after you've sent them. With this information, you can compare it with past newsletters and see if people are opening it faster or slower, which helps you determine if the subject of the message is motivating enough.
Also, you can see what times of the day get the most opens and plan your newsletter schedule around that information.
With the user location, you can see where in the world people are opening the message you're sending. This can help you determine who your most active audience is and if you should start tailoring your content towards different nations. If you have access to a translation service, this would also be helpful to determine what languages would be beneficial to add to your marketing content.
Google Analytics also has a guide, which I recommend to read as well: Email Tracking - Measurement Protocol.