How To Tag Email Campaigns Using Google Analytics

How To Tag Email Campaigns Using Google Analytics

How To Tag Email Campaigns Using Google AnalyticsEmail marketing is generally the best overall traffic source for converting revenue or leads that we see.  After all - visitors are already engaged and have shown interest in your product or service.  Moreover, you are sending them information on special offers and/or newsworthy items.

Sounds like a recipe for success!
But how do you know what is working?

This is my number one item to address with our client base at the moment!  We have so many seasonal businesses starting to drip market using newsletters and unless they are tagged using Google Analytics, we have little ability to learn what is and isn’t hitting the right buying buttons!

Let me elaborate on the problem and then explain how to get the maximum amount of useful data from your email marketing campaigns!

Untagged Email Marketing Campaigns

If you send out a newsletter and receive visits to your site without tagging, Google Analytics will either show this visit as:

1) A direct visit if your customer has not visited from that computer (browser) before

2) A visit from the source that they last used to view the site. For example, if they searched using Google and clicked on an organic link 3 weeks ago, then clicked on your newsletter, the credit for the visit will be given to the Google/Organic source/medium.

Email Marketing Using Google Analytics

3) A visit from their webmail server. Which IS at least recognizable, but infuriating for trying to build overall email marketing campaign value.

As you can see… none of the above helps to understand how effective that newsletter has been overall, much less which elements of the newsletter were of most interest to people.

Here is how to rectify this issue so that we gain maximum amounts of information from your email marketing campaign.

Email Newsletter Tagging

Tagging Structure

First of all, it is highly recommended to understand how you need to record your newsletter information. Each time you send a newsletter we need to be able to track the following and this influences the use and naming of our tags. By breaking this out we can see all metrics (including visits/goals/revenue) for each.

  • Track the individual newsletter sent (e.g. March-20-2010)
  • Track all newsletters
  • Track which ads are most effective (e.g. Widget 1 vs Widget 2)
  • Track campaigns (e.g. Spring Discount)

The tagging fields we suggest to track these would be as follows:

  • Source: newsletter_date (allows individual newsletters to be tracked)
  • Medium: email (allows entire email marketing to be tracked
  • Adcontent: widget1 or widget2
  • Campaign: spring_sale or widget_2launch (you can tag multiple campaigns in a single newsletter)

Generating Tagged URL

Now comes the fun part! Use the Google Analytics tagging tool to generate a URL for EVERY newsletter link back to your site. Make sure you get them all! Place them in your newsletter software package to ensure that any tracking link that it applies embeds the fully tagged link.

Tagging Newsletters in GA

Some newsletter products, like our Whichabam! Email Marketing Tool, automatically tag links back to your site with Google Analytics code.

The Result

With these links now tagged we can not only see the benefit of email marketing but understand what customers are engaging with and focus further on these items to increase conversion. Not just with your email marketing, but also by increasing the presence of these items on your site as a whole.


There is so much valuable data gained from newsletter campaigns!  Take the small amount of time to tag before you send, otherwise you are just blindfolding yourself unnecessarily.

Understand your successes so that you can repeat them! :)

It's a competitive market. Contact us to learn how you can stand out from the crowd.

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Post a Comment


  • avatar

    Google analytics is important part of business website. You share the great article. It is very supportive and useful post. I would like to visit the post once more its valuable content. Thanks for such post and please keep it up.

  • avatar

    Yes, offers their own basic stats to track this:
    Thanks for your comment!

  • avatar

    I know that I cannot use google analytics on wordpress.COM, but do you know if I can use the email tracking? Ie if I send someone an email, do you know if there is a way to track who opened it/how many times, etc?

  • avatar
    Barcelona Flat 


    Thanks a lot Jon, just starting our first email campaign and that was exactly what I was searching for before click the “send” button!

  • avatar

    Hi Kenji… the "All Traffic Sources" and "Campaign" reports, within the traffic sources area should contain your tagging.
    That is assuming that you have used source, medium and campaign fields. For any others use the metric drop down to select them.
    Hope this helps. 🙂

  • avatar

    How do you view tagged links in Google Analytics???

  • avatar

    Thanks so much Jon for educating us to get the statistics for the email campaigns  we sent. I think we should give as much importance to Email Campaigns as we give to our websites because the email newsletters delivered almost looks like a website with images, links, alt tags etc. except that there won't be any forms. So we should optimize and monitor it like a website to get more clicks and sales !

  • avatar

    I do think that Email marketing is generally the best overall traffic source for generating leads.I was planning to start an email marketing campaign , but I had no idea how to track the visits from it. These  tips are really informative.

  • avatar

    Hey Jon, how can i classify the data between widget1 and widget2 in GA report?

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