Google Analytics

Using Google Analytics to Track Sessions from Email

My business partners and I are spending more and more time with clients to help them determine the Return on their marketing investments. As you can guess, in the age of digital marketing this is becoming increasingly important. Marketing managers are being are being asked to show results and they are held accountable for the money they spend.

One of the areas that I often see as lacking is the ability to track the performance of emails in the form of eNewsletters. Marketing managers are using various email publishing platforms. They know the mechanics of sending out newsletters. They are familiar with measures and metrics related to email campaigns. And email marketing is cost effective - meaning that email doesn't cost very much and it works. 

What marketing managers don't seem to know is how to get track emails to track in Google Analytics. As you can see in the headline image this client had over 8,500 Sessions but only 12 showed up as a result of emails that were sent out. I know for a fact that they send out thousands of emails each month. So where do all these sessions end up in Google Analytics? These are misappropriated to Direct.

So what is the fix? The solution is to help out Google Analytics by adding an attribution code to all the links in the email. This is simpler than it sounds.

The trick is to use a URL Builder and Google just happens to have created one. See Google URL Builder

Google Analytics uses 5 standard dimensions for a campaign which need to be incorporated into the query string of the URL for each ad placement as this example shows:

The Acquisitions reports in Google Analytics will then enable you to compare media. The table below explains each of these 5 dimensions:

Once you have tagged each link in your email Google Analytics will be able to track the source of the Session on your website. This process is a little time consuming but some email platform automate this process but you have to link the platform to your Google Analytics account. For MailChimp see: 

Workshop at Creativity & Convergence Conference on Nov 30, 2015

On Nov 30, 2015 Jeff Nelson and Jake Blumes will be facilitating a workshop on using data to help make better marketing investment decisions at the Creativity & Convergence Conference in Calgary, AB.

The conference is hosted and managed by Alberta Council of Technologies. You can find out more details about the conference and register on this page:

Our presentation will be on Driving Up Revenue - Using Marketing Data and ROMI.

We will cover the following topics:

Many companies are still basing marketing decisions on what they did last year or what is getting attention on news feeds. Only a few companies are make marketing decisions based on data and a metric called Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). In this session, we will present a model for determining the ROMI for your company and for each of the marketing channels that you are using. We will show you how to collect measures, calculate metrics and select KPIs for marketing, advertising and sales. To illustrate these concepts we will present a case study of a multi-million dollar company that tracks the marketing campaign for every sale generated. We will summarize with a list of 17 essential marketing metrics for customer acquisition. 

This workshop is for business owners and marketers who are involved in marketing, advertising, communications, public relations and promotion.


Jeff Nelson is a digital marketing consultant with extensive experience in presenting, facilitation and teaching. His focus for the last few years has been with helping companies understand the return that they are obtaining for the investments they are making in various marketing channels. Return in this case is revenue that the specific metric is Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). His clients for in this specific area of consulting include: H & R Block, Eye Recommend, Office Gourmet Catering, SAIT Research and Precision Hyundai

Jake Blumes is an accomplished marketer with deep knowledge and expertise in traditional mass media techniques from Direct Mail and Telemarketing lead generation campaigns to Newspaper and Radio advertising. Jake is an advertising, marketing and research professional in Calgary, Alberta and has been on contract with Grants International Inc. since 2005. Prior to that Jake has been in Marketing and Operations with Bell, a Research Consultant with Service Intelligence, a Research Director with Environics and a Director of Market Research with The Faneuil Group.

We hope you can join us at the conference and for our workshop. To register please go this page:

My Favorite Report in Google Analytics

As digital marketing becomes the standard way to market and sell products the importance of tools like Google Analytics will become increasingly more important.

Using and understanding Google Analytics is a fundamental part of what we do at Anduro Marketing. Some days it seems that we eat, sleep and breath numbers, tables, charts and ratios. 

One area that many of our clients struggle is setting up and understanding Goals. It is actually easy: Go to the Admin section, click on Goals and set up a goal. You can even turn on Value to track the dollar value of a specific action that happens on your website. There are advance features that are tricky but to track the performance of a specific page is quite simple.

A common example, is to count up the number of times a visitor fills out a form such as the form on a Contact Us page. It is easy, at the end of the month, to look at the Conversions section of Google Analytics and count up how many times the form was completed. In addition, you can look at Source / Medium and determine which marketing channel is doing the heavy lifting and bringing in the most inquiries. 

Results will look like this:

Using this area of Google Analytics to determine the marketing channel is less than optimum because there is too much information - there are too many Sources. A better way is to click on Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels. This report looks like this:


This is one of the most useful reports in Google Analytics. On one screen you can see all of the following by Marketing Channel:

  • Sessions
  • New Users
  • Bounce Rate
  • Pages/ Session
  • Avg Session Duration
  • AND Conversions

That is my favorite report in Google Analytics.

In my next post, I'll look at some complications between Goals, Pageviews and Segmenting Data.

Using Filters in Google Analytics

Have you noticed a jump in sessions recently?

A few of our clients and one of our websites are getting a bunch of spam from a website with the URL of "" or some version of that. A little bit of spam leaking through is not a big deal but this site seems to really bump up the sessions with no value - very annoying.

In Google Analytics under the Acquisition section on the vertical menu (All Traffic \ Channels \ Source as Referral) you will see something similar to this: 

Notice that there are quite a few sub domains - all are spam traffic. 

When you click on the link for this "referral" you are redirected to and a page that looks like this:

There has been quite a bit written on what these sessions are, how they work and why companies are spamming sites. See Carlos Escalera's post:

The problem is that the traffic from these sites is useless from the point of view of gaining prospects and sales leads. The solution is to filter out sites like this. I'll outline the steps for you:

1. Log into Google Analytics for your website and choose the appropriate profile.

2. Click on the Admin link in the top horizontal menu.

3. Click on Filters under View section

4. Click on the red button for New Filter

5. Enter a name such as Referral Spam

6. Select Custom as the Filter Type

7. Remain on Exclude and choose Referral under Filter Field

8. Under Filter Pattern copy and paste the following:|

9. Click on Verify this filter to check to be sure you that you get some results in the last 7 days.

10. Save and you should have the following:

Now that you know how to create a filter in Google Analytics you can filter out other traffic that is not valuable - for example visits from company employees. All you have to do is create another filter and exclude the IP address of people in your company.