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: