Tracking Email Campaigns and Traffic in Google Analytics 4: Decoded

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Introduction

In today’s world, email campaigns remain an essential tool for businesses seeking to connect with their audience effectively. However, analyzing the impact and performance of these efforts needs more than just sending emails, it also involves comprehensive analytics and insights. This is where Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes in as a strong ally.

GA4 represents a quantum leap in analytics. Its comprehensive data collection and analysis approach delivers in-depth insights into user behavior across multiple touchpoints, including email interactions. In this blog article, we’ll break down the intricacies of tracking email campaigns and analyzing traffic data in GA4, allowing marketers to maximize the effectiveness of their email strategy.

 

What UTM conventions should be used while creating links for Email Campaigns?

UTM conventions are the backbone of accurate tracking and analysis in email marketing. They provide the necessary granularity and specificity to gauge the success of email campaigns.

UTM conventions, or Urchin Tracking Module parameters, are a set of tags added to URLs to provide detailed tracking information in analytics platforms like Google Analytics 4 (GA4) about the source, medium, campaign, term, and content. Without UTM parameters, traffic from email campaigns may be combined with other referral traffic in analytics reports, making it difficult to determine the exact impact of email marketing efforts.

When creating links for email campaigns, utilizing UTM parameters is crucial for accurate tracking and attribution. Let’s break down the UTM conventions and understand with the help of an example:

  • Source (utm_source): This parameter specifies the origin of the traffic, such as the platform or website where the link was shared. For email campaigns, the source would typically be identified as email, newsletter, and subscribers.
  • Medium (utm_medium): The medium parameter identifies the marketing medium that brought the traffic, such as email, organic search, or social media. For email campaigns, the medium should be set as “email”.
  • Campaign (utm_campaign): The campaign parameter distinguishes different marketing campaigns or initiatives. It helps marketers track the performance of individual campaigns. When creating links for email campaigns, giving each campaign a unique name that reflects its purpose or content is essential.

UTM parameters are used to categorize and attribute traffic from email campaigns. For instance, if a link labeled with utm_source=email and utm_medium=email is clicked, GA4 identifies it as email traffic and allocates it to the Email channel. Likewise, utm_campaign enables marketers to monitor the effectiveness of individual email campaigns by providing distinct campaign names.

It’s worth noting that the parameters in the utm_source field don’t have to be limited to just “email” – they can also be denoted as “e-mail”, “e_mail”, or “e mail”. Similarly, for the medium field, denotations such as “email”, “e-mail”, “e_mail”, or “e mail” can be used. Regardless of the specific denotation, these parameter values are captured by GA4, and the traffic is ultimately allocated under the Email channel.

Let’s take an example!

Assume that you’re running a spring sale email campaign promoting your new collection. Here’s how you would structure the UTM parameters for the link in your email:

 

URL: https://www.example.com/spring-sale

Final URL with UTM Parameters: https://www.example.com/spring-sale?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=spring_sale

 

In the above example: 

  • Source: ‘email’ indicates that the traffic originated from an email
  • Medium: ‘email’ specifies the marketing medium as email
  • Campaign: spring_sale is the unique name of the campaign

How can we use GA4 reports to see traffic and conversions through Email Campaigns?

 

When UTM parameters are successfully implemented in email campaign links, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) becomes an effective tool for analyzing the performance of email marketing campaigns. GA4 has several reports and tools specifically designed to provide insights into traffic sources, user behavior, and conversion metrics generated by email campaigns. Let’s look at how marketers may use GA4 reports to acquire a complete picture of the impact of their email marketing on website traffic and conversions.

 

Navigate to your GA4 Property > Reports > Acquisition > Traffic Acquisition.

 

Note: If you don’t see the “Acquisition” section (because your GA4 sidebar might be customized), keep browsing and look for “Traffic acquisition”.

 

Click the dropdown arrow beside the Session default channel group column and click Session source/medium.

By default, most of the email traffic will be displayed as (direct) / (none) if there are no UTMs attached to the links. If you want to see something like item 09 with the source being Newsletter_January_2024 and the medium as email, you can achieve this by adding UTMs to the link. However, in your case, the source may vary based on your email preferences.

 

Additionally, you can use the search box right on top of the column Session source/medium and type in “email”. This will filter the items that are related to email marketing.

How can I use Explore reports to see traffic and conversions through email campaigns?

 

In addition to standard reports, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) offers a powerful feature known as Explore reports, which gives marketers deeper insights and customizable analyses of their data. Exploration reports in GA4 are vital tools for tracking traffic and conversions from email campaigns. These reports offer flexibility and granularity, allowing marketers to tailor their analyses to specific email campaign objectives and metrics.

 

To conduct email traffic analysis in GA4, we will start by creating a new exploration report. The report will have 9 tabs and each tab will display one sub-report, measuring the performance of your email marketing campaigns and email traffic.

 

Follow the steps below to create the email tracking report in GA4:

Step – 1: Login to your GA4 Property.

Step – 2: Click on Explore from the left-hand side menu:

Step – 3: Click on creating a new blank exploration report.

Step – 4: Rename the report to Email Traffic Analysis.

Step – 5: Now let’s create a user segment and name it “Email Traffic”.

Step – 6: Let us now add the condition “First User Medium contains email” and check the option at any point in time.

Step – 7: Click on “Save and apply” at the top right-hand side of your screen.

You should now be able to see the segment listed under the “SEGMENTS” column.

Step – 8: Rename the first tab to “Overview” and the following metrics and dimensions in your report.

That’s how you can create various reports to track email campaigns and traffic in GA4.

To create another tab in your report, hover over “Overview”, click on the dropdown, and select “Duplicate”.

Below are the eight reports that you can create in your exploration report to have a detailed view of your email marketing campaigns.

 

#1 Landing Pages: Use this report to measure the performance of landing pages from email traffic.

#2 Devices: Use this report to measure the performance of different devices (desktop, mobile, smart TV, tablet) which sent email traffic to your website.

#3 Browsers: Use this report to measure the performance of different web browsers which sent email traffic to your website.

#4 Countries: Use this report to determine the countries that sent email traffic to your website.

#5 Conversions: Use this report to determine all the conversions generated by email traffic on your website.

#6 Ecommerce: Use this report to measure the ecommerce performance of email traffic to your website.

#7 User Flow: Use this report to determine how the email traffic is using your website.

#8 Funnel: Use this report to determine how email traffic is converting to your website.

Conclusion

In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, email campaigns remain an essential tool for organizations looking to build meaningful connections with their target audience. Google Analytics 4 (GA4) emerges as a beacon of insight, offering marketers a comprehensive toolkit to decode the intricacies of email campaign performance. By adhering to UTM conventions and leveraging GA4 reports, marketers gain invaluable insights into traffic sources, user behavior, and conversion metrics. Armed with these insights, marketers can refine their strategies, optimize engagement, and drive tangible results. GA4 isn’t just a tool; it’s a catalyst for email campaign success, empowering marketers to navigate the digital landscape with confidence and clarity.

FAQs

 

  • Why do I not see the data from my email campaigns in GA4 reports?

    Data from email campaigns may not appear in GA4 reports due to several reasons. One common cause is improper tagging of email campaign links with UTM parameters, leading to misattribution of traffic. Technical issues such as email client blocking of tracking pixels or data processing latency in GA4 can also impact data visibility. To address this, ensure correct UTM tagging, troubleshoot technical issues, and allow time for data processing in GA4. If problems persist, consult with analytics experts for further assistance.

 

  • What are some best practices for optimizing email campaign tracking and analysis in GA4?

    Some best practices include ensuring consistent UTM tagging across all email campaigns, regularly reviewing and analyzing GA4 reports to identify trends and opportunities for optimization, and experimenting with different email strategies based on insights gleaned from analytics data. Additionally, staying updated on GA4 features and enhancements can further enhance email campaign tracking and analysis capabilities.

     

  • Why should I use UTM parameters for tracking email campaigns in GA4?

    Using UTM parameters ensures accurate tracking and attribution of traffic originating from email campaigns. Without UTM parameters, traffic from emails may be inaccurately categorized or lumped together with other sources.

     

About Author

Ananya Seth is a dynamic and skilled IT Professional specializing in Web Analytics and Data Visualization. Serving as a tech consultant, she is dedicated to solving technology-related business problems with innovative solutions. Ananya's expertise spans Core Java, Scripting Languages, Database Administration, Front-End Web Development, and Web Analytics Technologies. In the ever-evolving landscape of information technology, her interest in learning more ranges from Data Analysis to Networking to Cyber Security to Technology Research.

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