Email tracking is a great way to track engagement with offsite visitors. Google Analytics offers reporting capabilities to help you visualize email open rates. Most email service providers offer email tracking and integrate very easily with Google Analytics, but if your email serivce provider doesn't offer this feature, then I'll walk you through the implementation.
To integrate with Google Analytics, we need to send this data upon the user action of opening the email. To do this we'll use the Analytics Measurement Protocol. Add an image tag to the body of an HTML email. This will send the data to your Google Analytics account.
|el||free consultation to agent||Event Label|
|dt||free consultation||Document Title|
|cs||mail service||Campaign Source|
Protocal Version: This is required. Leave it set to 1.
Tracking ID: This is the tracking ID for your Google Analytics account. If you do not know your tracking ID, please ask your Google Analytics Administrator.
Client ID: This is 2 random numbers separated by a period. Use the command below to get a random client ID from Google Analytics. See additional details
Hit Type: In this case leave hit type as 'event' since you want to track email opens as events.
Event Category: This is a high level term for the event. In this case 'email' is a good representation. See additional details
Event Action: This represents the type of action the user took. In this case 'open' is the action.
Event Label: This is a detailed description of the event. Consider using the subject line of the email.
Document Path: Since email does not have a document path, consider leaving this set to '/email/'.
Document Title: Since email does not have a document title, consider using the subject line of the email.
Campaign Source: This identifies the method of sending the email. In my case, I'm using a custom mail service. See additional details
Campaign Medium: This identifies the marketing medium. 'email' is standard.
Campaign Name: This identifies the individual campaign name. Consider using the subject line.
Send the email with the new tracking tag. Then open the email.
Log in to your Google Analytics account to view the real-time event data to see if the email open event tracked successfully.
Additional Details and Caveats
Remember to URL Encode the URL in the img src. Replace all spaces with %20. If the same person opens the email multiple times, it will send multiple events to your Google Analytics account. In this case, consider using a unique ID and map it to a custom dimension. This will allow you to report on unique users/events in Google Analytics. For more advanced configuration, consider using custom dimensions and custom metrics. Also, please note the steps above will only work for HTML emails. If you are sending plain text emails, you have some obstacles. One approach that most email service providers use is to add tracking codes to links within the email. Then when a link is clicked, it will send the email open event to Google Analytics.
For additional information regarding campaign parameters see: Best Practices Using UTM Parameters