What is the value of your email marketing efforts?

Email is one of the most widely used digital marketing tools in the communications landscape, and every email marketing platforms has built-in tracking to report on metrics such as email delivery, bounce, open, click-thru and un-subscribe rates etc. However, this integrated email tracking systems can’t provide insight on activities and behaviors of email referrers on the website.

Useful information is missing from most tracking systems. For example:

  • What content email visitors are viewing after landing on your website?
  • How much time they spent on site?
  • What technology they used to access email/website?
  • How many repeat visits do they have?
  • What share of events, goals conversions, revenue etc. can be attributed to this channel?
  • Which email list is most engaged/effective/profitable?

Visitors landing on a website as a result of clicks from email links generally end up as ‘Direct’ traffic in analytics reports. Segment intelligence that can help make better decisions is lost. However, if links to the website in your emails contain identifiers which allows analytics programs to save and report on them, then it becomes possible to study the email channel behavior. This can be achieved through appending email links with utm parameter/value sets from Google Analytics.

With a little additional work — appending web links in emails with utm parameters — email traffic can be separated and reported utilizing ‘Advance Segments’ and/or filters in Google Analytics. The process of tagging URL in emails is similar to tagging any other URL as described in this post.

Take for example a link URL in an email without GA tracking tags,

when appended with following utm parameter/value sets,

will results in a tagged URL as follows

How does tagging of links in emails change the scenario of data being misattributed to ‘direct’ traffic bucket?

We can clearly see that:

1. Emails are large part of website traffic and hence an important channel for marketing.


2. Email traffic is contributing and assisting in website goals.


Now reports from email marketing platform and Google Analytics can be viewed side-by-side, combined in a spreadsheet or imported into a third party application to give a 360° view of email channel performance.