You Ask, I Answer: Email Marketing and Google Analytics Tracking

Heather asks, “Do you do custom UTMs for every link in your email newsletters? Or do you let your email marketing platform’s tracking codes step into the gap?”

You Ask, I Answer: Email Marketing and Google Analytics Tracking
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In today’s episode, Heather asks, do you use custom UTM tracking codes for every link in your email newsletters? Or do you let your email marketing platforms tracking codes step into the gap? Oh, well, it depends.

It depends on your email marketing platform.

One of the challenges is that not all email marketing platforms are the same.

Not all of them have the same commitment to analytics.

Excellent.

And so a lot of the time, I find myself hard coding those links using URL shortener, some kind of a tool, that’s an open source tool called yours is y o u r l s.org.

And it’s a self hosted URL shortener, if you’ve ever used, say, Bitly, or any other major URL shortening, software, it’s exact same thing, but it’s yours.

So it runs on your domain.

And you can make it you can buy your own domain shortening domains, like I use espn.com, for my my short links.

And in there as a module for Google Analytics, so Google Analytics integration, allows it to send tracking data and append all the UTM codes exactly the way that I want them to be set.

That makes shortening URLs a lot easier.

And then I use that software for social media, for private social media for emails, you name it.

And I do that, because in Google Analytics, three, there’s a lot of flexibility when it comes to how you can define sources and mediums and default channel groupings.

So anytime you’re in the application, where you’re looking at default channel groupings, like an attribution analysis, out of the box, it’s not usually right.

That’s just the nature of the beast.

But you can customize it, you can say, Okay, any traffic from facebook.com should always be counted to social media, right? You can’t do that in Google Analytics for Google Analytics for all the channel definitions that you see in the application are hard coded in by Google, and we don’t get a choice.

And so if we have email marketing software, or marketing automation software, that is sending non standard UTM codes, meaning that it’s doing things are capitalizing them, it’s switching them back and forth.

Whatever the case is, we don’t want our arc software, sending that data to Google Analytics for because then a major channel, right social media or email is going to get mis attributed, it’s gonna get put in the wrong bucket or no bucket at all.

And then the built in attribution tools, and Google Analytics force simply will not work.

So to answer your question, it depends on your platform software, if they are adhering to Google’s best practices, and they are showing up with the correct UTM tracking codes for the source and the medium they working for, then use the built in ones.

On the other hand, if they are non standard, or non compliant, then you’re better off making the UTM tracking codes yourself in a URL shortener and putting the shortened URLs in the email because even then, if the software sends the wrong UTM codes, the moment that the visitor clicks on that link goes to your URL shortener, your URL shortener will expand it.

And it will have the correct UTM codes, the other ones the old ones will get dropped off in they’ll have the correct new ones on there.

And that will give you much better data.

So it depends, you have to do some testing, right? You’ll have to do some testing to figure out is this something that is correct? Or is this something as non compliant? I strongly recommend that you check out the UTM tracking defaults for default channel groupings for both Google Analytics three, and Google Analytics four you can find the documentation right on Google’s website, and make sure that you compare it with what your email software is sending.

Great question.

Thanks for asking.


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