Using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager

Using Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager for Your Email Marketing campaign

Marketing is a core part of promoting and expanding your business. Today, you have so many options and so many channels through which you can reach your customers. Using emails, Google ads, Facebook ads, Instagram and Twitter for marketing is common practice.

Emails still hold an upper hand when it comes to engagement. According to MailChimp’s email marketing benchmark report, the average open rate for e-commerce industry is 16.75%. If your business belongs to a different industry, here is a table of average open rates for different industries.

There are extensive reports available to track the open rates and click-through rates of your emails. Services like MailChimp give you data on bounced emails, top clicked links in the email and unsubscriptions from your mailing list. They even tell you which subscribers opened your email the most.

But what if you want to see all of your data in one place? What if you want to compare your site traffic during an email marketing campaign and without it? You’d want to know if you’re getting a spike in the site traffic or if there are more conversions due to your email marketing campaign.

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We’ll discuss how you can use Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager to track the results of your email marketing efforts:

Using Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder

When you send an email, you include a link in the body – except for a rare letter type email. To track links in Google Analytics, you need to modify the URL a bit and make it a tracking link.

Google Analytics provides you with a campaign URL builder tool. This tool adds a few parameters at the end of the URL you want to share in your email. It gives you the ability to track parameters like campaign, medium of traffic, traffic source and more.

Let’s start by creating an example email we’d like to send to our mailing list. Say you want to promote a new product you’ve just launched. You want your customers to know about the product and try it. Your email may look something like:

Product Launch Email

For our example, we’ve kept two call-to-action links – one is a text link and the other is a button link. Normally you’d just copy your URL the product page and add it to both links. Use the campaign URL builder with the following parameters to create a tracking URL:

  • Campaign Source: Set a name to identify in Analytics the source from where your traffic will come during the campaign. For our example, we’ve set this to “mailing_list”.
  • Campaign Medium: This is the advertising medium used to reach your target audience. For example, a newsletter, cost-per-click ads etc. For our email, we’ve set this to “email”.
  • Campaign Name: This is the name with which you’ll be able to identify this particular email campaign in Google Analytics. For our example, we’ve set this to “product_launch”.
  • Campaign Term: This is used for paid search. You need to specify the search keywords for your campaign here.
  • Campaign Content: This is used for when you have two different link types pointing to the same URL. For example, you can have a text link and an image link both pointing to your product page. This comes in handy when you want to differentiate and identify which link was clicked to come to your website.

Campaign URL builder

Campaign Term and Content are optional fields. For our example, we’ve used the necessary parameters – Campaign Source, Medium, and Name. The campaign builder tool adds UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) parameters to the URL. The final tracking URL looks like:


Do this for all the URLs you want to use and track in your emails. With campaign parameters set in the URLs, you’ll start seeing the campaign data in your Google Analytics custom campaign section.

In your Google Analytics account, navigate to Acquisition and click on All Campaigns in the Campaigns section to view your custom email campaign data.

But this is not the only thing that you can do with Google Analytics tracking. You can take your email marketing campaign a step further by understanding your recipients’ behavior using Google Tag Manager.


Using Google Tag Manager

Google Tag Manager is used to add tags to events that occur on your website. When an event takes place on your website for which you’ve set a “trigger” condition, a tag is “fired”. There are various tracking tags that can be set in Google Tag Manager.

Google Tag Manager works on the basis of three things:

  • Data Layer: This is where all the interaction and loading data of your website is stored.
  • Trigger: This is a where you set what sort of event should take place to fire your tag.
  • Variable: This is the variable part of your tag equation. Pages on a website have different elements and you may want to use different elements for different events. This is where variables come in handy.

For an ecommerce website, events like customer visit to a product page, add to cart or payment made during checkout etc., can be tracked.

For an email, an event is when someone clicks on the link provided in your email. So combining tags for ecommerce events and emails, you can have a deeper understanding of your customers’ behavior. This way you can create campaigns which are very focused and appeal to your customers.

To check whether the increased traffic on your website is a result of your email marketing campaign, you can use Google Tag Manager. We’ll guide you on how to create a page load analytics tag in Google Tag Manager. For this, we’ll make use of the Page URL built-in variable of Google Tag Manager.

This tag will tell Google Analytics when a user came to your website using a link you provided in your email marketing campaign. This way, you know what percentage of your website traffic is coming due to your email marketing efforts. You can also set ecommerce tags to see what part of that traffic is resulting in sales.

In your Google Tag Manager account, go to Triggers page from the left sidebar and click New to add a new trigger.

New Trigger

Click on Trigger Configuration and select Page View under Page View.

Email Link Trigger

Select Some Page Views as you want to be very specific about when this trigger will be activated, i.e., which page is loaded to activate your trigger.

Select the Page URL variable from the drop-down list. Set the condition so that Page URL variable contains the UTM parameters you appended when using the campaign URL builder tool:

Page URL “contains” utm_source=mailing_list&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=product_launch


Add a trigger name and save the page load trigger. Go to the Tags page to create a new tag.

Add New Tag

Click on Tag Configuration and choose Universal Analytics under Featured.

Fill in the Google Analytics tracking ID in Google Analytics Settings form and set Track Type to “Event”.

More fields will appear. Fill in the forms as below:

New Tag Configuration

Click on the Triggering section and select your page load trigger.

Triggering section

Set a tag name and click Save.

Preview and Submit Tag

Once you’ve created your email link click tracking tag, Preview it to see that the tag is firing on clicking your email link and then Submit the tag.

As we’ve created a tag which is tracking an event, you’ll see the results of this tag in the Events section of Behavior reports in Google Analytics.

You can further create tags to co-relate incoming traffic from your email campaign with sales conversions. You can do this by creating a page load tag in Google Tag Manager for the Order Confirmation page of your website.

So you’ll have two tags –

  • One fires when a user clicks on a link you’ve sent in the email;
  • Other fires when a user buys something after coming to your website via email campaign.

Putting it all together

You can’t just rely on metrics like open rate, click through rate etc., to measure the success of your email marketing campaign. These metrics will only make you refine the subject titles and email body. Creating tracking URLs and tags for your email campaigns will help you understand what happens after a recipient has clicked on the link. You must use analytics and tags to deepen your understanding of customer behavior and purchase patterns. With enhanced ecommerce tracking of Google Analytics and custom tags of Google Tag Manager, you can truly understand and target your customers’ needs and wants.