Email marketing reports in real time with Google Analytics

Article written by Claudiu Murariu

Tell me you’ve never felt the adrenaline rush of pushing the Send button for an email campaign! What’s the first thing you do after you click the magical Send button? I, for one, go to reports and look at opens, clicks, bounces and refresh the reports page to get some real time data.

We look at all those metrics and we hope they have an impact on revenue and ROI. The truth is that we have no idea what happens after a user clicks on a link inside the email. Not in real time, at least.

Google Analytics just announced profiled real time analytics data. Let me translate that: real time email marketing reports included.

Let’s see how people interact with our website as soon as they get your newsletter or a specific transactional email. Believe me, you’ll get hooked by it.

Tag your email marketing campaigns

Tagging email campaigns is a must for serious email marketing and I am sure you already do it. However, if you are new to this, check out these resources:

Now that we have a campaign tag which is specific only to visitors coming from your email campaigns, we can create a profile that only looks at those specific visitors and subscribers.

I will assume that all your email campaigns and only your email campaigns will have this tag in common:

  • utm_medium=email

Setup a Google Analytics profile for email campaigns

Name your new Google Analytics profile: Email Campaigns Traffic or any other name that suits you well, select the timezone and click the mighty Create profile button.

The next step is to apply a filter to the new profile so it is going to track only the people clicking your email campaign links. The new filter will look like this:

That’s it. We’re all done!

The next time you’ll click the Send button for any of your email campaigns you’ll see the real time impact your website and offers are having on your subscribers.

Real time email marketing traffic reports

The profiled real time reports feature in Google Analytics is new and it might take a few days till it gets activated for your account as well. However, do the setup now to have it ready when you’ll gain access to it.

The reports will show, in real time, the traffic generate by your email campaigns and more: you get to see the locations of people getting to your website and the pages they are on.

Here is how you can benefit from such a report:

  • you need to know how much time passes until visitors start flowing in, from the moment you clicked the send campaign button;
  • you don’t have, but you need location information about your subscribers;
  • you want to know on what pages subscribers spend the most time, so you can prioritize their optimization in the future;
  • you can alter landing pages in real time based on what visitors click on. It’s trickier than it sounds but does magic works for big email lists.

Go one, give it a try! Click the Send button for your email campaign, let the adrenaline set in and keep it steady with your new real time traffic reports.

Email marketing reports in real time with Google Analytics by

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  • Eddie

    Just checked my Google Analytics account and I don’t seem to have access to real time data for filtered data, just like in your tutorial? Do I need to do something in order to activate it?

    • Claudiu Murariu

      Hi Eddie,

      According to the Google Analytics blogpost: Please note that this rollout will be happening over the next couple of weeks so be patient with us as we ramp this feature up.
      So yes, it might take some time till it gets activated for you as well, but I suggest to do the above setup nonetheless. This way, when it does get activated, it will work out of the box.