After the Click: Improving Campaign Performance with Web Analytics

What happens after you send out that carefully crafted email campaign? What do you look for beyond open rates and click throughs? What do people actually do when they get to your landing page or website? And are you able to not only track that information, but put it to use in your next campaign?

To really understand the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, you need to keep tracking your customers’ behavior beyond your email, even beyond your landing page. How else can you know your real success if you don’t know your real results? Plus you can learn from knowing what people do at your website. Where else do they click? Which other pages do they visit? Do they sign up for your emails? How long do they hang around? At what point do they bail? To gather this data, your email must be integrated with your web analytics. It’s the only way to carry your tracking through comprehensively. 
And on the other side of that information gathering is what you do with that data to improve your email marketing. Ideally it’s a closed loop process, with the ESP and web analytics both feeding information to each other. 
By integrating your email with your web analytics, you can track behavior and better understand your conversion rates, improve your campaigns, respond to individual behavior in near real-time, and ultimately increase your email marketing ROI. You can learn, tweak and improve, and even segment your email marketing messages in the future. 
Integrating email with web analytics gives you real-life data, but it’s not as easy as it seems. However, the payoff is worth it. If you’re ready to take on—and profit from—this kind of integration, here are some things to consider, both when choosing an analytics provider and when setting up the integration:
  • How often data is flowing from the analytics provider to your ESP and how quickly do you need to make decisions based on that data? If you can wait 24 hours to get data back, then a batch process is fine. However, if you’re looking at shopping cart abandonment, and you need to react right away to a behavior, you need something more real-time so you’ll want an inline process that allows immediate reaction, without the delay of a batch process.
  • What segments are important, and what information do you need in order to allocate or define the segments?
  • What is your internal availability for building an API now plus supporting it later? Do you want your IT team to take this on, working with your marketing team? Do they know the ESP well enough, and can they support the integration when something goes wrong? Or should you outsource this?
  • How easy is it to migrate if you switch ESPs? You have to make sure your new ESP can tag links to where your analytics package can easily identify the same information for a person, and for a campaign. That new ESP is also going to need to be able to consume data from the analytics company, send and consume data back and forth from the analytics package.
  • As a preventive measure, your marketing department needs to acid test the solution. You have two separate systems operating relatively independent of each other, but you need to regularly make sure the information going back into both systems is accurate.

When your email and web analytics are integrated as a closed-loop process, it should be seamless. Your ESP sends an email and links within the email include identifiers of who that recipient is and the campaign they’re being sent. When they click on a link, the ESP feeds that information over to the analytics provider on a batch basis. You’ll learn about the campaign performance, but also specific metrics about who did what individually once on the site. But that’s not the end of it. The web analytics can also feed information back to your ESP, enabling automated responses or other email messages appropriate to a customer’s particular actions. Then you take all you’ve learned and tweak your next campaign accordingly. 

If you’re tracking email and web analytics separately, you’re missing the big picture. If you have them integrated, you’re ahead of the game…and the competition. 
– Marco Marini
ClickMail Marketing