Using Google Analytics to Track Email Newsletters (and RSS feeds)

I often get asked how can I see if my email subscribers are looking / reading the newsletter I send out. Google Analytics provides you with an easy and free way of doing this. Today I will take you through the process step by step.

1. You need a Google Analytics account

2. How does it work?

3. How do you make the tags?

Google provides a tool called the URL builder

Google Analytics URL builder


  • Campaign Source (utm_source) – Required. Use utm_source to identify a search engine, newsletter name, or other source.  Example: utm_source=egovnewsletter
  • Campaign Medium (utm_medium) – Required. Use utm_medium to identify a medium such as email or cost-per- click.  Example: utm_medium=email
  • Campaign Term (utm_term) – Used for paid search. Use utm_term to note the keywords for this ad.  Example: utm_term=government+2.0
  • Campaign Content (utm_content) – Used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL.  Examples: utm_content=logolink or utm_content=textlink
  • Campaign Name (utm_campaign) – Used for keyword analysis. Use utm_campaign to identify a specific product promotion or strategic campaign.  Example: utm_campaign=aug2009news

For example I use the following for the eGov site:

  • For email newsletter content : #?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=aug2009news
  • For RSS feed items : #?utm_source=rssfeed&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rssaug2009
  • Why use the # ? This stops the campaign tracking urls being spidered by search engines and appearing in the search results.

4. What do you see in the GA interface?

Pie chart showing the traffic share of campaign visits to the site

Your campaign data is listed as ‘Other’ in your Traffic Sources section

For the eGov site this = 12.56% of visits for the month

You can also segment you data and look at what topics visitors arriving via your newsletters look at on the site – but that is a topic for another day.

So that’s how you track visitors to your site who arrive from your email newsletters or RSS news feeds. Have fun and experiment.


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