I'm new to this forum, and I'm coming at this from a non-programmer's perspective, so apologies up front if the question sounds (or is) inane. Also, I searched and found nothing, but if it's already been addressed, please direct me to the thread.
I've been asked to find a way to track responses directly to web traffic so we know for certain that a spike in activity is attributable to a specific email campaign. Is there a simple way to do this, or am I stuck looking at overall web trends and hoping a spike that happened near the release of the campaign is related?
I thought about linking to a landing page that immediately redirects to the user's relevant/desired page, but my web guy seems to think that has a strong potential for activating recipients' anti-virus software. Plus, I'm worried that adds another step on top of what this service does and either is redundant or interferes.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
If you are using an enterprise email marketing application (like Blue Hornet), it should track the links for you. If you're not using such a solution, you'll essentially have to recreate the tracking system. Robust email systems employ an "ad server", essentially rewriting all of your links to the ad server (a centralized location) which allows them to track each click and still send the user to the appropriate URI.
In my experience, using tracked links can slightly contribute to the "spam score" of an email message. Whether or not that is a deterrent depends on other factors, like the integrity of the message itself (if you have a giant image with a link, your spam score will already be high and will likely be flagged). If you have a simple, mostly plain-text and CSS-styled message with a reasonable number of links, tracking the links through a central location is pretty safe.
Your other option is to track them externally (non-centralized) where you aren't worried about email filters. You could do something like this:
For each link append: "?ref=blast"
So for example:
Then for each linked page in the message, on the actual website you would need to install tracking code that would register each instance of the $ref variable requested from the server (which would tell you exactly how many people were referred from the message). Variable transmission might differ depending on the website implementation.
Thanks. This is very helpful and right in line with what I wanted to do. I just wanted to make sure I wouldn't set off spam- or virus-blocking softward and end up with a 90% bounced score.
One other thing, though: I was doing okay until that last sentence ("Variable transmission might differ depending on the website implementation"). Not quite sure what this means. Can you clarify?
All I meant was that my example was PHP-based (my reference to "$ref"). If the website were in .NET or JSP, how you process the data on the server-side would be different, but the concept is the same.
Got it. Thanks very much for your help. I really appreciate it.
Have a great holiday and new year.
The use of landing pages that are fully integrated into your website and specifically tied to an email campaign is the way to go.
Design your page so that it looks exactly like "just another page" in your website, but focus your content on the offer/message of the email. The email blast got their attention. Now use the landing page as the next step in your focused selling process.
Don't use an immediate refresh/redirect - have the landing page be the destination!
That way you will not affect how filters look at the page.
Best way I've seen so far is this from a competitor to CM/MM
Google Analytics™ Integration
- Just activate the add-on if you use Google Analytics on your website
- One-click. Just check one box, and we do the rest (no need to manually tag every single link in your email campaign).
IMHO, that would be the best way (less cost and simple) to track responses directly to web traffic.
Hope the developers here will add this great feature soon.
Either way, and AFAIK the addon mentioned actually does all the link tagging for you so you will still be able to use these tags for analysing with other web analytics anyway - so still robust.
My final point on why this would be good is that we mustn't forget about the customer needs in all this. Many of the SME businesses will probably be using Google anyway.
Even if they don't because they make do with the free log file versions of Webalizer or AWstats that comes with their hosting plan, you'd be doing them a favour getting them to consider Google instead as it's far superior - and free.
Just came back to say, Ben has replied in another thread for this - apparently, they are just waiting for your votes before implementing it!