E-Mail Links Are Meaningless

We all do it. It’s been done for years. But copying and pasting links inside e-mail messages is meaningless.  While not actually. Let me explain.

When someone clicks a link that you’ve shared in an e-mail, it is recorded in your analytics program as a Direct Link (see the graphic below from my site’s Google Analytics account).

This does very little to indicate if the link that was shared was actually clicked or not.  Direct links in analytics programs are basically a catch all.  If a source is not identified, the traffic is grouped into the ‘direct’ category.  If someone types the URL into the browser, it also is recorded as a direct link.

If you want to know if the links in your e-mail messages are clicked, you need to append some tracking code to the end of the link.

Google provides a free tool that you can use to generate the link with the tracking code.  The URL Builder just requires 4 fields:

  1. Website URL
  2. Source
  3. Medium
  4. Campaign Name

The final output link looks like this:

http://www.mikemccready.ca/blog?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Blog%2BPromote

By using the Google URL Builder, you can tell if traffic to your website is from your e-mail messages.  You could even have each campaign have a slightly different tracking code so you could even determine which e-mail campaign generated the most traffic.

Note: If your e-mail message is in HTML, you can hide the long URL with a text link.

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    I fully agree with you! these links are not popular indeed! Just waste of time