Cardinal Path’s response to COVID-19 Cardinal Path is sharing all we know to help marketers during COVID-19.  Learn more.

ET and GA together at last

It is imperative to track your email marketing campaigns and how they perform in comparison to your other online marketing channels. ExactTarget offers multiple tools to help integrate email campaign tracking with different analytics products; one of these is called the Web Analytics Connector.

The Web Analytics Connector is designed to assist you with tagging your links so that they pass the appropriate campaign information to your analytics tool. I will be describing the tool and discussing how you may consider using it in combination with Google Analytics.

As a quick review, below is a list of the Google Analytics campaign variables that you have the option of setting on each link you would like to track:

  • utm_source : Campaign Source
  • utm_medium : Campaign Medium
  • utm_term : Campaign Term (usually used primarily for PPC advertising)
  • utm_content : Campaign Content
  • utm_campaign : Campaign Name

About the Web Analytics Connector:

Depending on the type of account you have, the Web Analytics Connector may have costs associated with getting it added to your account.

To have the Web Analytics Connector setup and configured, you may need to contact your account manager or ExactTarget support.

There are 4 levels within the Web Analytics Connector where you can define data to be included in your links:

  • Account level
  • Email level
  • Subscriber level
  • Link level

Depending on the level, you may be able to set more than one variable at that level.

Account level data is information that will be applied to every link in every email sent from your ExactTarget account and is information that can not be changed with each email send. Once set it can only be changed by contacting ExactTarget support.

Common Google Analytics campaign tracking variables that you might want to set at this level are 'utm_source' and 'utm_medium'. Setting 'utm_source=ExactTarget' at the account level will ensure that every email that gets sent through ExactTarget will have the links indicate the web traffic originated from one of your ExactTarget emails. Setting 'utm_medium=email' will ensure that all the links in your emails indicate they originate in an email.

Email level data is information that applies to all the links of a specific email campaign. You can have this automatically set based on some attribute available in your ExactTarget account, or you can have it configured so you can edit it every time you create a new email in the ExactTarget interface.

A common Google Analytics campaign tracking variable that you might set here is the 'utm_campaign'. Setting the utm_campaign variable at the email level allows you to track each email as a separate campaign.

Email level data can be set in the 'AdditionalEmailAttribute' field when creating a new email or viewing it's properties.

Subscriber level data is information associated with the specific subscriber to which the email was sent. Subscriber level data will apply to all of the links in each email so that you can associate web traffic to the specific subscriber who received the email. This information could then be stored in a cookie so you can continue to track the subscriber throughout your site.

Be aware of your specific analytics tools terms and conditions as many tools prevent you from tracking personally identifiable information (PII). Google Analytics specifically prevents this in part 7 their terms and conditions. This may limit the type of subscriber level information you can pass to your analytics tools.

If you are using subscriber-level data in your Google Analytics, this might be a case for passing a variable that sets the User Defined Variable (UDV).

You must contact ExactTarget support to enable the inclusion of subscriber level data in your links.

Link level data is specific to links and can be different for each link in your email. A common Google Analytics campaign tracking variable used at this level would be the 'utm_content'. You could set the utm_content variable to the URL of the link, or to anything else that might provide valuable insight about the specific link that was clicked. Structuring this in a slightly more sophisticated fashion you could analyze what areas/quadrants of your emails generate the most clicks.

A recommended setup at the link level is to have it default to set the utm_content variable to the actual URL of the link. ExactTarget support can help you with this. This way, if you do an email send and forget to tag your URL's or forget to tag even one URL, you will still have some way to identify the link in your analytics. The only problem with this is if you have multiple links to the same URL, you will not be able to differentiate between these unless you manually update the tagging for those links.

Sample configurations of the ExactTarget Web Analytics Connector when used with Google Analytics

Configuration 1

Account Level:

  • utm_source=ExactTarget
  • utm_medium=email

Email Level:

  • utm_campaign=email send name (ex: March_2009_Newsletter)

Link Level

  • utm_content=link url (ex:

Configuration 2:

Due to how some of our clients currently track their analytics and how Google displays campaigns, they have chosen a slightly different configuration, similar to the one below that felt more intuitive to the way they want to track their campaigns.

Account Level

  • utm_campaign=ExactTarget
  • utm_medium=email

Email Level

  • utm_source=email send name (ex: March_2009_Newsletter)

Link Level

  • utm_content=link url (ex:

ExactTarget provides a user guide on the Web Analytics Connector in their member community site at:


State of Digital Marketing Analytics

The 2020 State of Digital Marketing Analytics examines the marketing technology that supports the world's most successful enterprises and highlights the challenges and strategies for navigating the new normal..