BrightWave is a technology agnostic agency that works with virtually all of the major marketing clouds and email platforms, including Salesforce Marketing Cloud to enhance customer relationships. Our experience has given us a unique insight into how the Google Analytics 360 integration enhances the Salesforce Marketing Cloud offering as detailed below.
Last fall, Salesforce and Google announced a partnership integrating Google Analytics 360– the premium version of the ubiquitous web analytics tool– into Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC). They recently rolled out the first phase of the integration, which provides the ability to view Google Analytics (GA) data within the SFMC user interface and configure tagging, goals and other settings that are central for measuring the impact of email in Google Analytics. Though the first iteration of the integration is understandably modest, we’re confident both companies have much more ambitious plans for more seamless integration in the coming years.
The Rise of Google Analytics
A staggering number of websites use Google Analytics to analyze their site’s data. GA is running on 56% of all websites and has a 85.7% market share according to W3Techs. Moreover, BuiltWith reports GA is used on 89% of the top 10,000 websites.
This level of adoption goes far beyond the fact that GA is free. It has succeeded because it’s fast, simple, flexible, reliable and enriched with a strong ecosystem of knowledge, services and companion tools. For example, Google Analytics mirrors the success of other Google products like Gmail, which is now the most popular email client. Adoption to products like Gmail and GA clearly demonstrates that if you make a great software tool that’s free, you’re going to gain converts.
Yet because it’s free, Google Analytics has often been used alongside other enterprise tools like Webtrends. GA’s 2016 release of a premium version of the tool has led to it increasingly being adopted as a preferred enterprise web analytics tool.
Google Analytics + Email Marketing
So, what does this partnership mean for email marketers, regardless of your email service provider? Here are three major points we recommend to keep in mind:
1. Expanded view of email metrics: At BrightWave, we’ve utilized Google Analytics for years to better understand the impact of email on website traffic. But we’re working hard to break down invisible barriers that often keep email siloed in its own channel, especially when it comes to measuring success and business impact. The majority of email campaigns are designed to get the subscriber to do something on a website. It’s crucial we look further than opens and clicks in measuring success of our campaigns, and Google Analytics makes this accessible in ways other web analytics platforms haven’t. This four year old, but still relevant, Campaign Monitor post highlights a few key views in GA that will give you an immediate view into the behavior of your email audience.
2. Advocate for your team to have a seat at the landing page table: Whether or not your organization is using Google Analytics for its web analytics, all email marketers should be pushing for a louder voice in the design and execution of landing page content. When emails are tagged correctly, Google Analytics (and likely other analytics tools) tells you what percentage of site traffic is coming from email, tells you where they go once they arrive, and with some configuration, will calculate how much revenue is generated from email subscribers. If you’re fighting for a share of marketing dollars for your email program, landing page data could be your secret weapon!
3. Start simple and grow: Based on the stats above, Google Analytics is not going anywhere and if your analytics group isn’t using it now, there’s a good chance they will in the near future. Start with basic questions like, “Are there pages of our site where people are not converting? How could the email channel help? How does our email audience behave differently than visitors coming from other channels?” Some practical baby steps include:
- Enabling Google Analytics tagging in your email service provider (many, including SFMC, can automatically add the tags to all email links).
- Asking your analytics group to give you read-only access.
- Watching videos in the Google Analytics Academy. They even have a demo account where you can practice utilizing different data views and filters.
In a future post, we’ll do a deeper dive into some of the most useful views in Google Analytics for optimizing your email program and look at the best ways to implement tagging in your email campaigns. Until then, we encourage any digital marketer not using Google Analytics in their email program to learn more about this insightful tool and its capabilities.