I help many clients with interpreting their website visitor analytics and improving how they collect data. In a large number of cases, I regularly see “spikes” in visits, which – on closer inspection – are unidentifiable (labelled “direct” in Google Analytics). These spikes invariably turn out to coincide with emails, so they’re no real mystery. But why isn’t the client “tagging” the links in the emails so that they can be identified properly? It’s a disappointment, as it’s so easy to do.
I have to say, three years ago it was rare to see anything other than websites in the “traffic sources” column of clients’ Google Analytics. Now I frequently see home-brewed labels like “Company Email newsletter” and “Widget World Paid-For Newsletter”. I even see “email signature” and “PDF Data Sheet link”. This is really encouraging.
If you’re not tagging every non-web link that you can, you really should be thinking about doing so. We’re happy to help for free if you’re a client of our Google AdWords management service, just as we’re happy to help with any aspect of online marketing. Just ask.