Two Google Analytics Dashboards to Help You Track the Success of Your Newsletters.

Dan Oshinsky
Mar 9, 2019 · 3 min read

So many Not a Newsletter readers wrote in with questions about how to track success in newsletters, so I wanted to share two Google Analytics dashboards that I use every day at The New Yorker. They’re a great way to keep track of which newsletters are driving traffic to your site.

First things first: You’re going to need to have GA set up on your site. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re way past that step :-)

Make sure you’ve supplied your email service provider with UTM parameters* (these are GA’s tracking tags). In particular, you’re going want to supply unique parameters for Source, Campaign, and Medium (although you may want to customize it beyond that!).

There are two different dashboards here:

Open up the Top-Line dashboard first. Choose the “view” for the dashboard (basically, just select your site from the dropdown).

It’ll open the dashboard. There won’t be any data in there yet, but we’re going to fix that! Mouse over each section of the dashboard, and click on the pencil in the top right corner of the box (GA refers to these as “widgets”).

Go down to the “Filter this data” section. I’ve set it up so that it’s filtering by “Source” — those tend to get you more accurate data. Where I’ve written “Source Goes Here,” replace that with your UTM source parameter! Then save.

Your data should appear! Now adjust the source for the other widgets on the page.

Go ahead and bookmark your dashboard for easy reference. (Or you can find it later by using the menu on the left side and going to Customization → Dashboards.)

And then repeat the process for the Real-Time dashboard!


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*The one exception here: If you’ve got a TinyLetter, they do not offer Google Analytics integrations. Their team confirmed for me that if you want to track your links in GA, you’ll have to manually add in those UTM parameters.

The good news: GA offers a tool to help you do that quickly: https://ga-dev-tools.appspot.com/campaign-url-builder/

You’ll need to enter:

  • URL
  • Source: something unique to your newsletter (for my email, I might go with “Not_a_Newsletter”.)
  • Medium: this is typically “email” or “newsletter”
  • Campaign: the name of the specific newsletter sent (I might say “February Newsletter”)

That tool will spit out a URL you can add to your newsletter.

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Want additional tips and tools for email? Sign up for the next edition of Not a Newsletter at http://signup.notanewsletter.com.

Dan Oshinsky

Written by

I’m the Director of Newsletters at The New Yorker, and the creator of Not a Newsletter, a monthly briefing with news and tips about how to send better email.

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