Track Link Clicks in Sailthru and Google Analytics

Sailthru can track the clicks of links in your emails, and attribute those clicks back to the unique customer. This data is useful in aggregate to determine the response to your emails, including attributing purchases to sends, and also at the individual level to determine a user’s engagement and interaction with Lifecycle Optimizer rules and Audience Builder filters.

All links will automatically be rewritten when they are included in your emails, wrapped in a unique tracking URL that uses the Link Domain you have set on your Settings Page. To activate link tracking for a given template or campaign, within its settings, simply ensure that the Link Tracking option is set to Yes. We recommend turning on link tracking; if link tracking is disabled, the attribution described above will not function.

As an example of how link tracking works, if your site’s domain is example.com, your link domain might be set to link.example.com. When you or Sailthru includes a link in your email to example.com/item/123, your email recipients will instead receive a link URL beginning with link.example.com and ending in a tracking code. When clicking the link, Sailthru tracks the click and quickly redirects the user to the applicable page on your site, example.com/item/123.

If your account has multiple link domains, the link domain used to rewrite links is dynamically chosen per-link, based on the destination of the link. For example, links that point to a page on http://www.example.com will rewritten with any available link subdomain sharing that domain (e.g. http://link.example.com). The reason for this is because cookies cannot be set cross-domain, and pageviews, interest data and campaign-specific purchase attribution would not function.

Google Analytics Integration

If you set Use Google Analytics? to “Yes”, then all links will add special utm parameters that will allow you to identify traffic coming from emails in Google Analytics. It is highly recommended to enable if you are using Google Analytics on your site.

  • A total of five parameters are automatically appended when you enable Google Analytics:
    • utm_campaign: will automatically be the name of the campaign as it appears in Sailthru.
    • utm_medium: will automatically be “email”.
    • utm_source: will automatically be “Sailthru”.
    • utm_term: will automatically be the name of the sending list as it appears in Sailthru.
    • utm_content: if you are sending an AB Split or AB Winner or Auto Winner Campaign, this utm parameter will be added to your links. For segment A, the value will be “A”, for B, “B” and “Final” for the Final version of the AB Winner/Auto Winner test.
  • If you’d like to override the default value of email for utm_medium or add new utm parameters to your links, then go to the Advance tab of your template/campaign. In the “Auto-Append Link Parameters” field write the new or current parameter with its respective value, such as utm_medium=MorningEmail
  • You can turn on this setting independent of the Link Tracking setting.

Note:

  • Not all website UTM parameters work properly with Google Analytics. Please see Google’s help page on Custom Campaigns for more information.
  • Links to Sailthru Hosted Pages are not tracked and are not included in reporting.

Link Tracking when Forcing HTTPS with HSTS

If your company is considering implementing HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) for your site to ensure visitors may only connect using the more-secure HTTPS, there can be implications for your users’ experience with Sailthru-tracked links if you enable HSTS for all subdomains via the optional includeSubDomains directive.

Click tracking in Sailthru is done through your link subdomain. When this feature is used, links to your site that Sailthru includes in your email campaigns are wrapped in a redirect URL beginning with link.<yourdomain>.com. The link subdomain does not support https out of the box. To enable it, you can upload your own SSL certificate for the link domain using the same workflow that Sailthru provides for enabling Apple’s iOS Universal Links.

If you have a link domain enabled, wait to enable HSTS until after you have uploaded this certificate for your link domain. Otherwise, users may see a security warning in their browser when visiting your emailed links.

When a link domain is enabled, it is also used to serve your Hosted Pages, which will also become accessible via HTTPS after following these instructions.

Note: If you will implement HSTS on your primary domain only, allowing your link domain to remain accessible via HTTP, the following actions are not needed.

To enable SSL for your link domain

  1. Identify your link domain. It is stored in your My Sailthru Settings under Setup > Domains.
  2. Acquire an SSL certificate for your link domain. This should be for the link domain only; no wildcards.
  3. Open the Universal Links settings page in My Sailthru under Setup > Universal Links.
  4. Upload the certificate and its corresponding key. The Apple App Site Association File is not required.
  5. You can test that the certificate files were successfully processed by using one of your Hosted Pages. Go to my.sailthru.com/pages and click a link to a hosted page. If the http protocol isn’t visible in the navigation bar, copy and paste the link and it should appear. Change http to https and then load the resulting URL. You should not see any warnings and the page should load normally.
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