Why Doesn’t My Google Analytics Match My Email Tracking?

Google Analytics is designed to track incoming traffic to a website or landing page–from another web page, search engine, or via a URL typed directly into your browser. Because email tracking is server-based, rather than browser-based, Google Analytics cannot read incoming traffic from a click within an email that never goes directly into a browser. When a link is clicked in an email it goes to a server –not a browser–where the click is recorded and redirected to the destination URL.

Why Email Tracking Links do not show on Google Analytic Statistics

An email is not a webpage:
Google analytics tracks incoming traffic to a webpage from another webpage or from a pasted  link directly into a browser. Email tracking links—when clicked in an email– never load into a browser.

Our mail servers process  redirect links directly through the server. No web page is actually ever loaded. This causes 3rd party tracking software—such as Google Analytics– to malfunction.  Since there is no previous webpage to record it does not get counted into analytics statistics.

From Google Analytics Tracking code Overview:
The data that Google Analytics uses to provide all the information in reports comes from these sources:

  • The HTTP request of the visitor
  • Browser/system information
  • First-party cookies

The HTTP request for any web page contains the hostname, the browser type, referrer, and language. In addition, the DOM of most browsers provides access to more detailed browser and system information, such as Java and Flash support and screen resolution. Analytics also sets and reads first-party cookies on your visitors’ browsers in order to obtain visitor session and any ad campaign information from the page request. When all this information is collected, it is sent to the Analytics servers in the form of a long list of parameters attached to a single-pixel GIF image request.

The data contained in the GIF request is the data sent to the Google Analytics servers, which then gets processed and ends up in reports.

Google Analytics is NOT real time tracking

Google analytics shows statistics on a regular cycle of updates which occur approximately every 6 hrs or so. But most statistics are not viewable for up to 48-72 hours later.

* This is unless you are using a beta version of the paid analytics tool.

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google%20Analytics/thread?tid=6daa0041bbe4fd39&hl=en From a Google Analytics Help Forum: “Report data is generally updated every 24 hours. Although you may start seeing partial data sooner, you may have to wait for about 24 hours to see the complete data for the previous day.”

No, Google Analytics is not a real-time tracker. There are other products like “Omniture Site Catalyst” that aim to provide near real-time tracking, but unless you’re a e. g. very news heavy site that needs up to the minute reports on which stories “work” and drive traffic, most sites can leave with the up to 24 hour time lag.

3. Google Analytics Report and Email Report tracking different links

Tracking links are dynamic, meaning that a new link address will be auto generated with email sent. Thousands of tracking links are used–not just one.

4. Here are some helpful links directly from Google Analytics that might be useful to you: Is there any way to track redirects?


Analytics must be configured in a specific way to even attempt tracking redirects. Even then it will not work if JavaScript is not processed on the redirecting page.

Discussions > Tracking Your Site > How to track 301 redirect website


This article (on the Google discussion boards) dictates the following which is 100% accurate when applied to our system.

“A redirect forces the browser to go to a different URL without rendering a page. No page, then no JavaScript. No JavaScript, then no tracking.” This is almost identical to the situation that occurs with our campaigns.

How are redirects handled by Analytics?


“some browsers may actually redirect before the JavaScript call from the code can be made.” No JavaScript means no tracking.  Ail Tracking cannot be counted across platforms. Every type of email tracking software utilizes systems that integrate within their own platform and their own servers. When an email is opened, or a link is clicked, the exchange of information happens solely within that platform’s universe.
Whether a “shortcut”, “tag” or other identifiable information is added to the ultimate destination URL—the initial click or open will still point only to the provider’s platform server where the information is recorded.  At no time does an email message sent by an email service provider ever transmit tracking information to a platform or tracking software other than their own.

This entry was posted in BotB Marketing, BtoC Marketing, Business Marketing, Consumer Marketing, Direct Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Plan, Multi Channel Marketing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.