I have an email campaign which has a tagged link to my website. It looks like this:


I want to know how many visitors arrive at the 'join' page because of this email campaign, then create an account and login, and finally publish a listing on the site. I want to see how many published listings originally started as a result of the email campaign.

Here is the expected flow for the user:

  1. User receives 'Outreach' campaign email
  2. User clicks on tagged link and goes to 'account' page
  3. User fills in form and presses 'create account' button
  4. An account activation link is sent to the user. This link cannot be UTM tagged, as the same link is sent to all new users, regardless of how they create the account.
  5. User clicks the activation link and arrives at the 'account page'. They are automatically logged-in and see a 'publish your listing' button.
  6. After a multi-page form they eventually click a button that publishes their listing.

In universal analytics, I correctly see the referrer as 'outreach' email campaign as far as step three. But for step six, the ultimate goal, the referrer appears to be 'direct/none'.

What's the best (simplest and most reliable) way of seeing the original referrer (outreach email campaign) at step six?

I saw a useful tutorial video on how to create cookies using Google Tag Manager, but I don't know if creating cookies is overkill for my purposes.

  • I'm not quite sure why, but when I started this campaign the UTM referrals were getting lost during the account creation process. After waiting a few weeks for the data to come in, it seems to be working fine. Sorry I can't be any more specific about why. Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 6:58

2 Answers 2


I was thinking about something similar the other day. An easy way to keep track would be to send the users of the email campaign to a unique URL specifically designated for the email campaign so you'd know exactly how successful your were.

Set up the page in Google Analytics, but I would set the robots meta tag to noindex

Or you could use document.referrer in javascript.

  • I already did this (campaign-specific page)! So I can see how many people got to the site, and clicked the 'create account' button, referred by the email campaign. But after they go to check their email for the account activation link, the campaign referral information gets lost. When I track conversions for 'publish listing' event, it has 'direct/none' as referrer, because I cannot put UTM tags on the account activation link. The publish listing goal is my biggest one, and it would be useful to see how many got referred from the original email. I will update the question to make this clearer. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 23:51

You can put UTM tags on any link "technically", but it's finding and tracking the links in Google Analytics that is a problem sometimes. Check out this blog by kissmetrics to see some examples and where you need to go to track them. Use this URL builder too, I have this link in my bookmarks bar it's so useful. Let me know if this helps or if I am missing something.

If you want to track each specific email I'm not sure how you can do that without tagging every one individually to be different. You can add each email address to the UTM_content tag to track individuals specifically which would be awesome.

Used for A/B testing and content-targeted ads. Use utm_content to differentiate ads or links that point to the same URL. Examples: utm_content=logolink or utm_content=textlink

  • Thanks for this. After waiting for a couple of weeks it turns out my original approach (UTM tagging) did seem to be working. It must have been some anomoly at the beginning which made it appear that the referrer was getting lost during the account creation process. I'll makr your other answer as the correct one, since it seems to be a simple solution that would be robust. Thanks again. Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 6:57
  • Anytime, glad I can be of help. Trust me, I've pretty much had a few panic attacks racking my brain about the best way to track potential customers using various marketing campaigns lol. So anything I can do to make it easier for someone else is worth it to me. Commented Apr 18, 2016 at 7:05

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