Marketing and Sales

Subscriber ID: Welcome to a new dimension of email marketing

4 minutes

Subscriber ID: Welcome to a new dimension of email marketing

It’s a well know fact that most websites, including those that utilize email marketing, use Google Analytics to analyze the behavior of the visitors and the types of traffic the site gets (social, email, direct, referral, organic).

The type of traffic an email marketer is most interested in is email traffic, no doubt about it.
01. channels

In order to be able to analyze email traffic, we use utm-parameters, which we add to links in our emails and which then get processed by Google Analytics.
That’s how utm-parameters look:
02. utm parameters example

And that’s how the corresponding statistics look:
03. source-medium report analytics

It’s the most widely used way of analyzing email traffic. Sendpulse has taken a step further and implemented a new feature that adds a new dimension to email marketing campaign analysis – Subscriber ID.
04. subscriber id in url member area

Subscriber ID – is a special identification number that’s automatically generated for every email in a mailing list. It’s added to links in email templates and allows you to analyze the behavior of each individual subscriber on your website. Your GA account has to be pre-configured so it can recieve and display this data.
Here’s an example of a report that displays the behavior of the subscribers:
05. subscriber activity custom report

You can also create a report that displays which of your subscribers have made purchases:
06. subscriber revenue custom report

You can also select Subscriber ID as an additional dimension in standard reports, such as “Browser and Opering System” report:
07. screen resolution standard report

Here’s an example of what kind of data you can retrieve with the help of Subscriber ID:

  • Then number of pages viewed along with the average visit duration, bounce rate, last viewed page and so on.
  • The product revenue generated by a subscriber along with purchased products.
  • Technical reports such as the operating system in use, browser, browser version and so on.

The possibilities are limitless if you are familiar with Google Analytics.
If you have this sort of data available, you can apply detailed segmentation to your email lists based on:

  • The revenue generated by subscribers (the most profitable, less profitable, non-profitable)
  • The interaction with the site (active users, users with moderate activity, low-activity users and so on)
  • The operating system used (Linux, Windows, OSx).

How to configure Subscriber ID


How add Subscriber ID to your email template

Subscriber ID is a standard variable that can be added to your email template the same way as the others. When a campaign gets sent, the variable will be replaced with the actual Subscriber ID of the email recipient.
Below is an example of how you add Subscriber ID directly to the source code of your email template:
08. subscriber id template insertion

You can also use the link insertion form:
09. subscriber id insertion via link form

How to configure Google Analytics for receiving and displaying Subscriber ID data

1. Go to the “Admin” panel in your Google Analytics account and choose “Custom Definitions” in the property-related menu, then choose the “Custom Dimensions” item.
10. analytics admin menu custom dimensions

2. Click the “+ New Custom Dimension” button and configure your dimension:

  • Name: Subscriber ID
  • Scope: User
  • Active: ticked

11. adding custom dimension
Now to the most advanced part – changing the tracking script. It can be done it two different ways, depending on whether you use Google Tag Manager or not.

Configuring your tracking script for sending Subscriber ID to Google Analytics

For those who use Google Tag Manager (Version 2)
1. Choose the “Variables” item in the GTM menu under the account of your website and then click on the “New” button.
12. gtm new variable

2. Create a new variable of the “URL” type using the following setting:

  • Component Type: Query
  • Query Key: sid
  • Variable name: subscriber id

3. Choose the “Tags” item in the GTM menu and then proceed to the GTM tag that tracks pageviews on your website. In our case it’s the “Google Universal Analytics” tag.
14. gtm pageview analytics tag

4. Go to the “Configure Tag” section and then choose the “More Settings” item, then the “Custom Dimensions” one.
15. configuring custom dimension

5. Press the “+ Add Custom Dimension” button and configure it as follows:

  • Index: the index of the “Subscriber ID” custom dimension you see in the “Custom Dimensions”
  • Dimension Value: {{subscriber id}}

6. Save the configuration.

For those who use the standard tracking script
1. Find the GA tracking code in the source code of your website.

  (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

  ga('create', 'UA-59727977-1', 'auto');
  ga('send', 'pageview');

2. Add the highlighted code right above the following line: “ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’)”. This code allows us to capture and send Subscriber ID using the “subscriberId” variable we are going to create.

  (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),

  ga('create', 'UA-59727977-1', 'auto');
  ga('set',  'dimension4', subscriberId);
  ga('send', 'pageview');

3. Add the snippet that allows us to extract Subscriber ID from the URL and store in the “subscriberId” variable we mentioned earlier.

Remember, that you have to append the “sid” parameter to the links in your email template with the {{subscriber id}} variable as its value.
Also note, that the “4” in the “dimension4” string is the index of the custom dimension you created earlier and it can be found in the table of available custom dimensions.
The suggested solution cannot always be applied exactly as shown if the standard tracking code has been modified. If you’re not sure you fully understand the necessary steps you should take, ask a developer or webmaster for assistance.

How to analyze collected data

You can view subscriber-related data by choosing the “Subscriber ID” dimension as the secondary dimension in the standard reports.
16. subscriber id search

You can create a Custom Report containing any type of data available in GA along with Subscriber ID.
17. variable creation

For additional information on how to create custom report refer to the official documentation.
As of this writing, the implementation of the “Subscriber ID” feature is still work in progress, so there’s only one way you can find information related to a subscriber id – using the filter form.

What to expect?

We keep working on an array of analytics-related features with subscriber-id, including automatic import of data from your Google Analytics account into your mailing list. This feature will allow you to more deeply analyze your subscribers and segment them using just about any sort of data.
If you have any questions or suggestion related to the feature, don’t hesitate to email us at:
Our team can’t wait to get in touch with you.

Date of publication:

15 Oct. 2015

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