If you’ve been following along in my Mailchimp Love series you are probably discovering that Mailchimp is a very powerful tool that anyone can learn to use, but also learning that there are limitations to what’s possible. My goal is to set up a website using tools the average person (or Medium writer) has at their disposal, without spending any additional money. Or, to find a way to make the NoCode web development more accessible to everyday people with everyday budgets. The internet, after all, belongs to everyone, not just those with big wallets.
At this point, I’ve set up a very basic website that I can use to promote my brand and sell my products. I already have users visiting my site, granted not very many, but enough to start wondering what those users are doing. What I’d like to do now is implement Google Analytics in order to better understand the behaviors of the people visiting my site.
If you are new to Google Analytics the setup process is simple. To start, you need a Gmail account. If you don’t have one, go to Google.com and create one. Once you have your account, visit google.com/analytics and sign in with your account. Fill in all the required info, e.g. account name, website name, site URL, etc… Review the requested info and walk through the process until complete. Towards the end, you will be provided a Tracking ID. It typically looks something like this UA-12345678–1. Copy the Tracking ID and go back to your Mailchimp account.
If you really need help setting up a Google Analytics account, or are curious to learn more give this Google Analytics free course a try.
Log back into your Mailchimp account, and in the menu select Brand>Manage Website. Click on Update Site Tracking and toggle on the Track with Mailchimp, Track with Google Analytics, and if you are in California, toggle on the Google Ads Restricted Data Processing. In the Google Analytics section, paste in your tracking ID. Below is a screenshot of my settings.
Once you have entered your Google Analytics tracking ID, Google will start tracking traffic on your website. Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that will allow you to view which pages users are visiting, how much time they are spending on each page, how they arrived at your site, and much more.
One other thing that Google Analytics does really well is track when an event occurs. An event is a specific action that takes place on your site, e.g. whenever someone clicks on a link on your site, or whenever someone submits a form. There are different ways to set this up, the simplest way is to use Google Tag Manager and to set up event tracking, and here in lies a major Mailchimp limitation. In order to configure event tracking using Google Tag Manager you’ll need access to the source code of your site or at the least the ability to add code into the <head> tag of your site across all pages.
There is no way to edit any of the code in the <head> tag. After scouring support pages, reviewing potential workarounds, and contacting Mailchimp support, I’ve concluded it is not possible. I’m hoping that I will hear back from Mailchimp support, but if I don’t, and you have an idea, please let me know. Of course, you could manually manipulate some of the links on your site, but across multiple pages, multiple links, and some of the modules that are native parts of different sections, it is not an ideal or an efficient solution.
How important is this for you?
Being able to implement event tracking is useful, but it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most people. If you are looking to just get started with a website and are new to hosting your own site, the details and behavioral information you obtain by tracking events may not be something you care about just yet. Of course, if your a data person like me, then you like having the data available to analyze. With event tracking in place, you could also configure goals in Google Analytics that allow you to measure how effective your efforts have been, e.g. perhaps one of your goals is to increase subscriptions. Unfortunately, for now, you’ll have to rely on reviewing actual subscribers in your Mailchimp account to measure success if adding subscribers to your mailing list is your goal.
Stay tuned! I’ll be writing on how to automate your emails using your Medium feed next.