Cerkl Broadcast
Cerkl Broadcast

Gmail Analytics: How to Track and Analyze Email Traffic and CTR

It's important to be able to track and analyze email traffic. Gmail analytics don’t exist. But there are workarounds as well as other more effective options.
Written by: Penny Swift
gmail analytics
Published: February 13, 2024
Computer with inbox pulled up with lock, under a message opening in an envelope and getting clicked

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Email communication remains a cornerstone of internal communication strategy even in an era of instant messaging and social media. For this reason, analytics continues to be a vital component in assessing email performance and fine-tuning communication strategies.

According to Gallagher’s State of the Sector 2023/24 definitive report on internal communication trends, measurement and analysis of internal communications remains a top challenge for 2024. However, while email remains the most used broadcast channel, it has dropped down the ranks of being a listening channel for employee feedback, with only half of internal communicators finding it to be effective. 

Sticking with email analytics, we need to ask how effective analytics platforms are. Is Gmail, which is one of the most commonly used email platforms, offering enough analytic features, or is there a gap?

Something Gallagher’s report highlights is the crucial importance of channel frameworks. 

Essentially, this is a strategic roadmap for effectively and consistently informing and engaging employees within an organization. Email is just one channel, albeit the most popular. 

“A channel framework is a must. It allows you to establish the purpose and audience of each of your channels so you can utilize them accordingly and increase efficiency across the board — evidenced by the fact that emails are 8% more effective for respondents who have a channel framework. What’s more, respondents with a channel framework cited 10% higher channel satisfaction than the average, plus they measured their impact more comprehensively.”

Samantha Healey, employee communication specialist at Gallagher

We’re going to delve into all this and discuss email key performance indicators (KPIs), Gmail’s analytics limitations, and the role of third-party applications. We will also introduce you to Cerkl Broadcast’s integrated communication analytics feature, demonstrating its benefits over traditional Gmail analytics.

Gmail: A Widely Used Email Platform

In 2004, Gmail appeared on the internet landscape alongside established giants like Hotmail and Yahoo, which had already amassed millions of users. Aware of the need to differentiate itself, Google introduced Gmail with unique features and incentives to attract users away from other popular email platforms. During its five-year beta phase, Gmail offered “invitation only” accounts and an unprecedented 1 GB of storage space, far surpassing competitors like Hotmail and Yahoo.

Since then, Google has continued to evolve Gmail, now offering a generous 15 GB storage space per account. Additionally, Gmail has been seamlessly integrated with other Google products and services, including Google Calendar, Google Talk, and Google Buzz. It is also a key component of Google Apps. Google’s commitment to innovation is evident in the ongoing introduction of new and unique features to Gmail, ensuring it remains a leading choice for email users worldwide.

According to 6sense, Gmail is currently used by more than 3 million companies worldwide. It has a market share of 36.05% and ranks just below Microsoft Outlook which has about 40% market share.

Importance of analytics in assessing email performance

Email is still the number one internal communications broadcast channel, with 92% of organizations using it, according to Gallagher’s 2023/24 report. Interestingly though, of these, only 89% of these users find email to be an effective channel. To compare, while only 53% use all-employee conference calls, 97% of them find it an effective channel. This highlights the need for a channel framework. 

Another important aspect is that internal communicators worldwide continue to find the lack of analytics and measurement one of the top 5 challenges in their organizations. 

They blame:

  1. Lack of time and resources (58%)
  2. Technology in the form of a lack of metrics (41%)
  3. Technology in the form of a lack of collation and analysis tools (38%)
  4. Lack of benchmarking data (37%)
  5. Lack of clear communication objectives and business targets (35%)

The importance of analytics in assessing email performance cannot be overstated. In today’s employee communication landscape, analytics provide critical insights into how recipients interact with email campaigns. They offer a window into user behavior and engagement levels. By meticulously analyzing parameters such as open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates, internal communicators (ICs) can gauge the effectiveness of their email content, design, and overall strategy. 

Employee Feedback as an Email Analytics Tool 

Quantifiable feedback allows for the identification of patterns and trends, facilitating data-driven decisions for optimization. Through the strategic use of analytics, businesses can fine-tune their email communication efforts to increase relevance, engagement, and ultimately, return on investment (ROI). In essence, analytics serve as the compass that guides email communication strategies toward achieving targeted outcomes, making it an indispensable tool in the arsenal of every IC aiming for success in the digital realm.

But, as Gallagher points out, despite the fact that employee listening channels are seen to be effective, their usage for measuring the impact of internal comms has dropped 7%. Email is, though, still one of the top five listening channels. Interestingly, it ranks below engagement surveys, but above pulse surveys. 

Gmail Analytics: How to Track and Analyze Email Traffic and CTR

The use of social channels hasn’t changed — 22% still use them and 53% of these users find them effective.

Key Email Communication KPIs

Email communication is an indispensable tool for most businesses, especially when it comes to team collaboration. Understanding and measuring the effectiveness of email interactions is crucial. Fundamental email communication key performance indicators (KPIs) include average response time, conversion rates, and open rates. These KPIs offer insights into how effectively your organization communicates with employees. They also show how engaged your audience is with your emails.

Average response time is a critical metric for organizational teams, as it measures how quickly team members respond to inbound emails. Conversion rates enable organizations to collect employee insights. They also help gauge the effectiveness of email communication encouraging specific actions, such as completing a survey or making a purchase. 

Additionally, open rates provide insights into how compelling your email subject lines are and the overall appeal of your email content to your specific audience.

By closely monitoring these key metrics, organizations can make informed decisions on how to optimize email strategies for a better employee experience and improved team performance. However, accessing these metrics requires reliable email analytics tools, something Gmail’s native features lack.

key email kpis

Understanding Gmail’s Analytics Gap

Despite being one of the most widely used email platforms, especially within Google Workspace environments, there isn’t a Gmail analytics tool that collects email analytics data. This means that Gmail doesn’t directly track your email activity in the sense of offering detailed analytics like open rates and click-throughs. 

Gmail does, though, collect some data for its own uses including:

  • Basic usage data that includes information like the number of emails sent and received, storage used, and devices used to access Gmail. This data helps Google improve Gmail’s performance and stability.
  • Activity logs that record actions like searches, deletions, and drafts created, but don’t reveal specific email content. They help Google personalize your experience and troubleshoot issues.
  • Security tracking that aims to uncover suspicious activity to protect you from phishing and malware. This might involve temporary analysis of email content, but not for personal data mining.

Google does emphasize data privacy and transparency, and you can manage your data usage and privacy settings within Gmail at any time. But it’s not going to help you track your own email traffic and CTR. 

Gmail Lacks Native Analytics Features

Gmail provides limited native support for comprehensive email analytics. Users seeking to understand email performance in terms of key metrics like open rates, response times, or bounce rates find themselves at a disadvantage. 

Gmail primarily focuses on email management and communication, with less emphasis on the all-important analytical aspects that could provide deeper insights into email effectiveness and employee engagement.

For businesses using Gmail, this gap could mean missed opportunities in optimizing email communications for higher employee engagement and a better employee experience. The lack of detailed analytics makes it difficult to track the average response time, identify which emails have a high bounce rate, or understand the overall impact of email communication strategies on team collaboration.

This shortfall has led businesses to look for alternative solutions that can bridge the gap. What they want are solutions that offer the detailed analytics necessary to refine email strategies and improve internal communications and employee engagement.

Need for Alternative Solutions to Track and Analyze Email Traffic and CTR

Given the analytics gap in Gmail, businesses and individuals alike find themselves in need of third-party solutions that can offer detailed insights into email traffic, click-through rates (CTRs), and other vital metrics. Analytics tools are essential not just for evaluating the performance of email communication but also for strategizing and implementing more effective email campaigns.

Alternative solutions often come in the form of email tracking software or email analytics platforms that integrate seamlessly with Gmail. These tools aim to provide users with comprehensive data on various aspects of email communication such as open rates, response times, conversion rates, and more. Understanding and using these metrics allows teams to optimize their email strategies, ensuring that emails are engaging and effective in achieving desired outcomes.

There is no argument that armed with the right analytics tools, businesses can significantly enhance their email communication processes. They can improve employee engagement and increase overall efficiency. However, selecting the right tool is crucial, as it must not only offer in-depth insights but also integrate smoothly with existing systems.

Leveraging Chrome Extensions for Email Analytics

One popular approach to overcoming Gmail’s analytics limitations is using Chrome extensions that are designed for email tracking and analytics. There are several extensions available that can be easily added to the Chrome browser, providing users with instant insights into email performance without leaving their Gmail interface. These extensions track key metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and response times, making it easier for users to gauge the effectiveness of their email communications.

Using Chrome extensions for email analytics offers the convenience of not having to switch between different applications or platforms to access email performance data. Users can manage and analyze their email activity, and directly, within Gmail. This streamlines the process and saves valuable time.

However, while Chrome extensions offer a practical solution to Google’s Gmail analytics gap, they also come with certain limitations and issues that users need to be aware of. These include:

  • Concerns because some extensions might collect user data beyond what’s necessary, raising privacy worries. 
  • Security risks due to malicious extensions or those with poor security practices.
  • Issues raised by limited functionality. For instance, some extensions might offer basic features but they lack advanced analytics capabilities.
  • Reliance on third-party vendors when users depend on extension developers for ongoing support and updates.

Limitations and Issues of Using Chrome Extensions

Although Chrome extensions for email analytics can provide valuable insights, they have their downsides. One of the main issues is data privacy concerns. Since these extensions require access to your emails to track analytics, there is a risk of sensitive information being compromised. Users must carefully evaluate the security measures implemented by the extension developers to protect their email data.

Furthermore, the functionality and accuracy of these extensions can vary. Some offer basic tracking features on a free plan, while advanced analytics such as detailed click-through rates, conversion tracking, and comprehensive reports are only usually available on a pro plan, billed annually. This makes it essential for users to assess their needs and the extension’s capability to meet those needs before relying on it for email analytics.

Integrating multiple extensions or relying heavily on them can sometimes lead to decreased performance of Gmail. This is because these extensions consume system resources. Users must balance the benefits of using these analytics tools with the potential impact on their overall Gmail experience.

Chrome extensions indeed offer a way to fill Google’s Gmail analytics gap. But businesses and individuals should consider the implications of using these tools for their email analytics needs very carefully. It’s essential to weigh the benefits against potential limitations and issues to ensure a seamless integration and effective email communication strategy.

Introducing Cerkl Broadcast: Integrated Email Communication Analytics

Gmail analytics are essential for understanding email performance, especially for teams relying on Google Workspace for internal communication. However, as we have shown you, Gmail’s native tools offer limited insights into email analytics. 

Cerkl Broadcast is a platform that fills this gap by providing integrated email communication analytics. Its advanced analytics feature enables businesses to track key metrics like open rates, average response times, and bounce rates. 

Broadcast’s analytics are designed not only for monitoring, but also for improving various aspects of email communication. Whether it’s reducing high bounce rates, improving response times, or optimizing open rates, Broadcast provides actionable insights. This helps teams to strategize and refine their email strategies for better team collaboration and an improved employee experience. Moreover, it allows for tracking the engagement of individual team members, making it an indispensable tool for organizational managers.

Cerkl Broadcast’s Integrated Communication Analytics Feature

Cerkl Broadcast’s integrated communication analytics extend beyond basic metrics, offering a comprehensive view of email interactions. It uses a tracking pixel embedded in emails to gather detailed information. This includes the time spent on emails, the click-through rate (CTR), and even the escalation rate and resolution rate for organizations’ support teams. Such specific metrics are crucial in understanding and resolving issues more efficiently. Once you have access to them, you’ll be wondering how you did without them. 

Another standout feature is the ability to see data related to shared inbox activity. For teams using a shared inbox for customer service and internal communication, this feature provides insights into average email response time, conversion rates, and closed tickets. By centralizing data from various team members, Broadcast helps to foster better team collaboration and ensure that emails don’t go unanswered.

Tracking Email Traffic and CTR with Cerkl Broadcast

Tracking email traffic and CTR is straightforward with Broadcast. Users can access detailed reports that display the number of opened emails as well as engagement metrics like CTR. These insights show instantly on how recipients interact with email content, including which links or calls to action are most effective.

This level of detail enables businesses to fine-tune their email content for higher engagement and conversion rates. The tool also highlights trends over time, helping users identify what works best for their email list. 

In this way, Broadcast serves as both a microscope to examine specific campaign metrics and a telescope to view broader email activity trends.

gmail analytics vs broadcast analytics

Benefits of Using Cerkl Broadcast for Email Analytics

Broadcast goes beyond providing basic Gmail analytics, offering comprehensive insights that cater to the demands of modern email communication. This integrated email analytics tool helps users to understand the complexities of email data, making it easier to manage, and enabling them to optimize email strategies for better results.

Comprehensive Insights Beyond Basic Email Metrics Offered by Gmail

One of the key benefits of using Cerkl Broadcast is the depth of data it offers. Unlike Gmail’s Chrome extensions, Broadcast provides a more granular view of email performance. It covers everything from open rates and CTR to specific metrics like resolution rate, escalation rate, and average response time.

These comprehensive insights enable businesses to make informed decisions about their email communication strategies. For instance, understanding which subject lines lead to higher open rates or which type of content results in a high bounce rate allows for continuous improvement. This ensures that each email sent contributes to improving employee engagement, building a better employee experience, and achieving business goals.

Personalization and Customization Features for Targeted Reporting

Another significant advantage of Broadcast is its personalization and customization features. Users can tailor reports to focus on the specific metrics that matter most to their team or business. For instance, a customer support team might prioritize average response time and resolution rate, while an HR team may focus more on open rates and conversion rates of employees.

This level of customization allows for more targeted reporting, ensuring that teams are not overwhelmed with irrelevant data. Cerkl Broadcast empowers users to create personalized dashboards that highlight unique insights specific to their role or department’s needs. As a result, teams can more effectively use email data to drive decisions and strategies tailored to improving their specific areas of operation.

broadcast insights

What’s Next?

Are you happy with the way you can track and analyze email traffic and CTR using Gmail? Are you looking for a more efficient platform that offers superior email analytics and a whole lot more features? If so, now’s the time to explore what Cerkl Broadcast can offer you. Don’t wait until tomorrow, reach out to us today.  

FAQ

Can you see analytics on Gmail?

No, you cannot directly see detailed analytics like open rates and click-throughs within Gmail itself.

How do I analyze emails in Gmail?

While Gmail lacks built-in analytics, you can leverage various methods for email analysis. Users typically rely on third-party email tracking tools or CRM platforms that offer detailed analytics on open rates, clicks, and recipient engagement. Remember to choose tools that align with your privacy preferences.

Does Gmail have metrics?

Gmail collects some basic usage metrics like the number of emails sent and received, storage used, and devices used to access Gmail. However, this data is primarily used for internal purposes like improving Gmail’s performance and troubleshooting issues. You cannot directly access these metrics within your Gmail account.

What is the email analytics tool for Gmail?

There is no single email analytics tool users use for tracking data on Gmail. The best approach depends on your specific needs and comfort level with third-party tools. Popular options include HubSpot Sales, Yesware, and Mailtrack.

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