Recently I was asked by a client how she could track which recipients were opening her e-mail messages (without using a read receipt). It turned out to be a pretty easy process, after finding this article: http://dyn.com/blog/tracking-email-opens-via-google-analytics/
As you can see from that blog post, the trick is embedding an image in the source of your e-mail. The above process will NOT work if images aren’t being loaded in the e-mail client. So, if someone were to read your HTML e-mail but not choose to display the associated images, their “read” will not be counted. In any case, here’s an example of how I structured my image tag:
<img src=”http://www.google-analytics.com/collect?v=1&tid=UAemail@example.com&t=event&ec=email&ea=open&el=My%20Fun%20Campaignfirstname.lastname@example.org&cs=newsletter&cm=email&cn=My%20Fun%20Campaign” />
Now, this is what I see within seconds in Google Analytics, under Real-Time –> Events:
Or, if you are viewing non-live data (eg, data from an hour ago), see Behavior –> Events –> Overview –> click “email” under Event Category –> change Primary Dimension to “Event Action” then click “open” to view the same data as in the above screen shot.
The reason why I’m prepending the Campaign name before the e-mail address is so that I can more easily distinguish between separate e-mail campaigns without leaving the page. This way, you can easily use the search box (depicted in the screen shot) to isolate campaigns or individuals.