Tracking links provide invaluable information that help you to analyze the impact of your campaigns. A tracking link is a unique URL that is included in the message you send to your customers. By including a unique link, you can trace the traffic that is coming from that one source.
For example, you are running a “Back to school” campaign. You have sent an email to eligible customers and also an in-app message to customers who have installed the app. Tracking links can show you if the traffic is coming from the link in the email or from the link in the in-app message.
A Tracking Link is a URL that has tracking parameters added to it in order to collect customer data.
Blueshift automatically adds tracking parameters to links for all messaging channels except for cloud apps.
- For emails and SMS messages, links are rewritten when a message is rendered during campaign execution.
- Link rewriting for push and in-app messages is handled by the SDK.
- For Cloud app templates, you must manually add the required UTM and custom tracking parameters to links in the template. You must also manually add the impression and click callback URLs for impression and click tracking.
You can set the value of any tracking parameter to a Liquid variable that is available during message rendering. When the message is rendered during campaign execution, the value of the liquid variable will get written to the URL.
- In the campaign activity report, the data saved for the sent user action will have the rendered values for any tracking parameter that is set to a Liquid variable .
- For the remaining user actions (open, click, and so on), the data saved will contain the raw Liquid variable.
Tracking parameters are URL parameters that are automatically added to all links in emails, sms, and push messages.
- When a template is rendered during campaign execution, Blueshift adds the tracking parameters to both shortened and tracked links.
- When a customer clicks a link, the eventual URL will also have those tracking parameters.
- The contents of these tracking parameters are saved as extended_attributes for the user actions in the campaign activity report.
- You can also use the tracking parameters to do your own tracking with other third party tools.
These links follow the format: https://<CNAME>/track?<BSFT_QUERY_PARAMS>&redir=<URL_ESCAPED_ORIGINAL_LINK_URL>
The CNAME used is the one you have set up in Account Settings in Blueshift. If you have not set up whitelabeling for your account, the default Blueshift domain (links.getblueshift.com (US or Rest of the world) or links.eu.blueshift.com (EU region)) will be used for tracking.
Consider that you have sent an email to your customers promoting a particular item. When the customer clicks the link for that particular item, you want to be able to attribute it to the campaign it was sent from.
- The link you have added for the item is https://www.example.com/item123
- The CNAME you have set in Account settings or when you created an adapter is www.examplesite.com.
- The following tracking parameters are automatically set in the email trigger in the campaign - utm_source, utm_medium, and utm_campaign. You can also add your custom tracking parameters and other UTM parameters like utm_content, and utm_term.
The link is modified as follows:
At times URLs can get so long that they become aesthetically annoying. URL shortening reduces the long URLs into something that’s easier to remember and track.
When a URL is shortened, a connection is maintained between the new link and the original URL. When a customer clicks the new link the customer is redirected to the original page.
These links follow the format: https://<CNAME>/z/<SHORT_URL_KEY>?<BSFT_QUERY_PARAMS>.
Note: The CNAME used is the one you have set up in Account Settings in Blueshift. If you have not set up whitelabeling for your account, the default Blueshift domain (bsft.us (US or Rest of the world) or bsft.us (EU region)) will be used for tracking.
Consider the same link as the previous example - https://www.example.com/item123
When shortened, the link is modified as follows:
- Contact your CSM to enable shortening of links for emails. You can enable shortening of both static and dynamic links in emails.
- Shortening of links in SMS messages is based on the template property “Shorten & Track Links”.
There might be some links that you do not want to be tracked. For such links, add “bsft-no-track” to the tag and that link will not be rewritten for tracking.
<a href="https://example.com" bsft-no-track>Visit our site</a> will not be rewritten at all.
Apple's iOS 17 contains a major privacy enhancement called Link Tracking Protection. This feature offers increased user-level tracking safeguards in Messages, Mail, and Safari Private Browsing. It detects user-identifiable tracking parameters in link URLs, and automatically removes them.
Does this enhancement impact emails sent from the Blueshift platform?
No. These changes will not impact your ability to track links or how you measure campaign performance on the Blueshift platform.
The Blueshift team has thoroughly reviewed and tested the upcoming changes and here are our takeaways:
- Only known ad link tracking parameters might get impacted depending upon how a customer accesses the link. Examples of such parameters include Google Adwords (gclid), Facebook (fbclid), Twitter Advertising (twclkd), Mailchimp (mc_eid), and Instagram (igshid).
- There will be no impact to UTM or custom tracking params or redirect params.
- Your campaigns and reports will continue to work just the way they did in the past.
The e-privacy Directive (EU Directive 2002/58/EC) complements the GDPR and sets out more specific privacy rights on electronic communications.
The e-privacy Directive dictates that we must ensure that we do not track ( opens, clicks, of) emails sent to customers who have not consented to receive marketing emails.
Blueshift offers the following user attributes to help you comply with the e-privacy Directive. You can see these attributes in the customer profile.
When email_open_tracking_enabled = false or email_open_tracking_enabled = null, Blueshift will not add open pixels to emails that are sent to the specific customer.
When email_click_tracking_enabled = false or email_click_tracking_enabled = null, Blueshift will not rewrite links to track clicks in emails that are sent to the specific customer.
- Contact your CSM to enable this feature.
- As a marketer, it is your responsibility to update a customer's tracking preferences in Blueshift.
- By default, all customers (existing and new) will be opted out of email open and click tracking. In order to track opens and clicks, you must update the profiles of all existing customers appropriately. Otherwise, no campaign metrics will be generated for your account.
- The email tracking attributes are independent of the email subscribe or unsubscribe events. Setting or clearing these attributes will not change the customer's subscription status.