Do the Analytics Features work with Plain Text Messages?
Yes. Most of the important features of web email analytics work for both HTML and plain-text only messages.
Note: To be able to properly track page visits a cookie is required. To receive this cookie, a subscriber will need to first visit the page through a link in the email. Once a subscriber has received this cookie, we can track a page visit regardless of where a subscriber came from. If a subscriber does not have this cookie, we won't be able to track their page visit.
With plain-text messages you can:
- Have your own website domain displayed instead of clicks.aweber.com for tracking links.
So, your subscribers will see http://www.example.com (where "example" is your websites domain) instead of http://clicks.aweber.com.
This is particularly useful for plain-text messages, because subscribers see the raw website address for links instead of clickable words and images like they would on your website or in HTML messages. Having links directly to your website will make subscribers feel more comfortable with clicking and could significantly boost your click-through rates.
- Track which subscribers click on the links in your message and segment using this information
When subscribers click on links in your messages, the analytics system will link each click with the subscriber who took action in your message. Not only can you then see them in your account, if you'd like to send a message only to subscribers who clicked on a certain link in a message, you would have that flexibility.
So, we could send a message to Bob, Lisa, and Sarah who clicked on link A but not Joe or Morgan because they did not click on the link.
Note: clicks will not be tracked for listed web site addresses that do not have the analytics.js script in the source of that site.
- See which pages subscribers hit on your website after they click one of your links in your message
By reviewing this information, you can take a look at your ideal version of a sales funnel (ie. person goes from page A to page B to page C and finally to the order page) and determine whether subscribers are actually following this path, or find out which pages in the funnel are diverting them elsewhere.
- Set goals and their values, and send messages to people who do or do not complete them
When you set up a goal page for your website (e.g. http://www.example.com/receipt.htm), when an analytics tracked subscriber hits that page, the value you set for that goal is recorded and displayed in a report showing the revenue generated from your email campaign.
You can go on to segment subscribers and send messages to only those who have completed (or did not complete) a specific goal. So, maybe we'd like to send a special message to subscribers who have read our special report, or maybe to everyone who has not yet ordered one of our products.
What Do I Miss By Not Sending HTML?
If you prefer to send plain text messages and would like to continue to do so, the only analytics feature you will miss a part of whether or not people open your messages.
Because the most accurate open tracking relies on the loading of tracking images in messages (and images cannot be included in plain text messages), you would not be able to view a complete list of which subscribers who appear to have opened a particular message you've sent or segment and send to only those people.
Still, with analytics any subscriber who clicks on a link within a plain text or HTML message is also recorded as someone who opened the message, since they obviously had to open and see the message in order to click a link. While this makes open tracking statistics more accurate for HTML senders, it also gives plain text senders some indication of the relative open rates of their messages, which is certainly better than none.
All other features are available completely for plain text only senders.