How to use MailChimp with Lickstats

 

We developed a MailChimp plugin to make email campaign tracking seamless. This is important because Lickstats uses UTM parameters to analyze campaign link traffic, a technicality that can complicate email tracking for reasons we dive into at the bottom of this article.

 
 
 

How to use the Lickstats MailChimp plugin

 
 
 

We made the plugin incredibly simple to use. In your campaign dashboard, simply click the arrow next to the copy button and select Mailchimp from the drop-down. This copies a MailChimp-specific campaign link to your clipboard (e.g. https://lickst.at/example?plugin=mailchimp) for you to paste into your MailChimp campaign.

This means you don't have to set up anything special on MailChimp - just copy the specific MailChimp link and you're good to go.

It's really that easy!

 
 
 

How the Lickstats MailChimp plugin works

 
 
 

When you copy the MailChimp version of a campaign link, Lickstats is simply adding ?plugin=mailchimp at the end of the campaign link, as in the example above. This is read by our router which sets the utm_source parameter to MailChimp, which has its own slice of the Sources pie chart.

The plugin also enables Lickstats to incorporate logic from MailChimp that passes along special query strings used to track conversions. We will write more on this later.

 
 
 

Why we developed the Lickstats MailChimp plugin

 
 
 

Lickstats uses UTM parameters for your analytics dashboard, and one of the quirks of these parameters is that they don't work for email. In short, Lickstats relies on a low-level component of how the Internet works, the Referer: HTTP request header. This is a special piece of data that is sent from the original webpage along to the website/server that it's linking to. For example, if you click on a link from your LinkedIn feed, the destination of that link (say, a Medium blog) will receive a bit of data that tells it the original source of that traffic was https://www.linkedin.com/feed/.

Here's the sticking point: since the Referer: header was developed for web browsing, it doesn't work for standard email clients because there's never an original web page! Webmail clients such as Gmail work, because they're literally websites. But if you have your email configured through Thunderbird then that traffic is going to show up as a Direct source.

If you're not using MailChimp, that's fine! Simply create segments for your email links as we describe here.

And if you want to dive deeper into the technicalities, read our blog about how Lickstats generates UTM tags from Referrer: headers.

 
Zane Pocock