Monitor Your Mailchimp Campaigns Using Telegraf

Monitor Your Mailchimp Campaigns Using Telegraf

Table of Contents

Introduction 

Monitoring your email campaigns helps you track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. This evaluation provides insights into the success of your email campaigns and allows you to identify areas for improvement and by analyzing metrics like open rates and click-through rates, you can gauge the level of engagement your emails are generating. Understanding how recipients interact with your emails helps in tailoring future campaigns to better resonate with your audience and monitoring these campaigns helps you track conversions, whether it's making a purchase, signing up for a service, or any other desired action. This data is valuable for measuring the overall impact of email marketing on your business's goals.

In this article, we'll detail how to use the Telegraf agent to collect Mailchimp campaign statistics that can be forwarded to a data source.

Getting Started with the Telegraf Agent

Telegraf is a plugin-driven server agent built on InfluxDB and is used for collecting and sending metrics/events from databases, systems, processes, devices, applications, and many 3rd party services. Telegraf is written in Go and compiles into a single binary with no external dependencies, and requires a very minimal memory footprint. It is compatible with most operating systems and has many useful output plugins and input plugins for collecting and forwarding a wide variety of system performance metrics. 

Install Telegraf (linux/redhat)

Download Telegraf and unzip it (see the Telegraf docs for up-to-date versions and installation commands for many operating systems). Packages and files are generally installed in the /etc directory.

Ubuntu/Debian
wget https://dl.influxdata.com/telegraf/releases/telegraf_1.21.2-1_amd64.deb
sudo dpkg -i telegraf_1.21.2-1_amd64.deb

RedHat/CentOS

wget https://dl.influxdata.com/telegraf/releases/telegraf-1.21.4-1.x86_64.rpm
sudo yum localinstall telegraf-1.21.4-1.x86_64.rpm

Configure an Output

You can configure Telegraf to output data to a variety of sources, like Kafka, Graphite, InfluxDB, Prometheus, SQL, NoSQL, and more.

In this example, we will configure telegraf with a Graphite output. If you're not currently hosting your data source, you can start a free trial with Hosted Graphite by MetricFire to follow along with these next steps.

A Hosted Graphite account will provide the data source, offer an alerting feature, and include Hosted Grafana as a visualization tool.

To configure the Graphite output, you need to locate the downloaded telegraf configuration file at /etc/telegraf/telegraf.conf and open it in your preferred text editor. Then you will need to make the following changes to the file:

Locate and comment out the line:

# [[outputs.influxdb]]

Then, uncomment the line:

[[outputs.graphite]]

Next, uncomment and edit the server line to:

servers = ["carbon.hostedgraphite.com:2003"]

Finally, uncomment and edit the prefix line to:

prefix = "<YOUR_API_KEY>.telegraf"
If you don't already have a Hosted Graphite account, sign up for a free trial here to obtain a Hosted Graphite API key.
Otherwise, you can configure a different telegraf output to forward metrics to another data source.

Configure the Telegraf Mailchimp Input Plugin

Telegraf has many input plugins that can collect a wide range of data from many popular technologies and 3rd party sources. In this example, we'll demonstrate how to collect and forward metrics from your Mailchimp email campaigns.

First, you will need to search for the inputs.mailchimp section in your telegraf.conf file, uncomment the [[inputs.mailchimp]] line:

[[inputs.mailchimp]]

Then, you will need to uncomment and add your MailChimp API key to the 'api_key' line (this can be located in your Mailchimp account at: https://admin.mailchimp.com/account/api/):

    api_key = "f90e****************************-us15"

    Optionally, you can uncomment the 'days_old' line (default is 0) which will collect data from all of your campaigns:

    days_old = 0

    Finally, you can save your changes and run the Telegraf daemon using the following command, to see if there are any configuration errors in the output:

    telegraf --config telegraf.conf

    Telegraf will now be forwarding roughly 28 metrics per email campaign, to your configured data source. If you're using Telegraf's Graphite output, the metrics will hold the following format:

    telegraf.<host>.<campaign_ID>.mailchimp.<metric>

    You will be receiving Mailchimp campaign metrics for emails sent/opened/bounced, click rates, unsubscribe events, syntax errors, and more! 

    See the official GitHub repository for additional details and configuration options for the MailChimp plugin.

    Use Hosted Graphite by MetricFire to Create Custom Dashboards and Alerts

    MetricFire is a monitoring platform that enables you to gather, visualize and analyze metrics and data from sources such as servers, databases, networks, processes, devices, and applications. By utilizing MetricFire, you can effortlessly identify problems and optimize resources from within your infrastructure. Hosted Graphite by MetricFire takes away the burden of self-hosting your own monitoring solution, allowing you more time and freedom to work on your most important tasks.

    Once you have signed up for a Hosted Graphite account and used the above steps to configure your server(s) with the Telegraf Agent, metrics will be forwarded, timestamped, and aggregated into the Hosted Graphite backend.

    1. Metrics will be sent and stored in the Graphite format of: metric.name.path <numeric-value> <unix-timestamp>

    2. The dot notation format provides a tree-like data structure, making it efficient to query

    3. Metrics are stored in your Hosted Graphite account for 2 years, and you can use them to create custom Alerts and Grafana dashboards

    Build Dashboards in Hosted Graphite's Hosted Grafana

    In the Hosted Graphite UI, navigate to Dashboards => Primary Dashboards and select the + button to create a new panel:

    create panel

    Then you can use the query UI to select a graphite metric path (the default data source will be the hosted graphite backend if you are accessing Grafana via your HG account):

    query metrics

    The Hosted Graphite datasource also supports wildcard (*) searching to grab all metrics that match a specified path.

    Now you can apply Graphite functions to these metrics like aliasByNode() to reformat the metric names, and exclude() to ignore certain metric patterns:

    add functions

    Grafana has many additional options to apply different visualizations, modify the display, set units of measurement, and some more advanced features like configuring dashboard variables and event annotations.

    See the Hosted Graphite dashboard docs for more details.

    Creating Graphite Alerts

    In the Hosted Graphite UI, navigate to Alerts => Graphite Alerts to create a new alert. Name the alert, add a query to the alerting metric field, and add a description of what this alert is:

    create alert

    Then select the Alert Criteria tab to set a threshold, and select a notification channel. The default notification channel will be the email you used to sign up for the Hosted Graphite account, but you can easily configure channels for Slack, PagerDuty, Microsoft Teams, OpsGenie, custom webhooks and more. See the Hosted Graphite docs for more details on notification channels:

    set alert criteria

    Conclusion

    Monitoring email campaigns enables tracking of key metrics (open rates, click-through rates, conversions) to assess the effectiveness of email campaigns. It also helps gauge recipient interaction, allowing businesses to understand how well their emails resonate with the audience and provides insights into the impact of email campaigns on desired actions, such as purchases or sign-ups. 

    Using tools like dashboards and alerts will complement your data by providing real-time visualization, proactive identification of issues, historical trend analysis, and facilitating informed decision-making, all of which are essential for maintaining a robust and efficient infrastructure.

    Sign up for the free trial, and experiment with monitoring your Mailchimp email campaigns today. You can also book a demo and talk to the MetricFire team directly about your monitoring needs.

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