Email Marketing & Click Bots

Many corporate email systems now employ software (what I am calling click bots) that analyzes the links in any given email to determine if the email violates rules or policies, in addition to whether the email might be spam. Part of that analysis is visiting any/all links in an email and looking at the content living at the URL. This means that when we send out marketing emails, the click bots effectively look like a real person clicking through on the link in the email.

This is why we see the large numbers of clicks for links like privacy policy that are usually in email marketing templates. The click bots are effective enough to execute javascript, which means we can’t rely on Google Analytics to weed out the click bot traffic. This is a very deep topic and I could keep going, but that gives you the gist.

Please note that while this isn’t prevalent in consumer type email systems, it is becoming more and more ubiquitous.


> Thank you Jason but how do we weed this out to find the true interested parties?

This is what we asked Pardot and they didn’t have an answer. Marketo does have answers in the form of best-practices for how to setup automation (and where not to automate), but no one in the industry has really solved this problem. I’ve been thinking about this issue for weeks now to try to come up with a way to solve this, as it would be a new business 😉

Some of the areas that Pardot said they were working to try to solve this:

  1. Click timing
  2. IP address blocking

    and some of my own ideas

  3. Clicks marked as different users coming from the same IP address
  4. Clicks without email open (this is tricky though, high false positive potential)
  5. Multiple Analytics correlation (using Pardot AND Google AND others)
  6. Redirects
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