Bot Clicks Now Ignored In Your Email Campaigns – NEW SPOTLER FEATURE.

Have you been noticing ‘triangle warnings’ against some clicks in your reporting? Well these are bots and actually not humans who are clicking your lovely crafted email campaigns.

These bots are not only a pain in the proverbial, but more importantly skewing the performance of your campaigns. Yes, that’s right, your open rate (don’t get me started on open rates – one of the worst email marketing metrics ever invented) and CTRs (click through rates) are actually worse than you already thought it was!

So, from the 1st Aug 2020 you will start to notice a decrease in your email opens/clicks. Spotler is rolling out (rolled out if you are reading this after July 2020) an update which will drastically impact your email KPIs.

This update will hide all bot clicks that we detect are using IE7 or IE8. Yes, we will completely disregard them; so as a result, your emails, after 31st July 2020, will very likely have lower email opens and clicks.

Don’t panic though – this is really good news, I promise!

HOW DO BOTS CLICK LINKS IN MY EMAIL CAMPAIGNS?

Companies of all shapes and sizes implement anti-virus and spam blocking services, in order to reduce the amount of spam that gets through to their employees.

In most cases these anti-virus/anti-spam tools have little or no impact as you send out your email, sending out the odd ‘click’ here and there. However, some of these tools are overly-aggressive and do more than gently click a few links. Sometimes they check all the links in the email, which registers as a full link click in your email campaign.

That is how a fake click (a bot) can throw off your real email CTR.

HOW DO WE IDENTIFY A BOT CLICKING AN EMAIL LINK?

Our methods:

  1. We manually block single specific UserAgent if investigated and found to be a bot.
  2. We manually block single specific IPs, or IP ranges if investigated and found to be a bot.
  3. We insert a hidden URL in the email that if accessed triggers an automatic suppression a specific pair of one UserAgent and one IP address.  This is an inhuman event.
  4. We are cutting out a huge portion of bots by hiding anything from IE7 and IE8

DO I REALLY NEED TO WORRY?

It is hard to determine, generally, what percent of email link clicks are performed by real people versus bots. However, they are becoming more and more common and we are seeing them more frequently within the campaigns that are being sent out.

If you are using this metric as an indication of email effectiveness, then your output will be flawed. If you are sending follow-on campaigns automatically to those that have ‘clicked’ then most likely you are sending it to people how haven’t actually engaged. If you use clicks in your sales process/pipeline, that will explain why your sales teams say they have called ‘X’ but the say they have never received the email.

Ultimately clicks are just as useless as opens in email marketing.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AND YOUR EMAIL SENDING?

So more than likely your email click rates are bloated by bots clicking your links. Fortunately, this new update from Spotler will help reduce the amount of bot clicks you see within your campaigns.

The outcome?

  • The reporting dashboard will remain the same, however your emails will have fewer opens and clicks because activity from bots will no longer be recorded.
  • This means you will (possibly) see a big drop in the Click Through Rate (CTR) and CTR% in your emails stats from 1st August 2020.

HOW IS THIS CONTROLLED?

It is a system-wide update that is blocking all IE7 and IE8 traffic from displaying in the campaign results. Microsoft no longer supports them, and from the 1st of August neither will we!

IS IT THE END OF BOTS CLICKING MY EMAILS?

Unfortunately not. We cannot completely eradicate all bot clicks, simply because we do not know every bot clicker. There are always new anti-virus/anti-spam tools, but once we identify them, they will be removed from campaign reporting.

However, we are cutting out a huge portion of bots by removing anything we know to be bot activity.

CAN I TURN IT OFF?

No.

From a reporting standpoint, you want only legitimate clicks in your system – not fake clicks. Fake clicks can astronomically inflate activity CTRs and if these are part of your sales process, lead you to turn over ‘hot’ leads to your sales team that are not actually hot leads.

WHAT SHOULD I REPORT ON?

Now that your email campaigns will be showing their true CTR and you know opens are completely worthless, what should marketers be reporting on, especially when lead generation is a core focus of their email strategy?

The answer is quite simple. Rather than, for example, an email with a 5.2% open rate and a 0.45% CTR (but wait, “what about CtoR I hear you cry?” Well, I won’t even entertain that with an answer!) you should be concentrating on the percent that lands on your website (let’s coin that ‘click to web rate’ – CTWR) and then score their engagement to create leads of varying degrees.

Luckily as a Spotler customer we have you covered, as the tool set at your disposal will not only make you a better marketer, it will also help you prospect, nurture and qualify your leads better.

So you can send out your email campaign, report on the correct CTR (if you must), but now, and the most important part, also report on the CTWR and how many of these went on to become hot leads. And if they don’t engage on the website, you can try to nurture them with popups and remarketing to them with predefined automated workflow campaigns. You might even start creating bespoke landing pages for your email campaigns that are designed to convert… and yes that can be done in Spotler too.

Here’s to the brave new world of lower CTRs but better reporting and understanding of what is actually going on in your email campaigns, and in turn a more accurate view of demand generation from the marketing department.

More resources

NEED HELP? WANT US TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL KPI’S AND SEE IF THEY ARE PERFORMING WELL?

Contact us for assistance auditing your email sending, email performance KPIs, and understanding how this update could change the way you send and respond to email activity.


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