Email Is Still Vital

For marketers, email is vital and will continue to be even more so in the future due to the increased use of social media since the pandemic. What’s changed is how CMOs need to maximize their communications in social media, including their emails, to achieve success. However, some brands have enemies that are holding back their success. What are they?

Domain Reputation

If the brand’s emails are being intercepted by spam bots, consumers aren’t receiving any emails or offers. Email performance statistics can be circumspect with these bots and it’s not uncommon to see inflated click through rates as a result.

For that reason, many marketers use a different IP address for transactional emails to reach out to their customers. However, that partially works if a mailbox provider has already assigned a reputation to the brand’s domain. Another option is to invest in tools like Sender Score, Barracuda, Talos Intelligence and scores of others to determine the brand’s real time sender reputation.

Spam Bots

To determine if a brand is a victim of spam bots, one of the first things to do is to look at the contents on the analytics tool that emails are sent through, whether it’s Google, Adobe or any other analytics tool. If the tool shows metrics off by thousands of clicks, these next steps may be important.


Have the IT department set up a unified threat management (UTM) to track links from spam bots. Ask them to place hidden links with special names to enable subsequent inspection as to which links and spam bots are affecting the brand. Place these on a list for subsequent inspection.

Smart Lists

The next step is to set up smart lists to identify these fake clickers. Here are a couple of variations that might work best for the brand.

The first option tells a brand how many consumers clicked on the hidden link within the emails and subsequently on another. Doing this will generate a smaller list of contacts that can be inspected to see whether they had other valid activity from the brand’s other marketing email. This list should contain fillers for Clicked Link in Email>Link is Covert Link and Clicked Link in Email > Is Not Covert Link.

Since many bots go through each email and click on every link as a precautionary spam check, a comparable alternative would be to see if every visitor clicked on every link in the email. Consumers don’t usually click on every link, particularly hidden ones, which could be a telltale signal of spam bots.

Spam Problem?

If a spam problem has been identified and the source(s) located, there are vendors who can look deeper and determine how many contacts were actually delivered, opened the email, and clicked on the hidden link at the same time.

However, the investment required may not be in the current or even subsequent budgets, so the next best solution is to discover clicks on the brand’s smart lists. This time-consuming process requires three steps.

First, confirm that the names on the list are legitimate contacts. Second, confirm their activity on a contact-by-contact basis. Third, block or suspend those that appear to be bots from receiving future emails. Doing this should help eliminate inflated email performance reports.

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