Have you notices an unexplainable rise in email open and click rates - or a sudden large number of unsubscribes - when looking at your email campaign insights? It's likely that server-clicks are skewing your email campaign's response data.
What are server-clicks?
A server-click — also known as "bot-click", or a "non-human interaction" — is when the anti-spam filter on a receiving mail server "checks" potentially suspicious link in an email. It is designed to protect against phishing attacks, which, are growing in frequency.
For example, if Gmail’s anti-spam filters are suspicious of your email, they will click the links to ensure that they’re not malicious.
An anti-spam filter may only click on some links, or it may click on the links in an email. Based on these checks, the anti-spam filter may deliver the email to the inbox or junk it as spam.
While this a helpful service that keeps inboxes safe, it also creates complications for reporting on email activity. Since email service providers (ESPs) report open and click data, these server-clicks create the impression that a recipient is opening and clicking the email, when in reality, it was the anti-spam filter.
It is important to note that this is not an issue exclusive to Marketing 360® or any other ESP. Every email sender is likely to experience the effects of server-clicks at some level.
Why am I seeing an increase in server-clicks?
Phishing attacks have been on the rise over the past couple of years — both in volume and in profile. As a result, security is being tightened globally.
And as spammers continue to find new ways to sneak past security settings, the pressure is on mailbox providers to make their inboxes as safe as possible.
What should I do if I see a large increase in clicks, opens, or unsubscribes?
If you suspect server-clicks are skewing your email data, there are a couple of quick actions you can take to help solve the issue.
- Check what new URLs you link to. Files, link shorteners, and free online filter files can cause problems.
- Check your list health. Sending to inactive or unengaged email addresses can harm your sender reputation. This is a bad practice for many reasons, but the main one is anti-spam filters are more likely to view you as a suspicious sender. When subscribers stop responding to your content, remove them from your mailing lists.
How can I prevent this from happening?
While there’s no magic formula for preventing server-clicks, there are some best practices you can follow. Here are the top 3 things you can do to help anti-spam filters servers know they can trust you:
1. Ask your subscribers to add you to their Safe Senders List
Including a short note in your subscribe form or welcome email that reminds your subscribers to mark your email as safe can go a long way. Learn how to add our sending email address to a Safe Senders List.
2. Only link to content that’s hosted on your website
Receiving mail servers prefer links in the email to match the domain in the sending address. Plus, when you include a link to another domain, you’re putting your trust in their domain reputation, not yours.
3. Turn on confirmed unsubscribe for all your lists
Campaign Monitor provides this feature for this exact situation. To learn how to activate confirmed unsubscribe, click here.