Combating automated clicks and bots

Automated clicks, also called roboclicks, and bots can inflate and alter metrics related to email marketing and create false positives in campaigns. Learn how your organization can address these issues.

Emails are a notably effective tool for marketers across the economy. In terms of education marketing in particular, reaching out to teachers and a variety of other professionals through a tool they already use on a daily basis can be especially powerful.

There are certain challenges that play out in this area – and in email marketing overall – however. Automated clicks and bots can easily distort the metrics of any campaign, making data less reliable and muddying the waters when measuring everything from follow-up efforts to planning the next round of outreach. Let’s look at why automated clicks – also called roboclicks – and bots can be such a source of frustration for education marketers, and how to combat this problem.

email bot

Effective email campaign management must involve recognition of automated clicks.

The problems posed by bots and automated clicks

One of the major difficulties tied to automated clicks and bots is the completely legitimate reasons prospects and the organizations they work for use such tools. A wide range of security and filtering programs will check links sent in emails before they reach the intended recipient, ensuring the links contained within them aren’t malicious or otherwise hazardous. This makes sense for the educational institutions attempting to protect their networks but has the unintended consequence of inflating the number of clicks that a given email or broader campaign tracks.

Malicious bots also exist, which may open emails or undertake other activities with more adversarial intent. In both cases, the end result is the same. Distorted metrics and a more difficult path to effective email campaign management

There’s no direct way around this issue: It’s simply unreasonable to ask prospects to disable these vital security tools. These bots play a critical role for schools, not to mention other businesses and organizations. But your organization needs reliable numbers that demonstrate real human interactions with a given email. Additionally, you don’t want to send the next message in a multi-stage campaign to a recipient when a bot tied to their email address was the only one to interact with the message.

How can your organization address this issue?

How the right tools identify and address automated clicks

While automated clicks and bots can’t be avoided, there are simple, practical tools that allow companies to recognize and address their impact on campaign performance and reporting. A dependable solution for discerning between bot-driven clicks and the intended recipients of emails opening, reading through and clicking on a call to action in a message is incredibly valuable. Marketers can remain confident in the results of their efforts and the reporting based on them.

Time is a critical factor when telling the difference between automated and real clicks. By reviewing the difference between the time the message is sent to when it’s opened or a link within is clicked, it’s relatively simple to determine whether a bot or a prospect interacted with the message. Similarly, reviewing whether an email was opened before or after it reached the intended recipient’s inbox can offer a clear distinction between an automated click and a meaningful engagement.

This approach to screening the details of each click is especially beneficial because it has no impact on intended recipients’ interaction with emails. It’s simply additional flexibility in reporting that allows marketers to make their metrics more accurate, and allow for review of the numbers including automated clicks and bots if necessary.

When optimizing the performance of single messages and entire campaigns, as well as longer term email marketing considerations, accurate data is incredibly valuable. Because there are so many email security tools available and so many different strategies for composing and formatting marketing messages, it’s impossible to share a simple list of best practices for all situations. Instead, individualized support and recommendations, shared by an experienced partner, can help marketers craft the best possible email for their specific audience.

In this context, finding a dependable partner to help craft email marketing campaigns and make metrics more accurate is an especially important need. With the right support, your organization can make accurate determinations about its email marketing efforts, allowing for more effective communications with prospects in the near future and better insight for months and years to come.

To learn more about Agile’s approach to these critical marketing issues and how we can support your business throughout its process of executing email campaigns, get in touch with us today.

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