Omit Clicks, Opens, etc. from reporting when performed by a security program

0 Votes

Seems that a number of companies have started automatically tracing back all the links in emails. This makes the click reports pretty useless. Results are swamped with this.

19 Comments
CIFMarketing0296
Campaign Contributor

We need some help here, Constant Contact. Deliverability tech support with you guys explained this as firewall opens - where every link in the email is clicked as the firewall scans for viruses. They would submit something to the engineers and get back to me. This is particuarly frustrating as there are already multiple factors that negatively impact our open rate reporting - iPhone automatic previews counting as open when person has not seen our email.  Other email providers doing the same thing.

 

And, I can't place it but thought I read on the CC forums somewhere that mobile phone opens can be reported as desktop. Our desktop percentage for CC emails is very high - much higher than we see on our Google Analytics reporting for our website. What is the margin of error with opens reporting?

 

Keep analyzing, keep testing, keep asking questions. Thanks to everyone on this forum.

JoshA8231
Rookie

The bot clicks and all of the unreported opens are making your reporting completely obsolete. Why would I use the clicks and opens reports if they can provide any accurate information?

Thanks! 

Passport
Brand Visionary

We use a couple of different email marketing tools. Both have this issue, so Constant Contact isn't the only company dealing with this issue. We've begun hiding a link in our emails - no highlight, no underlining. If that link is "clicked", we count any activity from that email at the time it was sent as "suspect". We've noticed also that even when the initial email activity report is suspect, there may be later activity - opens and clicks that happen after the original send. At that point, we view them to be authentic activities.

Hope that helps

CIFMarketing0296
Campaign Contributor

Thanks, Passport. Worth a try. Do you place that hidden link toward the bottom, in smaller type, and manually turn off the color change/underline identifier? You could have someone wildly clicking everywhere and somehow click on it randomly, but that's doubtful.

 

One good thing is that the all link firewall opens don't appear to be reflected in the total links on the main reporting page. Our clicks on a recent newsletter showed about 105 less there than when I click the clicks number on that page. Data is not an exact science. Wish we could have some percentages to apply to our numbers to account for the new realities and make reporting more accurate. Have a great weekend.

Passport
Brand Visionary

Hi CIFMarketing,

The hidden links are generally towards the bottom, but not always. I have not seen any hidden link clicks outside of a full firewall "all links clicked" report, so, so far at least, no concerns about accidental clicks on the hidden links.

 

And absolutely agree, data is not an exact science.

 

Thanks! You, too.

KimberlyB1786
Rookie

This is crazy. Just became a customer, sent my first campaign - over 80% open rate (hundreds from one or two domains), and some contacts clicking every single link, even though they didn't (I confirmed). Analytics are useless. When will this be addressed?

CIFMarketing0296
Campaign Contributor

Are the hundreds from one or two domains quite common ones, such as gmail.com, yahoo.com, etc.

What we have done on the contacts that click every link (robot filter things) is disregard those. I think CC pulls those repeats out when you look at the number in the summary screen, but includes the addresses with the list when you look at the full rundown. Where you really need to watch, and I don't have a good answer - is the desktop vs. mobile opens. I simply don't trust it. iPhones, which are the dominant mobiles in the U.S. have an automated open feature that opens the email in the background (revealing the CC tracking image) but then not necessarily showing it to the end user. Those count just as much as opens as the legit ones, so frustrating and makes one doubt the accuracy of the data.

KimberlyB1786
Rookie

It's from some of the same domains - e.g. I work for Penn State University, and the email addresses are real. A bunch of addresses are doing this (opening and clicking everything), but not all addresses are doing this. And these are real people, so I can't blatantly disregard - but it's not even close to real data. I checked with several of my colleagues and no they didn't click through (on anything).

 

Honestly, I feel eventually this will become a legal issue - because these people (and their email addresses) are being associated with incorrect email behavior data. Especially in today's world of AI, this data is fueling incorrect assumptions about the behaviors of these people - and the assumptions fuel business decisions and targeted marketing. It's very frustrating. Not to mention reporting is completely incorrect (I feel for the agencies!!).

AgencyONE
Campaign Contributor

I am seeing the same in the results from some of my recipients. The behavior made me think it was connected to spam/ malware systems. Has anyone heard anything back from CC?

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