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What are machine clicks and what do they have to do with email marketing?

Machine clicks in emails are here to stay. So what can you do as an email marketer to work with these?

A human index finger reaching out to touch a robot index digit in grayscale

Have you seen a surprising rise in open and click rates that don’t match a change in marketing incentives?

Or maybe you’ve seen a sudden, large batch of unsubscribes for what seems like no reason?

Believe it or not, all the above are possible signs of machine or server clicks skewing your email data. And if that’s a term that sounds completely new to you, don’t worry, I'm here to explain it a little more.

So, what do machine clicks have to do with email marketing?

Essentially, a machine click is when the anti-spam filter of the receiving mail server checks the validity and integrity of a potentially suspicious link in an email.

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.

A sage-looking robot sitting crossed-legged in a meditation position

So, why do machine clicks impact my email marketing?

Any good (email) marketer knows that obtaining accurate statistics about your campaigns is vital to improving how you market to your audience. Not knowing whether a human or server took an action within an email campaign often leads to inflated metrics and inaccurate segmentation of your database.

It also means you may not actually be reaching your intended recipient as these machine clicks could click that unsubscribe button too!

This may all sound like doom and gloom for email but fear not, there is something you can do about this.

What you can do about email machine clicks?

To be frank, this is something that bulk email service providers should take care of. But, you can also mitigate the impact there is if they don't

Some of the leading systems out there already help with this (TouchBasePro, Campaign Monitor, etc.) but there are a few steps you can take to assess if machine clicks are drastically impacting your email metrics:

1. Ask subscribers to add you to their safe sender list – A short note to encourage your readers to add you to their safe sender list goes a long way in preventing this.

It depends on the link-checking software in use, but many of these will ignore senders sitting in the safe sender list.

2. Confirm unsubscribes – It’s both best practice and fully compliant with data privacy laws to have an unsubscribe confirmation in place.

Essentially, what this does is when the unsubscribe link is clicked, the person taking this action is taken to a hosted page where another click is needed to confirm that they would like to be removed from your list.

Machine clicks can only happen in the email environment, ensuring that your subscribers aren’t accidentally unsubscribed by link-checking software.

3. Try linking predominantly to content on your own website - Receiving email servers often prefer links in the email that match the domain in the sending address.

When you include a link to another domain, you’re essentially putting your trust in their domain reputation, not yours and this may be crucial.

4. Choose the right ESP to monitor this – For example, systems like TouchBasePro and Campaign Monitor help you potentially identify your true email metrics, giving you an idea of how many suspected machine clicks have taken place in a campaign and further, giving you the ability to filter these out in your campaign statistic snapshot report.

I’m certain most ESPs will be rolling this out soon or may have already begun doing so.

A phone on a white background with a cactus plant blurred in the background showing an empty inbox on the screen

Where to from here?

Firstly, defining machine clicks will help you get a true reflection of your campaign statistics, and also act as an early-warning system for your database.

Getting too many machine clicks may indicate the need to look at who is in your database and how to segment these folks in the right way.

Start assessing when clicks happen in your campaigns and begin filtering out our segmenting folks who seem to click as soon as a campaign is sent.

Seeing a spike right when emails are delivered helps and assessing if someone is clicking all your links is a great first step.

Let’s put an end to robot clicks skewing your email statistics today! 💌

Before you go! Your first step to making money from your emails is by growing your audience. Learn the fastest ways to grow your email list today by using the tried and tested Email Database Growth Playbook. Click here or on the image below to get your FREE copy👇

Preview of the Ultimate Database Growth Playbook by Email Expert Africa

Want to become an email expert? Get our expert email guide today! Click here to find out more

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