The ‘CTR’ (click through rate) of an email campaign is calculated by taking the number of email campaign opens, and dividing this by the number of those emails which were clicked. NewZapp records an email’s CTR as a percentage, as well as in actual terms. Identifying click throughs on email campaigns helps determine whether engagement goals are being achieved.
As a reminder, the ‘Open’ of an email is recorded every time an email is viewed with images downloaded, or if a link within an email is clicked. Even if images have not been downloaded, a click automatically validates an email as having been opened.
These methods of tracking and recording actions have been standard practice for a number of years but this universal method is now being challenged by new technologies.
It has been noted across the industry that there has recently been a steady increase in the number of clicks being made on emails which are suspicious in quantity. These clicks indicate that an given email has had one (or more) clicks on every individual link within it. It’s not unusual to see multiple ‘opens’ by a single recipient, and this is seen as a promising sign that an email has been circulated to others, but a high number of clicks (particularly every link within an email clicked multiple times, does ring alarm bells).
Investigations confirmed a change in the way mail scanners are checking emails for phishing links, by clicking every link in an email before delivery to the end recipient. The purpose of these clicks is to check the legitimacy of links by looking for malicious activity, before a filter allows delivery of the email to the recipient. Therefore these clicks are genuine but are not necessarily actioned by the recipient of the email, but by filter/firewall “Spambots”.
If you see an unusually high number of clicks from email addresses which are on a common domain, it’s likely to be the actions of a virus scanner.
The presence of these clicks poses three crucial problems for senders of email to accurately track their success.
- A skewed overall open and CTR for an email campaign.
- A misleading impression of which recipients were the most engaged with an email campaign (if you are measuring engagement by clicks).
- An incorrect record of which recipients have actually opened an email campaign.
As a leading ESP, NewZapp is driving the industry by developing system intelligence to spot a real click versus a virus scanner click. This latest major release aims to detect and hide clicks identified as being made by a filter “bot” ensuring that NewZapp users only see true and valid statistics on their campaign reports.
- NewZapp users will not see opens and clicks where the system detects they have been made by a scanner/bot rather than your intended recipient.
- This will not block statistics from genuine actions taken in the inbox. Once contacts open and/or click an email themselves, NewZapp will log this.
- Clicks that the system detects have been made by a bot will be re-directed to NewZapp .com so as to prevent falsely inflated web traffic in user’s Google Analytics.
- A complete guide to all the data available in NewZapp Reports is available to download here and discussed in this blog post.
Note: The first release is not exhaustive, but is based on the analysis of data from some of NewZapp’s major clients. The programme will expand as more networks are identified and the validity of click sources are investigated.
Customer feedback as always is vital in the progression of NewZapp’s features and reports of continued unusual activity such as spikes in CTR is welcomed, on email@example.com or via your Account Manager.