Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Adele_Miller
Level 4 - Champion Alumni

Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Hi Champs!

I am hoping someone can help me as I am on the verge of screaming at this issue

We have an issue with email bots / spam checkers clicking every single link on some of our emails before delivering them to the real recipients inbox.

We used to filter these out by no web activity being logged as the bots couldn't log that but recently we have noted they can now log activity against each lead and Support have confirmed this....GRRR!!

We use Sales Insight so this is giving a lot of false positives to sales to follow up on and we want to work out a way to filter this out.

Anyone else having this issue and have some fun ways to resolve it please??

23 REPLIES 23
Mark_Farnell
Level 4

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

We haven't fully solved the issue, but we have changed our process to try and mitigate it.  Previously we scored for "email click" and for known leads just pointed them to the hosted content on our nurture emails - that was driving a lot of false positives, so now we only score on a program conversion, which in the case of email nurture means we also now put a form in front of the content to measure a real conversion.  It's by no means ideal, but pre-fill helps and it does mean we don't create a lot of false positives, which was creating a larger issue for us.

Adele_Miller
Level 4 - Champion Alumni

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Morning Mark,

Thank you for your answer - this is what we also have in place to ensure we are not marking people as converted on a click.
However we are trying to find a way to stop this so called 'web activity' showing up in our MSI Tabs as it is confusing Sales - same with the clicks really. Can you think of anything there?I am struggling as it isn't something we have an option of filtering.

Thanks!

Sarah_Lundy1
Level 2

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Hi Adele,

Can I just ask - how is a bot check actually linking with a true lead? Are you passing to sales leads before firm data collection on industry/name/email address combo for example - would this not exclude the bot crawls linking to lead behaviour?

Thanks

Sarah

Adele_Miller
Level 4 - Champion Alumni

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Hi Sarah! As the emails being sent have Marketo tracked links, the bot is clicking all links before sending to the real recipient and Marketo sees that as activity from the lead as this is how the bot is intended to work.
The bot in question sits on the recipients mailbox and clicks every link to ensure the email is safe before sending it through to the real inbox, so the leads are known to the system. We don't mark them as responded or anything off the click, but it shows in MSI on web activity and also the MSI email tab as clicked if it was a sales sent email. Really annoying false positives!

Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Hi Adele-

Does the bot activity also log an open of the email? I've seen this in the past where the bot will click links but won't load all content, so the pixel that triggers an email open never fires. You could filter on people that didn't open the email but clicked to get the bots out.

However, on the other hand, this would filter out people that receive text emails by default. If the bots are really taking a toll, this may be worth the sacrifice.

Thanks,

Keith

SanfordWhiteman
Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

However, on the other hand, this would filter out people that receive text emails by default. If the bots are really taking a toll, this may be worth the sacrifice.

And Outlook users!

This is one of many reasons why heuristic detection (and discarding) of mail scanner traffic must be done at the tracking server, whether your own or Marketo's. It'll always fail to some degree, but it'll fail extra hard if you try to jerry-rig it with Marketo's end user tools.

Anonymous
Not applicable

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Thanks Sanford - quick question on that, why would it filter Outlook users? I haven't hit problems with Outlook users not logging opens in the past. Is it only certain versions of Outlook?

SanfordWhiteman
Level 10 - Community Moderator

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

Since at least Outlook 2010, Outlook and Outlook Web Access have required user opt-in to download images.

Marisa_Rybar
Level 3

Re: Email Bots Logging Web Activity - HELP

I am having issues with bots clicking AND opening emails. I've stopped scoring email opens, and I'm only scoring email clicks very selectively.

However, now my concern is in email reporting. If I can see on the individual activity logs that an email is being opened before it's being delivered, is that counting as an open in my overall email report? So, for example, I had a newsletter go out this morning. Marketo is telling me it had a 29.1% open rate and a 7.9% click to open rate, but which of these are real opens & clicks, and which of them were bots? I'm having a really hard time trusting the data I'm seeing right now.