Rob - Thanks for bringing this subject up
The email link scanning/checking issue and resulting false clicks impacts all Marketo customers to some degree. To me, it seems like this issue should be handled/solved at Marketo for all customers.
Here is why I believe that. Marketo already has the data to solve this issue. The activity log shows link scanning activity in an easily identifiable way. In each case, the link scanning software shows up as a click prior to the delivery of the email. See examples below in red. Although this data is view-able in our Marketo instance, there is no way to programmatically exclude these clicks. Normal email delivery and opens are shown in black.
Marketo can solve this issue for all customers by creating a back-end program with logic that looks for emails that report the Click Email status before the Email Delivered status and then ignoring those clicks for reporting purposes. Marketo could show this link checking software activity in the activity log with a status saying that this click will not be counted for reporting purposes.
The above is a simple example. With better data, I am sure Marketo could programmatically account for all of the different scenarios link scanning software creates. In the end, doing this will provide all Marketo customers with better, more accurate email performance data.
I would love to hear the the thoughts of others in the community.
This isn't the way the really sophisticated mail scanners work (which is probably why these are the only ones you noticed!).
They don't all scan mail before returning a 200 OK ("Delivered") because that makes it too easy for malicious actors to determine that they're being checked, respond with an innocent page, then go back to their malicious page after scanning is over. Accepting the mail for delivery and then scanning it is how you maintain accuracy.
I think people overstate the ease of detecting activity that by definition is supposed to be undetectable, or else it is foiled. Not to say there aren't ways to filter, but they aren't obvious!
I think you are a few steps ahead of me. The sample data I provided above was from the Marketo results tab, I wanted to show everyone that this data it is accessible by Marketo today. I also wanted to show everyone that this behavior is readily identifiable. If other link scanning software doesn't cause this behavior, great, it doesn't impact my metrics.
This challenge is not going away. First, as customers of a top tier, best in class, Marketing Automation Solution, we need Marketo to recognize that this behavior is an issue for customers. Second, we need Marketo to start working on a solution to this issue. Maybe I am out of the loop, however, I am not seeing anything from Marketo.
So far it's working for me. I sent an email out this morning with that piece of code buried in the bottom corner of the email and I've already seen about 10% of my total clicks had hits to that page. It's a very small sample size so far and I want to give it more time to see how it works but it's helping me already provide more accurate reporting.
Yeah, I agreed with your concept that this method would tell you how many leads were using mail scanners, so it is useful.
But that isn't the same as "reversing the charges" for scanner-driven clicks...