Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

That makes sense... Unfortunately

-Greg

Level 3

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Here's another place where this can bite you: reports. We email a daily "known visitors" and a weekly "anonymous visitors" report for specific geos/segments to the relevant sales teams. After a nurture or promotional email drops, the sales team sees a "too good to be true" surge of visitors from some accounts. So many things are wrong at this point. First, the sales team wastes time getting excited about a sudden spike in interest from an account that turns out to be a waste of time. This in turn damages the credibility of these reports (and thus of Marketo and Marketing Ops in general). And worse, as you can imagine, the sales teams who really embrace these reports are of course the most effective and good partners for marketers; so it's doubly a shame when these reports send false positives. Would also love to see some schematics or smart list/flow screenshots that give us a head start. These metrics are still useful, so we haven't discontintinued the reports; but you really just can't tell your sales team "don't believe them under XX conditions until we have time to re-rationalize them."

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

The test was using a Smart Campaign that was listening to page visits and email delivery.

how exactly did you set this test up?

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

I have also experienced this, and while I can't speak to the percentage of clicks that were "false" as I haven't run that full research, it has caused us many issues; Sales reps following up on false leads, bad & misleading reporting, etc. The solution highlighted above is a good one, but as some have noted, bots can also "view webpages." We were also having a hard time when we simply sent people to a pdf from an email. You can't see webpage visits to a pdf, unfortunately.


So we implemented a honeypot to our emails. A honeypot is also seen as bait for a bot that humans cannot see or click. We added a 1x1 pixel image that blended into either the header or the footer of our emails and hyperlinked it to a specific page. Now a human cannot see that link and therefore will not click the link, but bots will click every link within an email (as far as I know). We then created a smart list of clicks to that honeypot link, and used that to suppress the bots from reporting, Salesforce, interesting moments, lead scoring, you name it. I've heard back from Sales reps that the leads they are seeing have all improved significantly since we implemented the honeypot.

Highlighted
Level 6 - Champion

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

This is also a great method, but can you elaborate on specifically how your reporting is suppressing the link? We have a lot of ongoing pushes to our CRM when activities take place, how are you able to filter out only the bot clicks? Or, are you simply filtering any clicks from that email address if you see the honeypot interaction? Our goal is to suppress the bot click, but still try to capture any human engagement even if a bot had initially reviewed/clicked the email.

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Hi Chris - Being able to differentiate the bot click from the human interaction is an issue we haven't been able to solve just yet, unfortunately. Though I've considered trying to combine the honeypot method with the "visited webpage" method to decipher between bots and human engagement. But again, that initial engagement with the honeypot remains on the contact activity. Anyone else have ideas on this?

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Unfortunately, this may not be accurate either. We tried that in our organization and what we found was - Yes we would be able to identify which ones were not the bots. However, if a bot does click on it, it doesn't mean the CTA page click wasn't legitimate. With an 80% bot click ratio, the number of people we would exclude would be astronomical in the long run.

We've noticed this issue for years and raised it with Marketo, but they aren't able to help and keep saying no one has heard of it which I 100% do not believe. But, we may have to stop looking at clicks as a determinant of success for campaigns and maybe start looking at the opportunities and quotes being generated per campaign and go from there.

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

We definitely don't look at clicks as a success metric anymore as a result of this. Like you said, we look more to product usage or opps created as success metrics and those get pushed back into Marketo for reporting.

I've worked with another automation tool and they said the same thing "bots don't click emails." I BEG to differ...

Highlighted

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Vote here friends:

Highlighted
Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: Bot or Not? – Are you suffering from ‘bot clicks’?

Thanks for sharing, Dezie - but the problem with this approach is many bots will eventually deliver the email to the intended recipient after all scans/clicks have been made and the email has been deemed safe.  And if you're filtering out those that click on the honeypot link, you may be filtering out legitimate/human-based clicks.