Filtering Email Bot Activity Feature FAQs

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

Filtering of email bot activity


Email bot activity has been one of the most asked features in our Marketo community. As an initial release of this feature, we have taken an approach of filtering the email open and email link click activities by matching them with an Identified list of IPs and User-agents.  This is the list provided by IAB (International Advertising Bureau).


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: How this feature works?

A: As described above, when an email is sent we receive email opens and clicks as per the engagement. When an email open/click reaches Marketo servers, it will check if either IP or user-agent of the received open/click matches with an entry in the identified list of user-agents/IPs (provided by IAB) then those clicks/opens are considered as bot activity and will not be logged into Marketo


Q: How can I enable the feature?
A: Its simple, goto Admin > Email > Email bot activity, click on the enable filtering of email bot activity. Here are the Marketo docs for more help

Q: What activities will be filtered as part of this feature?
A: Only Email Opens and Email Clicks activities.

Q: Does this feature affect the activities that are already in my database?
A: No, filtering is done only for activities that log after the feature is enabled from Admin.

Q: Is the filtering applied to emails that are sent after the filtering is enabled?
A: Yes, applicable only for activities that get logged after the filter is enabled. In cases like where email was sent before but leads open/click email after the filtering is enabled then those activities will be considered.

Q: How do I know if the feature is working?
A: You can see the number of email bot activity filtered so far since the last 90days in your Admin > Email > Email bot activity section

Q: Will I see any delay of activities logging into Marketo?
A: No, in the current version of the filtering delay that got introduced is negligible so you shouldnot be experiencing any delay in logging of activities into Marketo

Q: What happens if bot clicked the link and then a real person opened the links? Will the real open/click be logged or not?
A: Yes, human click will be logged. Since the filtering is based on IP and user-agents and when a real person opens and clicks their IPs/User-agents will not be part of IAB's list they will not be filtered

Q: What happens if I disable the features after few days?
A: Filtering of the activities will be stopped and all activities will start to log into your Marketo instance.

Q: When the filtering feature is disabled, does the change (stop filtering) immediately take place?
A: Yes, filtering stops immediately

Q: Is there any chance that some default filtering was applied in this release that works without enabling the feature?
A: No, filtering only works when enabled

Q: Can I see the activities that are filtered through Smartlist? or If I disable the feature, will I get back the activities that are filtered?
A: No, currently activities that are identified as triggered by the bot will not be logged in to Marketo. So, they cannot be viewed through Smartlist or other means.

Q: Can we swap back and forth between filtering and not filtering to see how it affects our data without any loss of data or any permanent impact?
A: Yes, when you enable its activities will not be logged, and when you disable all new activities will continue to log. You can check the difference in the number of activities being logged.

Q: Once we click enable (to filter out all the bot activity) does the bot data disappear from every email data report (i.e analytics, email program summary, revenue explorer)?
A: Yes, activities that are identified as bot will not be logged at all into Marketo so reports might be showing lower metrics but as I mentioned only for new/future activities of email opens and clicks

Q: Is there any way to view the log of activities blocked by the new Filter Out Email Bots Activity feature?
A: We are storing the bot activities of the last 7days in our internal dashboard which our teams will have access and they should be able to extract or provide more insights into what are the IPs/user-agents identified in your subscription so far, bot activities identified against a campaign, etc.

Q: Will this feature filter all the bot-generated activities?
A: No, in this current version it only identifies activities generated from a known list of bots. To capture other types of bot activities, would need more sophisticated solutions like pattern recognitions (eg: both open/clicks happened at the same time, clicks triggered before open, etc) which we would like to do more research and target for the future releases.

Q: Can I see all the domains from which I am getting the bot activities so that I can avoid targeting respective email IDs?
A: No, these details are not present as of now but would love to know what all insights/data you would like to see going forward.


I hope most of your questions are addressed, in case you have more questions/ feedback/ information that you would like to see/ ideas for the next version that you would like to share w.r.t filtering of email bot activities please feel free to write to me at or comment here.