Filtering Email Bot Activity Feature V2

Marketo Employee
Marketo Employee

May 2022 release details:


With a focus to address bot's impact on Email engagement, in 2021 we have launched our first version of filtering email bot activities. We have seen that this version of the solution is capturing an average of 2 Million bot activities per week for nearly 1000 Marketo customers. The impact is 3% of all email clicks and opens logged, while the industry average is ranging from 15% to 30%.


We got feedback from a lot of customers and from the Marketo community. We have categorized the feedback into the following themes:




More Transparency

The current version identifies the bot and doesn't log activities identified as bots.
Almost every customer and community expressed they would like to log the activities and do their own analysis

More Robust filtering

The current version completely relies on the IAB list and we need to introduce more sophisticated filtering to identify bot activities

More Control

As a customer, I find few user-agents/IPs that are creating bot activities and would like to include them in bot activity filtering criteria

We have been working on enhancing the feature that is more sophisticated patterns and gives more control to customers. As part of this effort, in the March release we have made the following enhancements:


  • Now Marketing admins have the option to opt for logging activities that are identified as bot
  • We have added 2 new attributes to email click, email open activities
    • “Is Bot Activity”, is a boolean value (True/False) and will be marked as true if the activity is identified as bot activity
    • “Bot activity pattern”: To highlight the pattern respective activity matched with. In this current release, all activities that are identified as bot will have value “match with IAB bot list”
  • These attributes are available as constraints in filters and trigger of these respective activities i.e Clicked link in email, Clicks link in email


Useful Links:

Marketo Employee

@lsimon You don't need to do any changes to your email. It's done when the email is compiled to send from the backend.


Regarding, will we be able to filter the Bot clicks out of Email Performance reports? -- Currently, there is no inbuilt option for this but you can consider adding constraints of "is bot activity" to your Smartlist rule.

Level 2

@Sreekanth_Reddy when did the hidden link feature go live?  Also, does it recognize all clicks for that hidden link or only ones from the IAB list?

And I have noticed that some of my own clicks, that I have done, are being flagged as bot activity due to hidden link.

Level 10 - Community Advisor

@CarrieTaylor, I believe this feature went live with this May 2022 Product release, and per this community post by Sreekanth, the proximity pattern matching update is currently being rolled out in phases to the pods to ensure a stable release. Also, the hidden links will not be visible to the end-users/real-humans but will be accessible to the email scanners - hence any traffic/UA/IP clicks on these hidden links will be logged as the bot activities with "Bot Activity Pattern" attribute set as "Match with Hidden Link UA or IP" ("Bot Activity Pattern" is available as a constraint in the open and click activities trigger and filters in the SL). Also, FYR - this is a different bot activity identification method than matching activities against the IAB.


@Sreekanth_Reddy, please feel free to add/update on my answer above. Thank you! 

Marketo Employee

A quick update! We have identified a couple of issues with the latest release. So we had to disable new methods temporarily for all customers. We are working on the fix and are hoping to enable it back at the earliest possible. Will continue to share updates

Level 2

Thank you @Sreekanth_Reddy  for sharing the details info.. I searched for "Bot Activity Pattern"..  🙂

Level 2

Thanks for the updates @Sreekanth_Reddy . I have been trying to make use of the Proximity Filter, but it seems that none of the suspicious clicks I see in Activity Logs occur within the 2 second parameter, so the filter isn't doing anything at the moment (unless the features are still not functioning as you noted on 5/18.)

Marketo Employee

@hpavlac It hasn't been active since the first week of the May release. You should have it from end of July.

Level 7

Following to learn if the bot clicks will be filtered out of the email performance reports? Or what is the recommendation around this?

Level 2

Hey @Sreekanth_Reddy  - is the Proximity filter now live? Thanks.