You may have noticed the option to view your data with or without suspect clicks in our Analytics section. Suspect clicks are any seemingly "unnatural" clicks that are likely the result of email security gateways.
What are email security gateways?
Email security gateways, email security systems, or email spam filters, are a few of the common terms for the services that organizations employ in order to scan their inbound email content for viruses and other IT security threats. Oftentimes these solutions consist of several technologies working together to enforce a set of rules around inbound email. One way in which this kind of software “scans” emails is by “clicking” on the links within the emails. And in some cases, they do a lot of clicking. So much so that each link in an email to one user could be clicked, for example, 5 times in within just a minute of receipt of that email.
What does this mean for interpreting my click data?
An important consideration to keep in mind is that, even though it might be tempting, filtering out what you think are suspect IP addresses and / or domains entirely from your email analytics reports could cause you to be throwing the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak. That is, you might be ignoring some real, natural click data as a result. Furthermore, the IP addresses associated with these spam filter clicks are always in flux and never published for certain. These providers want their services to continue to perform as under the radar as possible.
At rasa.io we recommend a few things to our customers in order to get a better grasp on what their reports are telling them.
- For one, pay more attention to unique rates over total rates, as the validity of total click rates is the greatest victim of these filters.
- Second, validate the click data on links to your own website content by looking at Google Analytics and other website analytics reports. Google Analytics likely will not register any corresponding traffic with these artificial clicks. However, you do need to be wary of discrepancies between analytics tools and email tool dashboard data: whereas your email service might have higher than normal numbers because of email security gateways, tools like Google Analytics often under report data due to a few factors, including opt out tools.
- Third, ask the right questions. Your email service providers will likely have some insight as to how they identify and treat this data.