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Filter out possible Phantom / Spam Clicks from Click Email Events

Are Click Dimensions planning anything to help prevent the logging of phantom clicks on e-shots? We frequently see reports of recipients who have apparently clicked every single link in our e-shots, we know this is highly unlikely and that instead these are phantom clicks created by the recipient's spam filter virtually checking each link is safe for the recipient.

One idea I had would be to add an 'invisible' link to the e-shot, one that is highly unlikely to be clicked by a human reader, but would still be picked up and checked by the spam filter bot.
We could then filter out the recipients who had clicked-through to that invisible link on our click report.

This would be a manual process though, and isn't ideal. Can Click Dimensions work on a way to identify these 'phantom clicks' better, and maybe flag them as possible spam clicks?

  • Michelle Moore
  • Nov 3 2021
  • Planned
  • Attach files
  • Laurence Rose commented
    18 Aug, 2023 02:51pm

    This has been making me nuts for years! Our stats are complete trash, and we don't dare create Campaign Automations since erroneous and potentially embarrassing actions will be performed.

    I don't understand how Adjusted Opens was introduced, but not a solution for this.

    I had originally planned to create a work-around based by introducing my own rollup fields which would only include clicks where the Email Event Created On was more than 20 seconds after Sent On. Not a perfect solution since the timing might vary, but would certainly get me closer to a true number. ...but then I realized that Created On is the date stamp for when the record is created in CRM, and not the actual time of the Click. I could use the Time field on the Email Event record, but this is a text field and it would be more complicated to have to convert it to a date/time first.

    I'll try the pixel idea instead.

    (I think this also has the potential to finally prove something I've been reporting on for YEARS, where we receive Unsubscribe records for Contacts who insist that they didn't Globally Unsubscribe)

  • Guest commented
    17 Aug, 2023 02:48am

    Hi Michelle, We do the same thing with the 1 x 1 pixel image. I have just requested a feature that I would love your support on by upvoting it.

    I asked that they add the ability to increase/decrease a score based off of specific page views. We could then create a scoring model that decreases a score based on a page view of the "bot catcher" page.
    AS a side benefit, we would be able to also value other pages we create as more or less valuable than "any ol' visit".

  • Michelle Moore commented
    20 Jul, 2022 12:23pm

    As a work-around while we wait for Click Dimensions to implement this feature, we have added a small 1 pixel transparent image to our email template which links to a landing page with just some basic company info on it. It's nearly impossible that any click to that landing page would be made by a human, so we can now assume that anyone who has clicked that link actually hasn't and it was instead their email spam filter 'checking' the links.

    It's a bit of a manual task but if they have clicked that link then any other links they have recorded on that Email Send are going to be pretty unreliable and should be ranked as less reliable.

    It would be fairly simple for Click Dimensions to implement something similar and grade the Email Event clicks accordingly.

  • Kevin Beale commented
    4 Nov, 2021 01:38pm

    Love this idea of filtering them out - this is needed. Pardot can filter out IP ranges and has pre-built ranges for some of the well known phantom click sources, but it's been falling apart lately with some of the newer platforms/mechanisms in play. ClickDimensions has the filter functionality for web visits, but to my knowledge does not work with email clicks at all.