The rapid rise of marketing automation over the past couple of years has been a massive influence on how marketing is becoming more of a science than an art – certainly for email marketing anyway.
We can gain a frighteningly detailed view into what our supporters are doing, and from that we can direct them to highly-targeted content. It’s all pretty impressive.
But, as the sci-fi flicks of the 80s accurately predicted, the robots are taking over. In this case, the robot is a ‘clickbot’.
They are coming. And we need to be prepared.
All digital marketers, I am sure, measure success on our email analytics such as clicks and opens. But it seems that going forward this may no longer be reliable.
Why? The clickbot is to blame.
A lot of email security software now has the ability to check emails – and click the links within them – to see if they are safe before they are delivered to the recipient. The email’s status will be marked as ‘Clicked’ before the human recipient has even seen it.
What effect will this have? Well, click-through rates will soar, and your email analytics will be hard to trust to provide you with accurate insight.
As yet, it is unclear exactly how far the use of clickbots has spread, but what can we do now?
- Constant vigilance: keep an eye out for any sudden spikes in clicks-through rates
- Start to re-think how you measure the success of your comms programmes. If you can’t rely on the email stats themselves, you’ll have to pay closer attention to the other end of the journey – hits to the page to which you wanted to drive traffic, for example, and make sure your analysis ties-in with the dates of the email send.
- If you still want to track the email stats for success, you could change the winning criteria, maybe to opens.
Email marketing is ever changing.
The difficulty posed by clickbots is real, but we think the imminent risk is low .I am personally yet to see such interaction with a clickbot, but I’m ready for them! You should be too.