What is a email bot open/click and how can I identify when they inspect your email?
Spam bots, firewalls, and filters are email-scanning programs and scripts running on top of email servers. They’re specifically designed to scan inbound emails and email attachments for potential threats, including malware, phishing, clickjacking, scam, spoofed emails or spammy content.
That security software will open the email and, typically, engage with some (if not all) of the corresponding links in that email, following them through the redirect. These actions simulate real user engagement potentially causing false opens and clicks data to be recorded.
E-mail scanners are, in fact, ‘good bots’. Their main purpose is to protect users from unsafe content. In fact, every email marketer who has sent an email campaign has probably been affected by bots. And bots are tricky for email marketers because the email engagement events (opens and clicks) they generate can get recorded alongside legitimate ones. This leads to email campaign statistic inflation as well as automation being tripped based on these false events.
Something you can test with is adding a link to the bottom of an email that goes to a random page on your site that is hidden (so the text would be the same color as the background.) If that link gets clicked then it is a security bot. You could then trigger a link automation to add a tag to easily identify these contacts or even reduce their contact score. Identifying and filtering email bot clicks
To add a filter to identify these bot activities
Click "Edit Template"
scroll to the bottom of your email and add a text section.
Type in URL to a random page on your site.
Highlight the URL and click icon to add it as a link.
Type in the URL | click OK
Click icon to change text color to white (or matching background color) | Click Done
Click "Continue" button to save your changes.
Go to Link Automations tab
Add a step to link to add a tag when clicked
Trigger a Tag Score Sequence to reduce contact score.
Other ways of identifying a bot open/click from a contact record.
Clicking every single link in an email.
Clicking two links less than 100ms apart.
Clicking an email immediately after it's delivered.
Clicking an email before it's marked as opened.
Clicking an email after it's marked as bounced.