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If you’re like most digital marketers, email security bot are the bane of your life.

Those cheeky little chaps keep on opening your emails, clicking your links, completely throwing out your email marketing metrics, and (if you’re using clever marketing automation software like ours), messing with your lead scores and sending customers and prospects on automated journeys and email drip sequences that were meant to be triggered by the activities of humans, not our robotic counterparts.

In years past, security Bots and Firewalls were a problem that mostly affected marketers working in the healthcare and financial services industries. However with recent Gmail and Barracuda updates, false reporting is becoming more prevalent’ and we’ve even heard reports of Gmail triggering open events for >50% of their emails as they scan and categorise the emails before passing them on to the intended recipient.

So what’s the solution to email bots?

Well, first it’s important to bear in mind that these bots aren’t the bad guys.  Annoying, yes, but not malicious.  They’re just trying to keep the web safe, unlike their evil cousins, spam bots. So it’s not a case of beating them, more a case of working alongside them (and ignoring them if you can).

Now, some marketers have been inserting stealth links in their emails.  It’s a solution we were recommending to our clients until not too long ago (before we came up with a new solution – more on that later!).  A stealth link doesn’t have to be that stealthy.  In fact, hiding links from bots is a bad idea as it suggests you’re up to no good, and it’s more likely to get your email spammed. 

We always recommended going beige, rather than invisible. Insert a link in your email so boring that no human in their right might would click it (we found privacy polices work really well – we even have a name for them.  Bot bait!).  Anyone clicking that link is probably a bot, so you can discount subsequent clicks in that session.

Trouble with this approach is A. some people actually do like to read the privacy policy, and B. you risk discounting genuine clicks that have taken place after the bot bait has been clicked, so it’s far from ideal.

Another approach is to discount opens and clicks from certain IPs, however, as Hubspot found out, this approach doesn’t really work that well either, as the ESP and security providers are constantly changing their IPs, and guess what – they don’t advertise them to the real world!

We have had a solution to bots in email for a while now. It was an IP based approach that worked fine but had some flaws. As we have dug into this problem it has become clear that increases in bot activity is an issue felt not just by HubSpot, but the entire email industry. 

jaleonard19 
HubSpot Product Team

So what’s our solution to email bots?

Well, the team at Kulea HQ has put their heads together, and created our new Bot Buster technology.  The Bot Buster acts as an optional filter than not only identifies suspicious bot activity based on behaviour and email response times, but also allows you to remove that behaviour from your reports and marketing automation workflows.

The solution is boiled down to a simple check box.  Would you like to have the Bot Buster on or off?

If off, you’ll see higher open and click rates, as the result of bot activity

If on, you’ll get lower open and click rates, but more accurate campaign reporting and effective automation.

Guess which we recommend ;)

Check out our Bot Buster beta demo below, and drop us a line if bots are plaguing your email campaigns.

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