Protecting Your Email Stats from Bot Activity with Metrics Guard for Email

Internet security is always evolving. As attack methods change, so do defense mechanisms. A few years ago, we saw a new development in email security. Some inbox providers started employing scanners that would click every link in an email to test its source. This is good news for email security — less risk in your inbox! — but terrible news for digital marketers, who saw click rates suddenly skyrocket to impossible percentages over 100% and watched unengaged prospects with lots of automated “scanner clicks” get passed along to confused and frustrated sales teams.

At first, these scanners were mostly coming from the same few IPs. So in the December 2018 Pardot release, we identified consistent email scanner IPs and packaged them as visitor filters out-of-the-box for all Pardot customers. But the problem didn’t go away. As this practice of protecting email recipients from malicious links gained popularity, we saw a proliferation of scanners on cloud hosts.

Now, a cloud host is tricky. When the activity’s IP can only be tracked to AWS or another public cloud provider, we can’t simply add that IP to a blocklist. Will clicks from cloud IPs always be scanners, or will they sometimes be customers? Will they be scanners this month and customers next month? Unlike IPs we can easily identify as belonging to security providers, we couldn’t just filter out all activity from public cloud IPs that sometimes acted like a security scanner.

But we can filter out activity from an IP when it is acting like a security scanner. So that’s exactly what we did.

We built Metrics Guard for Email to watch for activity that isn’t really part of your hard-earned metrics. This brand-new service monitors email clicks and opens to identify patterns that are clearly bot-based, and it keeps those activities out of Pardot entirely. In its first week, Metrics Guard for Email kept 2 million scanner clicks from inflating our marketers’ metrics and triggering actions that shouldn’t have happened.

The best part of this service is that it’s totally hands-off for you — no activation is required! Since early November, Metrics Guard for Email has been working behind the scenes to keep your engagement data clean so that your click metrics are accurate and only truly engaged prospects become qualified.

So send away, knowing that Metrics Guard for Email is serving engagement metrics you can trust.

Check out how to use email metrics to make data-driven decisions.