My friend Jake from SBI found something strange. The unique click rate of one of his recent email campaigns was as high as 18%. For those who are familiar with email marketing, the click rate is usually around 1%. So a 18% is very unusual. He also discovered that most of the clicks occurred within 5 minutes after sending.
Definitely something was wrong. Further investigation revealed that all the clicks are from the same institute.
It actually happened to myself too 3 years ago. What has happened is that, the recipients’ email server decided to check the link(s) and maybe images in the email. The email server might do this to prevent malicious links. That’s why sometimes you see a warning of unsafe link in your own email. To our knowledge, it happens only occasionally. Usually, if you find a large number of clicks or unsubscriptions in a short amount of time from the same mail server, it’s probably the email server who did the clicks. So far we have found two domains did this, jhmi.edu and yahoo.com. We have not found gmail doing this.
What can we do then? I think we need to send slowly when sending to a single institute. Guess what an email server will do when it suddenly receives 100 identical (or similar) emails from the same address in 1 minute? It will treat these emails as spam or at least unimportant. Depending on its mood, it may check the links, may put your email to the spam folder, or even simply drop your email.
Please check out our study on how sending slowly will increase the click rate.