Don’t Let Bots Dirty Your Data

In many ways, robots are one of the foundations of modern luxury and comfort. From heavy industrial manufacturing to something as commonplace as vacuuming our homes, robots have been incorporated into nearly every facet of our lives. Despite their general utility, robots do pose a particular problem for email marketers. Bot traffic clogs up our databases and can interfere with the expected actions of our own attempts at harnessing the power of automation using the Adobe Marketo Engage platform.

Automated Interference

B2B marketing frequently runs into a problem where email service providers “test” links in emails as part of their efforts to categorize spam. Out of the box, Marketo lacks the ability to automatically tell the difference between an ESP testing links and a human click. Without the ability to properly discern actual, actionable clicks, your records can end up improperly triggering the actions you have spent so long planning and building in your Marketo Engage instance. 

One of the most obvious impacts occurs in the realm of scoring. Since scoring is one of the most impactful connections between Marketing and Sales, keeping everyone’s trust in the system is paramount. The false positives from the spam testing performed by email service providers could push more records into a MQL status which could in turn increase the amount of records Sales team members reject as not actually qualified. Similarly, email alerts and interesting moments generated by click throughs could be negatively impacted by common bot behavior.

Automated Protection

Marketo Engage has an option to enable bot activity filtering. However, this option is not activated by default. As a Marketo administrator, it falls on you to toggle this useful feature on. If you find yourself inheriting an old instance, we would always advise you to take a look to see if the feature is enabled, and immediately turn it on if it is not. 

Adobe recently released an update to the bot activity filter. Marketo Engage now allows two different kinds of filtering behaviors. You can either use the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) bot list or use proximity matching. Proximity matching identifies when two activities, such as two clicked links, are taken in under two seconds and considers that proof of bot activity. We recommend turning on IAB filtering in nearly all cases. Proximity matching is more aggressive in its filtering. Therefore, we typically recommend only activating proximity matching if bot activity continues to be a problem after you enable filtering by the IAB list. 

When using the IAB list, you are able to completely filter any bot activity identified by the list from being recorded by Marketo at all, but be prepared to see possible declines in your open and click rates in your reporting. Either method allows you to have Marketo log the noted bot activity in lead records. If you keep the activity logged, you can use smart filters and their constraints to filter out the bot activity from your intended audience. 

Human Intelligence Beyond the Automation

Leadous has years of experience dealing with bot activity and its deleterious impact on the Marketo Engage Platform. We would be happy to explain to you in greater detail why you should care about and how you can mitigate the problems that bot activity can introduce. While we are certainly happy that Adobe now includes native support for identifying bot activity, we have actually been helping our clients deal with it for longer than that feature has been available. If you find yourself in a place where the automated filtering still does not bring your bot activity in line, you can trust Leadous to provide you with other options and solutions.

Reach out to see what Leadous and our team can do for you.