How Bots Could Be Affecting Your Unsubscribe Rates

3 minute read

Team PostUp

Improving your click rate from 20% to 50% overnight is amazing…until you realize that the clicks are not real, and in fact are security appliances, sometimes referred to as “bots.”

More and more companies are adopting these sophisticated security appliances, which is making it hard on the email marketer. Security appliances are designed to assess potential threats by “clicking” links in emails to determine if they link to malware or phishing sites.

While the intent is good, these security appliances are having a detrimental effect on your email marketing program. Not only are they inflating your engagement rates, but they are also shrinking your email list. Growing your email lists is the number one goal of all email marketing programs and often times where you spend the most resources. Let’s make sure you protect your hard day’s work!

PostUp has found that up to 10% of email addresses on our clients’ lists are behind security appliances.  That is why PostUp continues to develop ways to reliably detect and address security appliances. PostUp uses invisible links to identify, flag, and track email domains protected by security appliances.

However, email security appliances are continuously advancing and improving. In the past, these appliances were designed to click on the first few links of a received email, but today’s more sophisticated appliances will click randomly throughout a received email. This means they can click on the unsubscribe link. When this happens, your email subscriber is removed from your list even though he or she had no intention of doing so.

Reducing Unsubscribes with a Preference Center

PostUp advises taking an additional step to protect your investment. A preference center is a great solution to protect yourself against unwanted unsubscribes, which is why we recommend that all of your unsubscribe links point to a preference center. The preference center will then present the choices available to your subscriber. If the click is a true subscriber, then he or she will make selections on your preference center and save the selections. However, if the click is from a security appliance, then no next action will be taken, and the unsubscribe will not be saved. The end result is that your subscriber will remain on your email list.

By leveraging a preference center, you can be assured that a subscriber will only unsubscribe if he or she is actively taking steps to do so. A security appliance will still be able to automatically click on your unsubscribe link, but it will not be able to take action on a preference center.

For more information on how to direct your subscribers to a preference center or how to create a new preference center please contact your Account Executive or PostUp at

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