Why do I get inflated clicks when sharing on social media or by email?

When sharing links, particularly on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram, or via email marketing, the click figures appearing on links can be higher than you expect.

The reason for this is because social networks/email clients (and their respective mobile apps) will automatically open links to check for spam and generate previews.

These non-human visitors are often referred to as robots.

Linkly records all traffic, both human and otherwise, and lets you decide how you want to handle it.

Identifying Robot Traffic

In Linkly’s traffic reports, click the Robots tab in the panel below at the bottom:

The 'robots' tab in the traffic reports
The 'robots' tab in the traffic reports

For this particular link, you can see that only about 32% was identified as human, and all the rest were robots.

Filtering robot traffic out of reports

  1. Enter the traffic reports, by click Traffic on the left-hand sidebar, or Report from a link.
  2. At the top of the page, click the Filter Robots button:
Filter robots
Filter robots

Filter robots with the filter enabled

Blocking Robots

Linkly can block robots from opening your links.

Be careful with this setting. If social networks cannot open your link, they may automatically mark it as spam.

  1. Create a new link by clicking Create New Link from the sidebar and filling in a destination.
  2. Under Block bots & spiders, set the switch to on:
Blocking robots
Blocking robots

Robots that visit your link see a 404 Not Found message.

Appendix: How Linkly detects Bots

Linkly has two principal mechanisms for detecting robot traffic:

  • Some bots announce themselves as such (such as Googlebot or FacebookExternalHit). These are easy to identify.
  • For bots that do not announce themselves, we see if the IP address of the visitor belongs to a cloud provider like Amazon or Microsoft. These are server farms and generally traffic from here tends to be automated.

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