NHI Clicks User Guide

What are non-human clicks and why should we track them?

Many recipients are reading your emails on devices or corporate networks protected by anti-malware software, enterprise security and monitoring software, browser extensions, or antivirus firewalls. When these subscribers receive an email or interact by clicking on a link, these protective systems will investigate the email and at times click on some - or all, in extreme cases - the links in your email.

Not all customers nor all messages are impacted, but more extreme cases can result in inflating your total clicks number by up to 10 times.

Protecting people from malware and bad actors is an important job, but email senders can find that their email reporting data is significantly affected by these systems, compromising their ability to interpret results and make business decisions.

How we identify and classify non-human clicks

The systems responsible for non-human clicks are varied and by design difficult to identify. However, we have managed to observe a number of patterns that help us detect the behavior of non-human clicks in your emails. Using the power of our network, combined with the data we can obtain from the agent clicking, our proprietary algorithm allows us to identify, manage, and classify clicks that are likely to have come from software (i.e. not a human).

There are two key points about non-human traffic detection: 

  1. Detection is an art, not a science - and is a 'best-effort approach,' as a result. 
    • Sources of non-human traffic are always evolving, so the detection algorithms are always learning and adapting to improve accuracy over time
    • Even though accuracy does improve over time, it will only apply to new traffic it encounters.
  2. The algorithms are made for real-time detection and are not reliable for historical click tracking. 
    • Analysis happens as traffic comes through and won't track retroactively to re-classify past data. 
    • Historical trends and patterns that use non-human traffic may not be detected. 

Impact of NHI on messaging performance

Real and NHI clicks will be detected on every email message sent from December 8, 2023 forward with reporting visibility available on both Email Summary and Engage by Sailthru's Business Intelligence (BI).  Connect (Event Stream and Data Exporter) will begin reporting Real and NHI click data starting January 18, 2024 forward.

Email Summary 

Will have both Total and Unique click counts and clickthrough rate (CTR) metrics that can be selected as a headline metric and in the table view.  Click here for metric definitions and calculations.

Business Intelligence 

Real and NHI click event data will be available for reporting using any of the following data sources. Click here for event definitions in the data sources and here for the calculations.

Data sources

  • Email and List Stats
  • Campaign Stats by Domain and Engagement
  • Campaign Stats by Signup Month
  • Campaign Stats by Device
  • Campaign Stats
  • Campaign Stats by URL
  • Campaign Label Stats
  • Email Stats
  • All Profile Stats data sources


Event Stream and Data Exporter, will have a new field column "is_real_click" that will display next to each click event indicating whether or not that click was Real = true or NHI = false.  Click on Event Stream or Data Exporter for additional details on the new click field. 


Contact us