Creating a Custom Tracking Subdomain Helps Your Apollo Emails Avoid SPAM Filters, Improving Deliverability
What Is It?
A tracking subdomain is a new domain name (i.e. Google.com) associated with the same sever as your domain name (i.e. yourwebsitename.com) that is used to avoid SPAM filters and get more of your emails successfully delivered.
Below are a couple easy steps to
- Create a new subdomain - anything.yourdomain.com - with your DNS provider (whichever company you bought your domain from).
- And, connect it to Apollo's default tracking URL, which we provide in this article.
- Then, we'll direct you to add this domain to the "Tracking Subdomains" Settings page in Apollo. And, you're done!
Why Do It?
Apollo (and all email open and click tracking services) uses an invisible URL to track open, click, and unsubscribe email stats. Having that invisible URL associated with the same domain name or brand you're sending emails from helps avoid SPAM filters and ensures more of your emails will make it to your recipients' inboxes. The tracking subdomain is used for:
- Open Tracking
- Click Tracking, if you have it turned on
- Unsubscribe links, if you have them turned on
Note: Tracking links utilizing your custom subdomain do not expire (unless you get rid of the domain)
How To Do It
1. Any admin with access to your domain management (aka DNS zone files or resource records) account first needs to log in to that account and create a CName record. This might sound intimidating, but it's a very simple process. Here's exactly what you'll need for each required field:
|DNS Record Type||Host (or "Host Name" or "Name")||Value (or "Data" or "Points To")||TTL|
|CName||emailtracking||www.aptracking1.com||leave as default|
- The Host field, which may also be labeled Name or Host Name depending on your domain provider, must be text only, no spaces and should NOT include a "."
- Whatever you put in this field will become the "subdomain" piece that comes before ".yourdomain.com" of the URL that you're creating (subdomain.yourdomain.com)
- Use "emailtracking" for this field if you don't have another term in mind
- Don't include apollo in this field
- The Value field will not be a visible part of the subdomain you're creating, but it establishes the connection between our tracking servers and your subdomain
- This must be www.aptracking1.com
- TTL is a technical term referring to how often your subdomain info will be rechecked by relevant servers - you can leave this as whatever value your domain provider uses by default
Here's an example of our own team creating the CName record in our own domain provider account, Amazon Web Services:
Every domain provider has a different domain management interface, so it's highly recommended that you visit their online knowledgbase and simply search for "add CName" or "create CName" to find instructions on exactly where to go in your domain account to create these records.
Important: Once you create and save your CName record, it does typically take 2-24 hours for it to take full effect (to "fully propagate", technically speaking), so complete step 2 below, but know that your custom tracking subdomain will be fully operational the following day (at the latest).
2. Navigate to Settings > Tracking Subdomains in the left main menu of your Apollo App
3. Click +Add URL in the upper-right corner:
4. Enter the subdomain you just created in the field in the popup and click "+Add Subdomain"
5. If you have correctly set up your CName record, you'll see your subdomain added to the settings page with a green HEALTHY badge on the right side and you're good to go:
There will be no obvious visible change when this process is complete, but from then-on, your Apollo emails' open, click, and unsubscribe tracking will be incremented via your custom tracking subdomain rather than our default tracking URL, which will further ensure your emails are NOT caught by SPAM filters.
- If you have not correctly set up your CName record, you'll get this error message, and you'll need to check your spelling (it counts!) and/or return to your domain management account to confirm you filled the required fields exactly as instructed above and successfully saved the record - be sure to contact your domain provider's support if you've entered the values exactly as instructed above and you're still getting the error:
- Similarly, if you come to this settings page and see a red UNHEALTHY badge to the right of your subdomain, it means your CName record has been deleted or deactivated with your domain provider and will need to be fixed or re-created on their end
How and Why to Add Multiple Custom Tracking Subdomains and/or Deactivate Them
You can repeat the steps above to add as many custom tracking subdomains as you like. Only the subdomain marked as the DEFAULT will be in use, and you cannot have more than one subdomain in use/set as the default at a time:
Once you've added any tracking subdomains, you'll see a small options menu on the far right side of where they're listed in your settings page:
- Click Deactivate to remove any subdomains you no longer want to use from your settings list
- Click Make Default to change the subdomain that's in-use to the one you've just selected
- Click Check Stats to get a popup showing key stats on how emails sent using that particular custom tracking subdomain are performing:
We'll always show stats reflecting "Last Week" and "Last Month" rather than "This Week" and "This Month", since it's very likely that you'll have contacts who don't open your emails right when you send them but will open them later in the week/month.
If you see a dramatic decrease in your open rate or increase in your Spamblock rate at any time, it's likely that the subdomain in use has started to get caught by SPAM filters at a higher rate, and switching to a new tracking subdomain will likely improve your deliverability. At that point, it's a good idea to create a new subdomain, set it to the default, and deactivate the one that is experiencing a drop in performance.