Technical setup

What Is a Custom Tracking Domain, and Why Is It Important?

April 16, 2024
7 min.

Would you do email outreach with being able to track opens and clicks?

Probably not.

That’s why most ESPs offer these tracking options. They allow you to measure your outreach campaigns better.

But did you know that tracking these stats increases your chances of landing in the spam folder?

That is unless you use your own custom tracking domain.

But what exactly is a custom tracking domain?

We’ll explain what a CTD is and why it matters for your email outreach. ⬇️

What Is a Custom Tracking Domain ⁉️

To understand a CTD, you must understand what a tracking domain is.

Your ESP, the tool you use to send emails, uses a tracking domain to track opens and clicks.

That means it adds tracking pixels and links to your emails to monitor these engagement metrics.

The tracking URLs contain the ESP’s tracking domain. Your ESP owns this domain, and many of its customers use it.

Not all of their customers have a good sender reputation, and over the years the tracking domain’s reputation becomes tarnished due to other senders’ poor practices and actions.

If you use your ESP’s tracking domain, your emails may get marked as spam, which can result in significantly lower open rates.

The solution is to use your own custom tracking domain and then add it to your ESP account’s settings.

That way, your emails will be fully your own, and tracking clicks and opens won’t affect your deliverability.

Since any email marketing could result in (unjust) spam complaints, it’s best not to use your main domain as a tracking domain.

Instead, use a subdomain. This keeps the subdomain’s reputation separate from your main domain’s rep.

The subdomain will only be used for tracking purposes. It’s basically a redirect to the ESP’s tracking domain.

The way to set this up is through a CNAME DNS record.

You’re still creating a subdomain, but there isn’t going to be any website content on it.

After a subdomain is set up with your domain registrar or hosting company, you must add the CTD to your ESP account settings so that it can be used in your emails.

Conclusion 🔚

Doing email outreach with your ESP’s tracking domain in your emails leads to deliverability problems.

It’s the tracking domain most of their customers use, and they can all tarnish its reputation.

A custom tracking domain is essential here because it improves your deliverability, bringing you more ROI for your email outreach.

In short, a CTD is an essential part of your technical setup.


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