If you know what you're doing, this will take you approximately 44 seconds to set it up.
However, if you're new to all of this, no need to worry.
This article will show you, in a step-by-step fashion, how to fire up one simple thing that has an enormous impact on your email deliverability.
What is a tracking domain?
A tracking domain is a URL used in analytics to track email opens and link clicks in your outreach campaigns.
Its job is to collect these data points in a safe way, without compromising your email deliverability.
Why is custom domain tracking important?
When you're sending cold emails, you want to know how many people opened, clicked, and replied to your email. By analyzing these metrics, you're able to identify which email campaigns are working and which aren't.
To show these stats, email automation tools insert tracking pixels and change URLs in their system.
For example, they add a small 1x1 pixel that triggers every time this email gets opened.
Believe it or not, most of the emails in your inbox have that pixel. You can check it by opening “Show original” mode in Gmail:
Find “img” tag with this parameter height=3D”1" width=3D”1. It's usually at the bottom of the script:
All these have an impact on your email deliverability and whether your prospects will actually see your emails or not.
How does a custom tracking domain impact deliverability?
Tracking pixel affects your deliverability in two ways. As a result, they put you in some serious spam danger:
the URL for links and pixels don't match your email sender domain
Say your domain is donuts.com and you use lemlist as your cold email tool.
For Google, it's not clear why you have your own custom domain, but then send emails with a custom domain like "lemlist.com". In other words, they should be the same.
In a minute, I'll show you how to set that up real quick in lemlist.
default tracking domains are shared among many users
Your email deliverability is also affected by other senders who use default tracking. Typically, email automation tools have thousands of users that are grouped across the same domains.
To simplify things, say 10 users are divided into groups of 2 across five domains. So you and I end up sharing a domain. But imagine I'm a spammer who overuses the tool and doesn't follow the rules of the game.
Google starts associating every link I send with spam, thus affecting the reputation of my domain. My domain is also your domain, so you suffer too. Lower deliverability and the never-ending battle with spam for both of us.
Of course, the best email automation tools are controlling these things and don't let people be spammers.
For example, lemlist has a rigorous way of isolating spammers, while our sending algorithm itself doesn't allow spammers to overuse the tool and send blasts.
However, you should do yourself this favor. Customize tracking links and pixels by setting up your custom tracking domain.
Put it this way, if you're earning enough money to live on your own, why would you want to have a roommate?
On top of that, if you customize tracking links and pixels that are included in your emails, it'll be an additional "➕" to your sender score and it'll improve your deliverability too.
lemlist will check your DNS records and make sure everything looks good.
It takes up to 72 hours before your DNS record get distributed around the Internet.
In the meantime, you can also check with host support if they see in their backend any issuess as lemlist can't check their backend.
Step #4: Test your new domain
Once you've finished the setup, you can double-check if everything works smoothly.
[ ] Go to your browser
[ ] Copy-paste your domain
[ ] Check if it displays the message below:
If yes - you're good to go!
If not - there's an issue in your configuration and your tracking domain won't work.
We advise you to repeat setup with your dev team, following our tutorials, or the video below:
P.S. It's not possible to use the same custom tracking domain in separated teams for security reasons. If not set under the "Team" section - which will be used by the whole team, you can't set the same custom tracking domain under the "User" section!
Here's what to do to create as many different Cnames as teams you have:
You probably created the actual one using the subdomain "trail" to make your CTD look like trail.yourdomain.com. So now, you can follow the creation process of a new CNAME again, but simply use another subdomain. It could be "lemtrail", "route", "blabla", etc.
We've written a lot about deliverability in our previous articles. Therefore, it's always better to go through the important stuff again: