1. Cold Email Guide
  2. Technical Setup for Cold Emails

Use a custom tracking domain

A custom tracking domain lets you track email opens and clicks while mitigating the potential decrease in deliverability.

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Robust cold email tools allow you to track your emails using a custom tracking domain. It lets you use your domain or subdomain to track the open rate and link clicks, as opposed to a shared domain used by multiple users of the same tool.

How a custom tracking domain works

When you enable a custom tracking domain, tracking email opens and link clicks happens using the custom domain you own instead of a domain managed by the cold email tool.

Hunter Campaigns user interface for implementing a custom tracking domain

So when you enable tracking for a campaign, the tracking pixels added to your emails are hosted on your own domain, and all links in your messages go through a redirect set up on the custom domain.

A redirect trace showing a cold email link click tracked using a custom tracking domain

As a result, your emails won’t contain links or resources hosted on domains different than yours.

How a custom tracking domain helps your email outreach

A custom tracking domain has two benefits: it protects your deliverability and makes your emails look more natural to your recipients.

A custom tracking domain protects your deliverability

When email spam filters analyze incoming emails, they may analyze the URLs in the message. They check the reputation of the domains for all URLs used in the message, as well as the domain on which your tracking pixel is hosted.

It's because a spammy domain linked in the contents of an email is a good indicator that the email itself is spammy.

When you’re using a default domain provided by your cold email tool, you lose control over the reputation of that domain, and if other users of the tool ruin its reputation, your deliverability will suffer together with theirs.

On the other hand, if you can use your own domain to host tracking pixels and redirect links to track clicks, you’re in control of its reputation.

While at Hunter, our default tracking domains maintain a good sender reputation and aren’t listed on any email blocklists, other tools may not be so rigorous. In any case, using your own tracking domain removes the risk of a rogue sender using the same cold email tool to damage your deliverability.

A custom tracking domain makes your emails look more natural

If you use a custom tracking domain, your recipients will never see any links to third-party websites within your emails.

This makes them more likely to trust you because people typically look at the domain you’re sending your emails from – sometimes even subconsciously. It helps them to understand who you are and where you’re coming from.

When all resources and URLs within your message are hosted on a domain that looks legitimate in the context of your email, there’s less reason for your recipients to distrust you.

How to start using a custom tracking domain

We have a help page to guide you through implementing a custom tracking domain if you're using Hunter Campaigns to send your cold emails.

You’ll need:

  • A custom domain you’ll use for tracking purposes,
  • Access to the domain’s DNS settings.
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