Knowledge Base      

What should I do about clicks to nonexistent links?

When you create tracking links in your ClickMagick account, you need to provide a “link slug” to distinguish one tracking link from another. For example:


Those links are perfectly valid, provided that you’ve created the “dog-treats” and “cat-treats” links in your account.

But what if you mistyped your link when entering it on a web page or in an online ad? For example, what if you set up a Facebook ad and forgot to include the dash “-” in the link slug:

Since you haven’t created a link with a link slug named “dogtreats”, that link would be nonexistent—and therefore invalid—so any clicks from your Facebook ad would go to a nonexistent link. And because ClickMagick doesn’t know which link to send these clicks to, they’re effectively wasted…

If you get too many wasted clicks over a 24-hour period, ClickMagick will send you an automated email message alerting you to the problem along with information to help you track down the source of the clicks.
Tip: By default, if a visitor clicks on a bad link in your account, ClickMagick will show an error page. You can change this behavior by setting up an Error URL in your Account Settings. If you set up a Error URL, instead of showing an error page when a visitor clicks on a bad link, the visitor will be redirected to the Error URL so that something productive can be done. You can also set a separate Error URL for each of your custom domains.

Typos & Bad Links

Probably the most common reason for getting clicks to links that don’t exist is that either you or someone else is sending traffic to your ClickMagick account with a link slug that doesn’t exist, usually due to a typo.

This is normally easy to spot – and fix – because the link slugs in the alert email you’ll receive will look very similar to your actual slugs, usually with just one or two characters being wrong.

Old Links You’ve Deleted

The next most common reason is that you’re still getting traffic to a link that you’ve deleted.

If it’s just a few clicks here and there you may not care about this, but if it’s a meaningful number of clicks you may want to re-create the link to capture those clicks and track down the source and update the link that traffic is being sent to and point it to a different tracking link in your account.

Creating Your Ads or Web Pages Before You Create Your Links

Some people are more in the habit of creating their ads or web pages first, making up tracking links as they go, and creating their tracking links afterwards.

There’s nothing wrong with that approach, but it can generate clicks to invalid tracking links and cause ClickMagick to send out the automated email.

The reason for this is pretty simple…

When you click on the Save button of an Ad Manager or Page Builder, it’s pretty common for them to test any links you’ve used to verify they don’t generate a 404 Page Not Found error. If you save your ad or web page a half dozen times while creating it, that can generate enough “test” clicks to tracking links that you haven’t created yet to cause ClickMagick to send you the “wasted click” email.

If you’re getting notification emails for this reason, you can safely ignore them.
Tip: If you’re in the habit of creating your ads or web pages before you create the tracking links you’re using with them, you can change the number of “wasted” clicks that ClickMagick will process before it sends you the automated email. Go to the Monitoring section of your Account Settings and set the notification value to a higher number. From there, you can even turn off link monitoring entirely if you want to.

Automated “bots”

Another reason you might get the automated email is that a “bot” program might be testing different link slugs on the end of your tracking domain. This is particularly true if you’re using a custom domain.

You’ll know if a “bot” is trying to guess links on a web page because the link slugs you see in the email you receive will be nothing like the link slugs you would normally create.

But keep in mind, bots will also “click” on real links on your web pages and if those links are bad—normally because you’ve deleted them from your account—you will get an email alert. You’ll know that these warnings are serious because the link slugs should look familiar to you.

You’ll definitely want to track down and fix any links that look familiar but aren’t valid...
Note: It’s estimated that more than half of all clicks generated on the Internet are from automated botnets. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s important to keep in mind whenever you’re trying to figure out where unknown clicks are coming from.

Article 219 Last updated: 06/13/2020 1:20:48 PM