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What’s custom tracking domain ? Why it matters ?

damien ceo mailreach
David Chastanet
Email Deliverability Expert

A custom tracking domain (CTD) is directly associated with your email deliverability. Details about its importance and benefits !


A custom tracking domain is exclusively associated with your email deliverability. It involves having a customized tracking domain

Specifically tailored to our business needs, a custom tracking domain (CTD) functions as a personalized web address intricately woven into our email communication infrastructure. Unlike generic tracking domains, which lack the precision necessary for effective email delivery, a CTD is specifically made to navigate the pathways of digital communication, steering our messages directly into the inbox of our recipients. 

What’s the key benefit of a custom tracking domain ? How to use it ? How to set up your Custom Tracking Domain ? More details coming !

Understanding Custom Tracking Domains

In simple terms, a custom tracking domain (CTD) is a specialized setup primarily used for email delivery purposes. For businesses, it involves setting up a unique tracking domain that is tailored specifically to their organization

The core objective behind employing a CTD is to enhance the deliverability of emails, ensuring they reach the recipients' inboxes directly, rather than being routed through generic tracking domains. 

By customizing the tracking domain, businesses can establish a distinct digital identity for their email communications, helping to bypass potential spam filters and other obstacles that may impact their delivery. 

Now, let's distinguish between custom tracking domains and default tracking domains. When you employ an email automation tool for your marketing campaigns, by default, your emails contain a tracking pixel or URL embedded within the HTML body. This tracking mechanism enables you to track metrics like open rates and click-through rates, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of your campaigns. 

However, the default tracking code is usually associated with a generic domain or URL provided by the platform, lacking the personalized touch and brand consistency offered by a custom tracking domain.

What is the importance of Custom Tracking Domains ?

The importance of Custom Tracking Domains lies in their ability to significantly improve email deliverability.

When you rely on default tracking domains provided by your email automation tool, you share the same tracking domain with numerous other users of the same platform. This shared domain association can lead to potential issues with deliverability and sender reputation.

Without setting up your own custom tracking domain, your emails become linked to all the other customers of your email automation tool who have not configured their own custom tracking domains. This means that if your tracking domain is shared with potential spammers or individuals engaging in dubious practices, your emails could inadvertently be flagged as spam. In essence, you risk being penalized due to the actions of others, with your emails going to spam

Setting up a custom tracking domain allows you to distance yourself from such risks. By using your own branded tracking domain, you establish a unique identity for your email communications, separate from the potentially detrimental associations of shared default tracking domains. This enhances the deliverability of your emails but also protects your sender reputation.

Fortunately, most email automation services offer the option to set up custom tracking domains, albeit sometimes under different names such as link branding or branded links. Regardless of the terminology used, the underlying principle remains the same : establishing a personalized tracking domain is crucial for optimizing email performance and safeguarding your reputation in the digital landscape.

How to set up your Custom Tracking Domain ?

Choosing the right domain

When selecting the appropriate domain for your Custom Tracking Domain configuration, you need to align it precisely with the domain used for sending emails

This ensures a seamless integration between your tracking domain and your email infrastructure. For instance, if your emails are dispatched from the domain, then should unequivocally serve as your tracking domain. 

This coherence is key to foster trust with spam filters, as it signifies a legitimate sender identity. You will establish a solid foundation for enhancing deliverability, as your tracking domain mirrors the domain from which your emails originate. 

Here is the main information that you need to keep in mind : you can maximize your email deliverability by maintaining alignment between your sender domain and your tracking domain !

Technical setup for Custom Tracking Domains

When it comes to the technical setup for Custom Tracking Domains, there are a few key steps involved, including adding a CNAME record in your DNS settings and verifying your custom tracking domain. You will need to use the email sending domain, thereby creating a subdomain on the domain responsible for email dispatch.

Establishing a subdomain on a domain with a positive sending reputation is advantageous as it inherits the credibility and trust associated with the parent domain. This can contribute positively to the deliverability of your emails, as spam filters often prioritize domains with a history of responsible and reputable email sending practices. However, you need to remain cautious when creating a subdomain on a domain with a poor sending reputation, because the subdomain may inherit the negative reputation of the parent domain, potentially leading to email deliverability issues. 

For example, you might create a subdomain like "" or "". If you don't have access to a suitable existing domain or if you're unable to modify the DNS settings for your current domain, you can register a new domain specifically for tracking purposes.

Here's a step-by-step guide to set up a custom tracking domain : 

Use your current domain name registrar : The first step is to use your current domain name registrar, the one housing the domain used for sending emails. Avoid selecting a different domain name registrar. Instead, leverage the existing one, as you'll be using the domain responsible for email dispatch (this domain already exists).

Select a domain name for your tracking domain : Use the domain responsible for sending emails. Consider using a subdomain of your existing email-sending domain for consistency, or register a new domain that aligns with your brand or tracking objectives. Aim for a domain name that is memorable, relevant, and easy to spell. You can also choose a domain extension that is widely recognized and trusted by users, such as .com or .net.

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