Content Link Validation

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About Content Link Validation


With Content Link Validation (CLV) you can check if the links in a message draft work. The feature is available for Smart Campaigns and transactional messages using the email channel. Because the third type of campaigns, Marketing Automation, is based on transactional messages, CLV can be used for all kinds of email campaigns.

Some link types are ignored by Content Link Validation:

  • System links, which are related to Optimizely Campaign (e.g. Unsubscribe and view in browser)
  • Standard links that do not use the http or https protocol (e.g. mailto: or ftp://)
  • V-Tag links, a special type of links used by Microsoft Outlook

CLV is only available for message drafts that have a recipient list assigned in the actual campaign.

Recipient list selection

You must select a recipient list and a recipient from that list when checking links with Content Link Validation. If a message draft uses field functions, these will get their values from the selected recipient.

In most cases you should select the list that is used in the actual campaign. You may select a different list as long as one condition is fulfilled: If field functions are used in the message draft, the recipient list must contain all fields required for this.

Target group selection

You may optionally select a target group when checking links with CLV. If you do, only the links visible to that target group will be checked. If you select no target group, all links will be checked.

Using Content Link Validation

Opening the page Link Validation for [message draft]

Prerequisites: You are logged in to Optimizely Campaign.

  1. In the menu bar, click Campaigns > Smart Campaigns or Campaigns > Transactional Mails.
    → You see a list which contains message drafts.
  2. In the list, select a message draft.
  3. Below the list, click on Link Validation...
    → You see the page Link Validation for [message draft]. If the message draft was analyzed before, the results of the last run are displayed.

Validating links in a message draft

Prerequisites: You have opened the page Link Validation for [message draft] (see above).

  1. Select a recipient list and a recipient from the list.
  2. Optional: Select a target group.
  3. Click Execute New Report.
    → After a few seconds the report is executed and the results are displayed.

About the validation results

The results are displayed in two sections:

  • A list of links from the message draft on the left-hand side.
  • A preview section which shows the message as it would be rendered for the selected recipient.

Mobile-specific links and hidden links are visible in the list but not in the previews.

When you return to the page Smart Campaigns or Transactional Mails, the Link Validation column shows the status for each message draft that has been validated before:

  • icon success.png (ok) when all links in a message are valid,
  • icon error.png (error) when at least 1 link is invalid,
  • icon gray.png (neutral) when the links are not yet validated or the campaign has already been sent.

Examining the validation results

On the page Link Validation for [message draft], you can use several tools to find results for specific links.

Use the fields Version and Results to filter the list of links. With Version, you can select if you want to see all links or only links from one version (HTML or text). With Results you can switch between seeing all types of results or only errors.

In the search field above the list of links, you can search for links containing specific text.

Click on a line in the list of links to highlight the link in the preview section. Successfully checked links are highlighted with a green frame, links with errors are highlighted with a red frame.

The links in the list are functional, you can click them to manually check where they lead.

Entries with error code 403

Some servers recognize requests from Content Link Validation as requests from an automated system. They may then treat these as unwanted traffic and reply with a 403 error (forbidden request).

Optimizely Campaign can not clearly determine why a 403 is received. If you see many 403 errors but the links work correctly when you click them manually, your system is likely blocking the automated link validation. In this case you have to rely on manual testing.