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.

We're talking about the custom tracking domain. And so, in this article you'll learn:

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 what email campaigns are working and what aren't.

lemlist reports

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 β€œShow original” mode in Gmail:

custom tracking domain

Find β€œimg” tag with this parameter height=3D”1" width=3D”1. It's usually at the bottom of the script:

custom tracking domain

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 "βž•" to your sender score and it'll improve your deliverability too.

For example, here are the results from one of the lemlisters - Hans from Leadaro Agency:

Here's how to set up a custom tracking domain

In lemlist you can add 2 custom domains:

  1. for tracking links and pixels (ones I talked about earlier)
  2. for dynamic landing pages (we'll talk about it soon)

In the next two sections, I will show you how to set up both in lemlist

Right now, we put tr0.lemlist.org as a default domain for tracking URLs and open pixels:

tracking pixel in email

Of course, you can customize this to be with your subdomain, "trail.yourdomain.com" for example.

In order to do that, you need to go to "Settings":

custom tracking domain

Go to "Team" and check "Tracking Custom Domain".

improving email deliverability

Put your domain and click "Check":

create custom domain to improve email deliverability

lemlist will automatically check what's your domain provider and provide you with the next steps. Or you can check settings on your own:

custom tracking domain

Now you need to create a CNAME with settings that lemlist suggests. Here are the general steps that you need to do:

Step #1. Log in to your domain provider

Step #2. Go to your DNS settings

Step #3. Create CNAME record

Step #4. Put settings that lemlist suggested (in most cases it'll be "trail" as Host and "custom.lemlist.com" as Value)

Step #5. Save it!

Example with Namecheap:

custom tracking domain

Example with Cloudflare:

NOTE! You need to disable "Proxy" setting and have it like it's shown on the screenshot:

custom tracking domain

After you create a CNAME - you need to come back to lemlist and click on "Setup my tracking domain" button.

βœ… If your CNAME is created, you'll have such a notification:

custom tracking domain

❌ If your CNAME isn't created, you'll have such an issue:

Once set, the tracking pixels and URLs sent from lemlist will have your own sub-domain.

Good times! :)

custom tracking domain

Set up an engagement tracking domain for dynamic landing pages

Dynamic landing pages are an excellent addition to your sales funnel, especially if your cold email objective is to book meetings.

For those of you who are on our blog for the first time, here's a quick video that walks you through the magic of these pages.


Similar to cold emails with a custom domain, dynamic landing pages also perform better when you set up their custom domain.

By default, they are opened with pages.lemlist.com in URL:

dynamic landing page custom domain

But you can customize it, so it'll be opened for example pages.yourdomain.com. In order to do that, you need to go to "Settings":

dynamic landing page custom domain

Go to "Team" and check "Pages Custom Domain":

dynamic landing page custom domain

Put your domain and click on "Check" button:

create custom domain to improve email deliverability

lemlist will automatically check what's your domain provider and provide you with the next steps. For example, in this specific case the domain is registered with Namecheap:

Now you need to create a CNAME with settings that lemlist suggests. Here are the general steps that you need to do:

Step #1. Log in to your domain provider

Step #2. Go to your DNS settings

Step #3. Create CNAME record

Step #4. Put settings that lemlist suggested (in most cases it'll be "pages" as Host and "custom.lemlist.com" as Value)

Step #5. Save it!

Example with Namecheap:

dynamic landing page custom domain

Example with Cloudflare:

NOTE! You need to disable "Proxy" setting and have it like it's shown on the screenshot:

dynamic landing page custom domain

After you create a CNAME - you need to come back to lemlist and click on "Setup my tracking domain" button.

βœ… If your CNAME is created, you'll have such a notification:

dynamic landing page custom domain

❌ If your CNAME isn't created, you'll have such an issue:

dynamic landing page custom domain

Once it's done, you will automatically start sending dynamic landing pages with your domain.

No worries, the SSL certificate is generated on the lemlist's side automatically as well:

dynamic landing page custom domain

Key takeaways

We write a lot about deliverability in our previous articles. Therefore, it's always better to go through the important stuff again: