Test Accounts and More Advanced URL Tracking

We have another handful of powerful features for you this week, including one of the most requested features for Mandrill since we started. Test mode gives you a way to generate fake events and test your integrations without actually sending email or affecting your reputation and URL patterns and tagging provide you with more powerful click reporting.

Test Mode (Sandbox)

We've added a test mode to make it easy to experiment with Mandrill and fine-tune your integration for things like bounce handling without actually sending email and potentially damaging your account's reputation or racking up usage fees.

When you're logged in to your account, you can flip your current browser session into test mode by accessing the account menu in the top-right corner. This won't affect normal sending for your account via API or SMTP. When you're in test mode, the top navigation bar will turn orange, and you'll see separate stats and activity. The main difference between normal and test mode is that no mail is sent in test mode (so you won't be billed for actually sending and your account reputation is unaffected by activity in test mode). Add-ons like spam filter testing, scheduling, and extended content storage still function in test mode, and they incur the same usage fees as in normal mode.

You can also create test API keys so you can experiment with Mandrill's API in ways that might otherwise be risky like sending to non-existent addresses and testing spam complaint processing. If you use a webhook to process rejects, bounces, or spam complaints, you can generate fake events in test mode or with a test API key by sending to reject@test.mandrillapp.com, hard_bounce@test.mandrillapp.com, soft_bounce@test.mandrillapp.com, or spam@test.mandrillapp.com, respectively. These fake events don't impact your reputation, so you can test any time you want. (If you send to these addresses with a normal API key or in normal mode, the emails will be rejected with a description of why.)

URL Patterns

The URL tracking report gives you a great way to see what URLs are being sent and clicked in your emails. This week we've made that tracking data even more powerful by letting you aggregate your click data using a wildcard pattern instead of the full URL string. Okay, so that's a little abstract - let's try an example:

Here's an example of a fairly common type of URL for Mandrill - a custom unsubscribe link: https://example.com/user/abc-123uuid/unsub. For one-off unique URLs like this, the click rate isn't going to tell you much. It might be better if you set up a pattern like https://example.com/user/*/unsub to look at the click rate of all unsubs links together. Or you can use a pattern like https://example.com/* if only the domain is important.

URL Tagging

Patterns can help in many cases, but what if you want to aggregate your click data by something that's not in the URL itself? Maybe you want to track the click rate of articles separately from the click rate of ads, regardless of what URL the article or ad goes to? We've added URL tagging to help you with these cases where patterns just aren't enough.

You add tags to a tracked link by adding the mc:tags attribute to the anchor tag with the comma-separated list of the tags to apply. The click rate data for URL tags will appear in the URL tracking report along with your other URLs and patterns. Here's an example you can use in your own emails:

<a href="http://mandrill.com" mc:tags="awesome,email,api">
Mandrill is awesome.</a>