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How to disable “click tracking” on selected links

Most email campaigns are click-tracked, meaning every URL is modified to be tracked so that the click is first registered on our server, and then the recipient is taken to the actual URL. In certain cases, though, you may want to disable click-tracking on a few select URLs, such as YouTube links. The reason you may want to skip click-tracking on YouTube links is that regular unmodified YouTube links generate a nice automatic YouTube preview for your email recipient.

Why should certain links NOT be click-tracked?

First, you should know that to turn ON click-tracking, you just make sure the option is selected in GMass settings:

Enable or disable click-tracking in GMass by ticking the “Clicks” box in Settings.

Let’s talk about YouTube as an example. If my email contains a link to my YouTube video at this URL:


Then the email recipient will see an automatic preview in Gmail of the actual YouTube video.

Here’s what the recipient sees in his Inbox:

And this is what he sees when he opens the email:


But if this link is click-tracked, it would be modified to look something like this:


In this case, Gmail wouldn’t “detect” that this is a YouTube link, and so the video preview wouldn’t show up.

(Notice the tracking URL in the browser status bar at the bottom.)

This same concept also applies to links to Google Docs and Google Sheets. Gmail provides an automatic preview of the doc when it notices a link to a Doc or Sheet, but if the link is modified to be click-tracked, then that automatic preview won’t show up.

How do you prevent links from being click-tracked?

Assuming you have click tracking turned on in your GMass settings box, then to prevent a particular URL from being tracked, just add the parameter “gmasstrack=false” to the end of the URL. Make sure you do it in a syntactically correct way, though.

This YouTube link:


would be modified to look like this:


This Google Sheets link:


would be modified to look like this:


Whether you use a question mark (?) or an ampersand (&) depends on whether the URL already has a question mark (?) or not. If a question mark (?) is already present, then add “gmasstrack=false” with an ampersand (&). Otherwise, use a question mark (?).

You can easily make this modification directly in the Gmail Compose window.

(Click the “Change” link.)

Add the “?gmasstrack=false” portion to the link and click OK.

Change the URL to disable click-tracking in GMass. This allows a preview of YouTube videos or Google Sheets and Docs to appear in the recipient’s Gmail inbox.

What if you add gmasstrack=false but then turn click tracking OFF?

If you do this, you might worry about the presence of “gmasstrack=false” breaking your actual destination website, but fear not. GMass will always do a final “cleanup” of your links and will remove any “gmasstrack” URL parameters that it finds in your HTML message. And because Gmail automatically sets the Plain Text version based on the HTML version, you don’t need to worry about fixing the URL manually if you choose to turn OFF click-tracking altogether.

How does MailChimp do it?

Whenever I implement a new feature like this, I’m always curious how the most respected company in this space, MailChimp, does this. The regular MailChimp platform does not allow you to disable tracking on selected links, but their Mandrill transactional platform does. Mandrill allows you to disable tracking only on certain links, but they do it via a parameter in the “a href” tag:


I’ve chosen to do it via a URL parameter, because you can make this change simply in the Gmail Compose window, without having to modify the HTML behind the scenes. For MailChimp, their approach works, because you have easy access to the underlying HTML right in their web interface.


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