Handling replies to campaigns


If any recipient replies to a campaign that you've sent out, these replies are automatically stored in the reporting area against that particular campaign. You can access and read these replies by selecting Replies under the 'Interaction' section of a campaign's report.

You also have the option to have those replies automatically forwarded to an email address of your choice. Just ensure you enter a valid email address in the 'Optional forwarding address' box when providing the campaign's setup details (this can be done when creating a new campaign, or you can access it again by selecting the first step, 'Create').


Replies to test sends are not forwarded.

If you leave this box blank, replies will be stored in the reporting area by default where you can read through all replies to the campaign.

Our system will handle replies for 14 days after a contact was sent a campaign, after which time replies will be bounced by the system.

Replies of 10MB or more will be bounced and you won't receive them. For more detail on this, see Message attachments below. 

Message attachments

Any attachment to the email will be removed before being forwarded on to you. Experience shows that when sending mass emails there will always be a few infected people on the list; these machines may possibly auto-reply to any email they get, sending infected files back in the hope of spreading the virus. That's why we remove attachments to protect you and the service.

If you'd like message attachments forwarded with replies, you can enable by following these steps: 

  1. Select the Settings icon in the bottom left corner of the screen.
  2. Select Account from the settings menu that appears.
  3. Select Account settings.
  4. Scroll down to Features and check Include attachments in forwarded replies.

Forwarded attachments can be any of the following file types: .csv, .doc, .docx, .dot, .eps, .gif, .html, .ical, .ics, .indd, .jpg, .mp3, .pdf, .png, .pps, .ppsx, .ppt, .pptx, .pub, .rtf, .txt, .vcf, .vcs, .xls, .xlsx, .xps

An attachment is only available in the UI if you've enabled attachment forwarding.

Note: Any reply of 10MB or more will be bounced and you won't receive it. The contact sending the email will of course receive an email notification that their message was too large. It's a very rare occurrence that a reply will be as large as this, but it will most likely be caused by an attachment. You should be aware of this size limit in case a contact says they're sending replies to you and you aren't receiving them. This could be the reason for it.

Variable forwarding address

You can use contact data fields to get replies forwarded to a different address depending on the contact. For example, this could be used to forward replies to a contact's account manager. To do this, enter the contact data field placeholder (for example, @ACCOUNTMANAGER@) as the forwarding address.

Managing automatic replies

The system analyses all replies and filters them into three groups:

Actual replies
These are actual replies sent to you, perhaps asking a particular question. These replies can be forwarded to an email of your choice as specified in the campaign setup screen (as explained above, under 'Variable forwarding address').

Auto replies
These are automatic replies set by the email recipient to go to every email they receive. This is quite common in relation to general email addresses such as info@ or sales@.

If the system identifies a reply as an automatic reply, then it won't get forwarded to the forwarding email address specified in the campaign setup screen.

Challenge replies
These are replies sent by sender verification tools such as Spam Arrest. They're sent to reduce spam in the email recipient's inbox. You'll generally need to enter a code of some description in order for your original email to be accepted by your email recipient.

Again, if the system identifies a reply as a challenge reply, then it won't get forwarded to the forwarding email address specified in the campaign setup screen.

The reply address

To make sure that all replies to your campaigns are tracked correctly, we use a unique reply address for each contact (which will look something like 're-6G7-VAX-39BM-BZVXK@yourfromdomain.com').

If tracked replies aren't important to you and you want a more human-friendly reply address, then 'Track all replies' can be disabled in the settings for the from address. When disabled, the reply address will be the same as your from address but replies won't get tracked; they'll be forwarded instead to your 'Unknown mail forward' address (provided this has been set up).

If someone directly emails your 'from' address (from Outlook, for instance), their email will also be forwarded to your 'Unknown mail forward' address.

Editing the from address

You can edit the from address to change this setting by going to Campaigns > Advanced features > From addresses.


Select the Edit pencil to change the settings for an address.

The Edit from address window will appear. Clear the Track all replies check box to disable the advanced tracking (and set up your friendlier reply address).


Read about the 'Replies' report for more on how replies are forwarded and reported on »
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar

    When a person replies to an email from a campaign, this will go to the dotmailer run email address specified within the campaign creation, with the option of forwarding to another address...

    BUT the action of replying to an email address, will add that email address to the users 'Outlook' database. Therefore the next time they come to write an email to that person, they could be presented with two options...

    1 - @company.com

    2 - @company.dotmailer.com

    If they end up sending to option 2 - what happens to the email?

    Can there / Is there a way to ensure dotmailer send addresses are always paired to an address to ensure always delivered to end person, and then make use of the CAMPAIGN setting of optional forwarding address to change this default as needed?



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    I was just wondering if someone could clarify this statement:

    'If you leave this box blank, replies will be stored in the reporting area by default where you can read through all replies to the campaign.'

    I'm assuming that this means the information about the contacts who replied is stored in the reporting area. The actual reply content will not be available unless a forwarding address has been setup to actually receive the replies?

    Kind regards, Hugh

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    Hi Hugh,

    Thanks for your question. The actual reply content is available, yes. Simply click on the listed reply in the 'Replies' report and the content will then appear below it.

    You have the option to then forward this reply to your account's email address by clicking on Forward to me. Hope that helps. 

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    It would be useful if Dotmailer provided an option to have a default forward-to address that could be set at an account level.

    We'd like all replies to be dealt with by our supporter care team - and at the moment we have to rely on each email sender remembering to correctly fill out the forwarding address - and as it's not their own address, there's room for error....


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    Hi Sally,

    Thanks for your comment. However, this option isn't available in the application.

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    We have, over the tears, had a repeated question from clients - "if somebody copies and pastes the FROM address into a new, non 'reply' email - where do the emails go?" I know its a bizarre thing to do, but people do it.

    there used to be an option in the account management section to add a catchall forward address so that the system would forward any replies sent outside the campaign send structure to a nominated email address. I cant find that option anymore, has it been removed? and if so what happens when somebody copies the FROM address from a system send campaign into a new email and sends it?




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    Hi Sue,

    The emails will go to the Unknown mail forward address, as set above when editing the from address.

    Emails will, if they can be attributed to a specific campaign, go in as replies to that campaign. If they cannot be attributed to a campaign, they will go to the Unknown mail forward address if it has been set.

    If the unknown mail forward has not been set for an address (perhaps it should actually be a required field), then the email will not be retrievable.


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    Does the 14 day window also apply to the replies sent to the "Unknown mail forward" address?

    Meaning if we change the from address settings and uncheck "Track all replies" then what happens when someone replies to a campaign on day 15 or later? Does it bounce or does it get forwarded to the address specified?



    Edited by Mike DeGregory
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    Hi Mike,

    This 14 day window of handling replies doesn't apply to the address specified as the 'Unknown mail forward'. The 14 day window only applies to tracked replies, the ones that get stored in the reporting area.

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    Great. Thanks Neal. - Mike
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    The manual above does not seem to apply for transactional emails. AFAIK the only way to see the replies for transactional emails is defining the "Unknown mail forward". Correct?


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    Hi Kristjan. Thanks for your question. Yes, that's correct - to receive replies to your transactional email, you'll need to enter an address for 'Unknown mail forward' for your default 'from' address - https://support.dotdigital.com/hc/en-gb/articles/212214408-Using-transactional-email#managing.