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Apple Mail Privacy Protection is here. How does this impact your email marketing?

Posted on Categories Strategy, Web + Online MarketingTags

This article is co-written by Care Gerland & Andrew Peng

With the new Apple iOS 15 privacy changes, email open rate data has been thrown into a frenzy. New privacy protection measures now track all recipients on iOS 15 devices and macOS Monterey to register as an open, regardless of any action taken. 

When users open the Apple Mail app for the first time after installing the newest operating system, they will be given the option to protect their privacy. If opted in, this option enables Apple Mail Privacy Protection and hides their IP address. And here’s the rub for email marketers — the metric to report open rates is now unreliable. 

You may be asking, why does this matter? According to Litmus, nearly 60% of the email client market share is attributed to Apple. With geotargeting, open rates, and A/B testing all affected, email marketers will need to re-strategize since Apple users make up a large source of email clients. 

  • What is changing in the short term?
    • Apple will load tracking pixels on behalf of its iPhone, iPad, Macs and Apple Watch users. In essence, Apple will be “opening” emails on behalf of its users.
    • Real-time email tactics that rely on location-based targeting will be less effective. For example, time zone sends that use IP addresses to identify the location and align send times to each recipients’ location may no longer function for Apple Mail users.
    • Email open rates may become inflated as activity may be spread across multiple contact records — even though they represent the same person. With “Hide My Email,” users can create fake, random email addresses to shield their personal email addresses from senders. In practice, this means that there may be several different “contacts” opening an email, even though just one person exists. 
  • What is changing in the long term?
    • While this creates a shift in the traditional email tracking metrics, long term it will be better for consumers and allow for better privacy. This is just an industry shift that will require some out-of-the-box thinking and new ways of measurement.
  • As a marketer, what do I do?
    • Establish benchmarks beyond open rates, such as referring to your click-through rate data. This is showing true and accurate data that will help you measure results.
    • Consider changing your email automated triggers from opens to stronger engagement criteria such as clicks or purchases.  
    • As you work to navigate and redefine your email metrics, make sure to continue to build up your email list with qualified, engaged contacts that you own so that you aren’t caught with little to no contacts on your lists once all the new cookie and privacy policies fall into place.
    • Leverage user data from other sources. Check your database to see how many of your contacts are non-Apple users. By doing this, you can still measure open rates. 
    • For brands both B2B and B2C: don’t be afraid to experiment with trends from both sides and create content that motivates people to click, such as:
      • Increase the use of call-to-actions (CTAs)
      • Interactive features such as polls and surveys
      • Personalization
      • Emojis
      • Scarcity words: “limited,” “running out,” “today only”

Privacy protection is constantly evolving, and marketers need to look ahead to prepare for disruptions. At Savage Brands, we can help you drive results with the guidance and marketing expertise you need to succeed.

As Senior Account Supervisor at Savage, Care brings a high level of passion to help her clients deliver brand value through customer engagement. The same time she invests in her own mental and physical acuity is rivaled only by the time she invests in her clients and peers, creating fluid lines of communication and precise strategic plans.