Apple's Mail Privacy Protection

How It Will Affect Your Email Marketing

  • Mail Privacy Protection: How it will affect your email marketing

    15 Sep 2021

    Apple's upcoming iOS, iPadOS and Mac OS 12 Monterey will include a new feature for Apple Mail users, called Mail Privacy Protection. If users opt-in to this feature it will reduce the amount of data emails marketers can get from their contact's engagement with their emails. 


    During the Apple Event, on 14th September 2021, Apple announced the new iOS & ipadOS 15 would be released on 20th September and Mac OS Monterey would be released in the Autumn (as of writing no exact date has been given, but it is usually about a month or so after iOS).

    It also confirmed new feature of these iOS updates is the Mail Privacy Protection feature, which, as stated on the Apple website, “hides your IP address, so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if and when you’ve opened their email.”

    This will affect any contacts using the Apple Mail app to open emails and by extension, it will affect any clients (Gmail, Outlook) that are pulled into the Apple Mail app. However, it will not affect other standalone email apps used on Apple products, such as the Gmail app or Outlook app.


    How will Mail Privacy Protection impact your email marketing?

    Well, in short, certain metrics of your reporting will not be as accurate as they were before the introduction of this feature, such as:

    • -Open Rates
    • -Click To Open Rates
    • -IP Detected Location
    • -Device / Client being used


    Along with these some other native features of your email marketing software may not be as accurate also. Features such as scoring contacts based on interactions with emails etc.


    How will Mail Privacy Protection affect these metrics?


    The Mail Privacy Protection means that Apple Mail will preload tracking pixels whether the contact has opened the email or not.

    Most email software determines Opens, IP, locations etc, by placing tracking pixels (1 pixel image) in emails, each time the email is opened the pixel is loaded and allows the information to be reported in the email marketing software.

    As these pixels are being preloaded by Mail Privacy Protection, you will likely see inflated Open Rates and reduced Click to Open Rates. And you will also not gain other information such as location, and device. Research from Litmus, Suggests that Open rates for Apple Mail could be inflated by as much as 75%.
    Engagement metrics such as clicks and click rate will be unaffected.


    What can you do?

    Currently, there is no way around this. All you can do is to be prepared for the change in your metrics and look at how you can change the way in which you measure campaign performance and audience engagement. Things for you should do before this comes into play are:


    1. Identify how much of your audience will be affected

    The first thing to do is identify is how many of your contacts could potentially be affected.

    This will be an opt-in feature, so not everyone who uses Apple Mail will necessarily be affected. But it is likely that when given the option, many users will Opt-in to this feature.

    It is still a good idea to identify the percentage of your contacts that are currently opening your emails with Apple Mail, to see the potential impact.

    You should be able to identify in your email market reports, the percentage of contacts that are using Apple Mail.

    At this time no other email clients are affected, although, in our opinion, this is the direction that more clients will start taking.


    2. Be aware of the metrics you are using

    Whilst you probably use a range of metrics, if you are currently focussing on Open Rate to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, consider relying on other metrics instead such as click-through rate, conversions, unsubscribes and bounces.

    Whilst opens are a metric to measure the success of a campaign, it is also a good engagement metric to the deliverability of emails and also a measure of receptive contacts are to your emails or how engaged they are with your brand.


    3. Review Segments and Automations

    Review any Segments and Automations that you may have set up that use Opens, Location, Apple Mail client as a determining factor.

    For example, any automation based on if contacts have not opened an email will most likely have fewer sends whereas the visa versa is true for automation based on if contacts have opened an email.


    4. Review your email content

    Now is the ideal time to review the content of your emails.  Is the content encouraging enough to get people to click through to your website? Do you have a strong call to action? 

    Make sure you are not giving all the information over in the email, now more than ever it is important to give the recipient something else to do after opening your email.  

    Whether that’s going to your site to buy a product, watching a video on your Youtube account, reading the full article on your blog or engaging with your social media platform.


    In Summary

    The introduction of Apple Mail Privacy Protection will affect some of your email marketing metrics but by being aware ahead of time you can manage the impact it will have on your reporting by focussing on different engagement metrics.

    We will keep this page updated as and when we get more information about this.


    Take a look at our Mailchimp or Email Marketing courses to learn more.


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