How Apple's New Mail Privacy Protection Impacts Email Marketing

"Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain language, and repeatedly. I believe people are smart. Some people want to share more than other people do. Ask them." 
- Steve Jobs 
Digital privacy has become one of the most important topics today.
Mail Privacy Protection
As the push for a more secure internet continues, marketers will have to adapt on the fly, especially when it comes to tracking and reporting business intelligence.
As part of its iOS 15 update, Apple recently unveiled its new Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) plans. MPP is a form of email privacy that hides a user's IP address, so senders aren't able to determine exact locations or identify certain online activities. Some metrics will remain untouched but this update has the potential to significantly alter one key factor of your email marketing campaign: open rates.
The update will allow Apple Mail users to choose to either activate Mail Privacy Protection or not. However, it's hard to imagine many people would select an option that literally says "Don't protect mail activity."
Currently, MPP is available for updated Apple devices and operating systems, including iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey for Macbooks. Any email opened from the Apple Mail app - on any device - has the option for Mail Privacy Protection. 

How Mail Privacy Protection Works

According to Apple, when someone selects the "Protect Mail activity" option in Apple Mail, here's what will happen moving forward: 

All emails will be routed through a proxy server to pre-load message content, which includes pixels that contain information about the user. Whether or not someone physically opens an email, it will be registered as an open across all email marketing service platforms.

This upgrade will also limit the ability to accurately determine where a contact is located when they open your email and the type of device in use. 

Click activity and click rate will still be reported for contacts who use iOS 15 Apple Mail. 

What Does This Mean for Email Marketing Campaigns?

This Mail Privacy Protection process will likely be refined - and potentially more widespread - moving forward, but these changes will certainly alter email marketing reports right away. 

Imagine sending an email to 1,000 people who use Apple Mail on iOS 15 (who have not opted out of the MPP), and 500 of them open your email and the other 500 don't. Your email marketing metrics are going to register a 100% open rate. That kind of inflated data could obviously skew your metrics and create some frustrating analysis. 

Additionally, since a user's IP address can be hidden, device, geographic targeting, and client segmentation metrics will be less reliable than before. 

There is still hope for marketers, though. It's just going to take a little extra effort when it comes to email marketing campaign management, analytics and measurement, and segmentation and targeting. 

How Corporate Communications Can Help

Email marketing still has the highest ROI of any digital strategy. Properly managing your email marketing lists and campaign management is even more crucial following these recent updates. We can help update your contact list and create a non-Apple Mail client separate list. This list segmentation will allow you to get a better idea of what's going on, while still valuing open rate metrics. 
Additionally, we can help expand on the other engagement metrics used to measure campaign success. Email marketing best practices do not have to include open rates as the sole performance metric. Instead, we'll further analyze click-through rates, call-to-action buttons (CTAs), bounces, and plenty of other onsite metrics. 
Email marketing is continuously evolving -- and we're here to help. Let us know how we can help! 
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