Apple first announced the Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) update during its annual Worldwide Developer Conference last June 2021 without going into details, leading everyone — especially the email community — to speculate about its impact.
Then in September 2021, the tech giant made MPP available to devices running on iOS 15, showing its effort to give users better privacy.
The iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection rolled out to macOS later that year and now, in 2022, all Apple devices have MPP active by default. Not only that, Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) requires apps to seek consent before tracking a user’s activity.
Apple users may, of course, conveniently opt out through the “Ask App Not to Track” option on the app’s setting anytime. Most users, however, decide to take advantage of it, leaving behind businesses that are heavily reliant on email marketing services. For instance, in the U.S., an AppsFlyer’s research revealed that 62 percent of iPhone users have opted out.
In addition, according to Litmus’ email segmentation report, about 52 percent of email open rates come from Apple devices. This means marketers have lost almost half of their email opens. The repercussions led advertisers to respond by reducing their ad spending on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter, initially costing these big-name companies nearly $10 billion in income.
While the new Apple Privacy changes and affects the email community, it isn’t as dreadful as it may seem if you understand the workarounds — and this can simply mean going back to the basics of email marketing.
In this blog, we explain the following topics to help you in your email marketing strategy:
• What is Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection update?
• The implications of Apple’s update for businesses dependent on email marketing services
• How to keep your email marketing campaign effective
• How Thrive can help you develop powerful email marketing campaigns
What Is Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection Update?
Apple established the App Tracking Transparency and the Apple Mail Privacy Protection to grant users more control over their data information. Users using the email features of Apple’s Mail app can hide their contact information or activities.
“At Apple, we have always believed that you should be in control of your data,” tweets Apple CEO Tim Cook, “What you do with it and who you share it with should be up to you. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 gives you the choice to share the data that is being collected about you across apps and websites.”
The iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection update introduces a new popup that asks users if they want to allow applications on their iPhones to target them for advertisements.
Consequently, this update in Apple Privacy changes how businesses track performance metrics like email open rates or click to open rates. Marketers use pixels to collect information and detect if a user opens the email, the device used and the subscriber’s location or IP address.
In all cases with Apple Mail Privacy Protection, its Mail app preloads all the email features, including images and tracking pixels. So pixels are fired, and performance metrics count — even if the recipient did not open the email.
Apple further promotes its privacy leadership through the iOS 15 Mail Privacy Protection. But let us dive deeper into how the new Apple Privacy changes the case for email marketers.
The Implications of Apple’s MPP Update for Businesses Dependent on Email Marketing Services
Most marketers have reasons to believe that Apple Privacy changes how they would perform and track email marketing campaigns for good. The Apple Mail Privacy Protection affected the reliability of email features and performance metrics like click to open rate.
Here are the significant challenges presented:
Email Open Rates Are No Longer Reliable
The numbers particularly show an increase; however, they are no longer accurate since Apple preloads the email content, including trackers.
Click To Open Rates Plummet Artificially
Since more than half of Apple users opted out of tracking, this specific metric significantly shows a decrease, making marketers assume that email personalization (by extension, email segmentation) has become an inadequate strategy.
Open-Tracking Email Features Are Now Ineffective
An email marketing strategy usually depends on these features; this also affects the success of tracking the open rates of the following types of email:
• Interactive emails
• Automated emails
Individual User Data Is Less Accessible
Marketers now have limited access to valuable user data, such as:
• The time when the user opened the email.
• The device used by the user.
• The location of the user when they opened the email.
With all of these challenges at hand, what used to be an effective email marketing campaign needs a lot of serious reworkings.
How To Keep Your Email Marketing Strategy Effective
Although Apple’s MPP threw a bit of a spanner in almost every email marketing strategy, you still have a lot of workarounds to measure your email marketing campaign’s success.
#1 Measure Other Metrics
Numerous marketers have accepted the fact that open rate is no longer a key metric to focus on. In turn, here are other metrics with which you can effectively measure success:
• Conversion rate: The percentage of recipients that take necessary action in your email, like downloading a resource or buying a product.
• Overall ROI: The ratio between your revenue and email marketing costs.
• Mailing list growth rate: The number of users added as your subscriber versus those who unsubscribed.
• Click rate: The percentage of people who click a specific link in your email.
• Email forwarding: Track the extended reach of your campaigns.
#2 Use Time-Based or Other Triggers When Sending Automated Emails
Instead of tracking opened or unopened emails, here are some triggers you can use for email automation:
• Link clicks
• Time-based follow-up emails
• Data-based emails such as for birthdays and holidays
• Behavior triggers like abandoned shopping carts
#3 Do Not Neglect Basic Practices
Although you can no longer accurately track open rates, do not forget your goal is still to get recipients to open the emails you send them. So remember to do the following:
• Use custom data fields for email personalization.
• Create compelling, catchy subject lines.
• Fix your sender information, specifically the name.
• Include an email preview text that complements the email subject line.
#4 Try Interactive Email
Interactive emails are a great way to engage your recipients, but you should ensure to keep your content relevant and not just creative.
It’s also crucial that your content reaches the relevant recipients – this is where email segmentation comes in. Five of the most common segmentations include demographic, psychographic, behavioral, geographic and firmographic segmentation.
And while your email should not be “incomplete,” a recipient should be encouraged to click through a link before finding the most important content in your email. This link could lead to a landing page, blog post, or product page.
How Thrive Can Help You Develop Powerful Email Marketing Campaigns
Having the right team behind you is ultimately the best way to respond to Apple’s MPP. The right team should comprise experts who know the ins and outs of email marketing.
Thrive Internet Marketing Agency is a digital marketing company specializing in email marketing. We have a team of writers, designers and strategists who implement conversion-driven campaigns for business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) companies.
Whether you are a business owner of a startup or a well-established company, we guarantee that you will find working with us beneficial for your business.
We also offer services in web design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and pay-per-click (PPC). Talk to our strategists, and request a free proposal.