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How Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will affect the future of email marketing

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Apple Mail gives more control to its users when it comes to privacy. So, what does this mean for future email campaigns?

When Apple released the latest version of its mobile operating system in September 2021, it included Mail Privacy Protection (MPP).

Part of the tech monolith’s mission to let users control their data, the introduction of Apple’s privacy update is said to have impacted 6.31% of opens across all email clients and devices. With open rates being one of the most tracked metrics in email campaigns, it begs the question what does MPP mean for email marketing?

What is the update?

According to Apple’s iOS 15 release notes, ‘Mail Privacy Protection helps protect your privacy by preventing email senders from learning information about your Mail activity. When you turn it on, it hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. It also prevents senders from seeing if you’ve opened the email they sent you.’

In short, this means that advertisers are prevented from being able to track open rates and interactions. It does so by stopping senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user when they open an email, and by routing your IP address through multiple proxy servers and assigning you one at random.

Is it an automatic change?

No, it’s up to each Apple Mail user’s personal preferences. If they’re opening Apple Mail for the first time, they’ll be prompted to opt-in or out. Existing users of the app can go to ‘Settings’, then ‘Mail’, then ‘Privacy Protection’ and select their privacy preferences.

What does it mean for privacy?

Undoubtedly, this is an important step forward for data privacy. In an age where over half of consumers are more concerned about online privacy now than they were in 2020, Mail Privacy Protection is a vital step in letting consumers have some control over their personal data.

What does it mean for email marketing?

Email marketing is all about tracking and monitoring the behaviour of the recipients. Traditionally, one of the most analysed metrics was open rates, which, as the name suggests, is how many people choose to open the email.

Because Mail Privacy Protection anonymises open tracking, it’s no longer possible to see if Apple Mail recipients open mails. As a result, email marketers must pivot their efforts and focus on other metrics.

For example, click tracking is another option for measuring the performance of an email campaign. Rather than monitoring how many people open the email, it reveals how many interact with it by making the active decision to click on a link within the email.

Many marketers feel this is a more useful metric as it reveals a recipient’s level of engagement and is a great way to measure A/B testing. After all, it’s one thing to open an email, but to then click on a link within it is another step in the buyer’s journey.

One way to help make it easier to monitor click tracking is to make a conscious effort to add more calls-to-action so your recipients have clear guidance on how to take the next step with your brand.

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