Apple’s Email Privacy Changes and how it will affect your digital marketing

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On 7 June 2021, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection. Unfortunately, this means that our already unreliable email data will become even more unreliable from a digital marketing perspective. For example, when you send a marketing email in an ideal world, you can track when it was received, when it was opened, the IP address, what browser, and even the location. But, as I’ve written before, this data is unreliable at best, and the reliability changes based on what email provider you’re using.
But as a digital marketer, it gives you some indication of how well your email marketing is working.
The Mail Privacy Protection now actively hides the IP address, location and open notifications.

Open rate tracking has been the industry standard right from the beginning of the internet, and it seems that it might be on its way out. Which I believe is a good thing. Let’s move away from vanity metrics and move to metrics that matter.

The good news is that click-tracking is still working, which is a better indication than open tracking anyways, as the open tracking pixel can fire, even when the user is not reading the email. For example, some email browsers fire the pixel when the email gets downloaded but not viewed or when the user scans through emails in the preview tab.

So in the future, the email open rate will become more and more redundant.

Apple mail protection is due to launch in September 2021 with the release of iOS 15.

According to Twilio 7.7% of all email opens occur on Apple Mail. According to Litmus, 12% and some email providers even estimate as high as 30%

So, in the big scheme of things, the majority of email browsers are unaffected for now. But I guess that some of them will be catching up soon enough.

What apps and email providers are affected?

At this stage, this only affects users that are using the Apple Mail app. If someone is using the Gmail app on an iPhone, the open tracking will still work. But if they use Gmail on the mail app, it won’t work.

From now on, rather than obsessing over open rates, the digital marketer will have to focus more on click rates, which makes a lot more sense anyway, as it’s no good if people open your emails but don’t click on your links. Assuming you have links to click on to start with relevant offers that people would want to click on.

So we’re seeing a very similar trend to say Facebook, where relevant content and copywriting trumps vanity metrics.

In the end, IMHO, the only thing that matters regardless of what you do is leads and sales. And the only way to get leads from an email is when people click through to your offer.