With Apple Mail Privacy Protection, 90% of Apple Mail users will stop reporting email openings. What % of your database do they represent? Will working with the click rate be enough? After investigating the points of view of experts like Litmus, we reveal today the measures that Data Innovation will apply with our clients to continue having optimal performance in email marketing and CRM campaigns after the change.
What is the new Apple update about?
At its conference in June 2021, Apple announced several changes to its strategy to protect the privacy of its users. The new change will go into effect with iOS 15, iPad iOS 15, and macOS Monterey, likely in September 2021.
“In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.” Apple
With the new update, Apple will route emails through a proxy server, thus protecting the user’s IP address, to preload the content of the message, including tracking pixels, before delivering it to readers. This affects any email opened from the Apple Mail application on any device. Users will be able to choose between “Protect my Mail activity” or “Do not protect my Mail activity”, which means that this option will not be activated by default. But who is going to say “no”?
With Mail Privacy Protection it will no longer be possible to calculate users who open an email, the opening time, their location or type of device they use. Apple Mail’s share of the email client market share is 49% and according to the Litmus report, 90% of Apple Mail users will opt for the upgrade and email privacy protection. It is simply too high a percentage to ignore.
We have to point out that there are Apple users who do not use Apple Mail as an email application, but rather Gmail or Outlook in order to take advantage of calendar synchronization and integration with the other applications of the Google or Microsoft work suites. The question we ask ourselves is HOW MANY and how to detect them more accurately.
How will it affect open rate?
All emails sent to Apple Mail users who have chosen the new option will show as open, even if the recipient ignores it. That means that if your mailing list has a high percentage of Apple Mail users, the open rate can be inflated.
To roughly calculate the new open rate, Litmus offers a formula.
(Percentage of Apple Mail openers ÷ 100) x 0.9 x 75
Open rate today x (1 – [Percentage of Apple Mail opener / 100 x 0.9])
Where 0.9 means the expected adoption rate of the new update and 75 means the expected open rate of Apple Mail clients (these variables can be adjusted according to particular predictions).
At Data Innovation we analyze the data of individual users to decide their level of interest and activity according to the RFMi model. It means that a simple way to be able to count the users affected by the change will be that from a certain date they will begin to report an open rate of 100%.
That does not mean that from one day to the next we will have to forget about the open rate, but rather that we have to rely more on the click rate. According to Forbes, “Apple is forcing marketers to adopt a higher standard, innovate their email strategies and switch to more valuable metrics like clicks and engagement to demonstrate campaign effectiveness.” It’s a good point of view and a good time to improve the base metrics you use for decision making. For example: Did you know that there is a segment of users that we see in the databases of many of our clients that exclusively open emails? We label them as Window Shoppers and we reduce the frequency of interaction with them because in reality users that you cannot convince to reach the page you want to show them, means that they are not at all interested or do not have the means to be able to become a client.
In short – the effects on the part of your DB that uses Apple Mail, after Mail Privacy Protection
- Segmentation based on open rate will stop working, it will have to be based on another metric such as click rate.
- You will need to update automated flows that depend on open rate – for example campaigns with follow-up emails that are sent to subscribers who have not yet opened their first email and any other decision chain based on opens
- Adjust A/B testing with the result linked to opens
- Sending time optimization will no longer be accurate
- Content linked to the location or IP address will not be adequate and you have to enter the info in your customer data platform exclusively based on clicks
- The importance of email list hygiene linked to email deliverability will rise even further
Checklist / action plan
The important thing to keep in mind is that our subscribers stay happy and continue to receive adequate and personalized content that they like so much and which they demonstrate by interacting with it (clicks, downloads, sales, etc.). One of the effects of the new update may be that users receive even more spam emails, as marketers will have one less engagement signal to follow.
In order to prepare for the new changes it is advisable to update and change certain techniques.
- Determine the breakdown of your email audience (to know how many of your contacts use Apple Mail)
- Create a reliable list of non-Apple openers (as this segment will continue to provide accurate open rate data)
- Expand the list of engagement metrics used to measure success – a more holistic approach (don’t forget multi-channel metrics that show customer engagement)
- Evaluate activities that depend on open rate (for example automated flows, segmentation for reactivation campaigns, content linked to location, A/B testing, suppression lists of non-engaged users, inbox deliverability etc.)
- Cleaning your mailing list
- Update and promote your email preference center
- Email optimization through high A/B testing
At Data Innovation we are dedicated to helping Marketing & CRM teams increase traffic, sales and new activations and optimize their KPIs. As a data, CRM and optimization consultant, we work with companies that send more than 10MM emails, agencies, eCommerce or retailers, and ESPs. And as partners, we rely on Tableau, Sparkpost, Netcore, Litmus, although we adapt to the technological environment of each client. The objective of our service is for your Marketing & CRM team to have visibility and perspective, apply expert knowledge, learn and put into practice pragmatic and innovative growth tactics, integrate the most advanced tools with a focus on the final results: more sales, more active users, more ROI.