Apple recently announced its new Mail Privacy Protection update that’s due to roll out in September. Apple isn’t the first tech giant to implement this change; however, Google and Apple’s large market share likely means that other email clients will follow their lead, forcing marketers to adapt.
So what impact will this change have? To answer this question, our Account Coordinator, Carson Brown, has been gathering insights to help our clients successfully navigate this change.
First, let’s talk about what’s behind the mail privacy protection update. In short, the new privacy update will mask users IP addresses so they can’t be linked back to other online activity or used to determine their location.
Additionally, a new setting called “pre-fetch” will automatically download email images and count this action as an open, even if the user didn’t actually click into the email. This will primarily affect any email opened from the Apple Mail app on any device; however, it won’t be a default setting. People who use Apple Mail, which is about 30-40% of users, will have the option to opt-in to Apple’s new privacy sharing settings.
As the new update rolls out, here are 5 tips you can use to navigate this change:
Although open rates aren’t going away any time soon, a large chunk of email audiences might become untrackable. Because of this, you might need to lower or pivot your open rate goals to determine what your new low, average, and high open rates are.
Prepare for open rates to increase as a result of the automatic “pre-fetch” setting. If your audience makeup is skewed toward Apple Mail users, your open rate will likely be over-inflated once the Apple Mail change is in place.
On top of leveraging KPIs that are less impacted by Apple’s change, you can also use email tools or benchmark reports to see how your email rates compare to those of other brands in your industry.
Marketers will need to focus on tracking reliable metrics such as click rates and specific elements of email engagements to gauge campaign performance. Changing email strategies to better match email metrics isn’t the answer. Instead, make sure you’re reporting on the most relevant KPIs and continuing to deliver valuable, engaging content to your audience.
Audience segmentation, location and send time optimization will no longer be reliable. The good news is Google Analytics will not be affected.
You should still be able to determine how much traffic comes to your website from one single email — or which pieces of content sent the most visitors to your site. Optimal email traffic means that you’re successfully getting visitors where they need to go with your content, which in most cases means your website.
It will become increasingly critical to maintain healthy audience lists. Collect more information in welcome emails to better personalize future communication. In the meantime, clean up your lists to ensure they’re filled with relevant, engaged contacts.
Email still has the highest return on investment (ROI) of all forms of marketing and is the most likely channel to drive sales when it comes to social media marketing.
Personalization, A/B testing and optimization of the email experience aren’t going away but are going to evolve. Each of these areas will need to be more focused on building more meaningful actions and personalizing where possible. Companies both large and small will need to prioritize building trusted relationships with their audience and understanding and utilizing what matters to them.
Although this change may cause shifts among marketers, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue to deliver valuable emails. While open rates are certainly important, there are many other ways to get to know your email subscribers, learn from KPIs and continue to share great content with them.
Carson Brown is an Account Coordinator at Pierce Public Relations.