Apple Mail Privacy Protection – An Important Update for Email Marketers
Privacy has become a big issue in recent years. Apple just announced this month Mail Privacy Protection for their Mail app on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey devices. It’s set to launch this year sometime between September and November.
According to Apple, “Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. [It prevents] 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.”
How will it work?
When someone first opens up the Apple Mail app, they’ll get a message prompting them to either “Protect Mail activity” or “Don’t protect Mail activity.”
This affects any email opened from the Apple Mail app—no matter which email service is used such as Gmail or a work account. However, this shouldn’t affect other email apps used on Apple devices like the Gmail app on an iPhone.
Campaigns and content powered by opens
What this means for email marketers is that they may not be able to tell who opened emails and when via Apple Mail. According to the Litmus, Apple iPhone, Apple Mail, and Apple iPad represent over 46% of combined email opens in 2020.
The open rate metric is commonly used to determine send time optimization, monitor deliverability and trigger:
- Re-engagement campaigns
- Automated nurture flows
- Real-time personalization
So even if you measure the success of an email campaign based on click through rates and conversions, Apple Mail Privacy Protection could still hurt your email program in other ways.
Some of the potential effects for your Apple Mail audience who opts into Mail Privacy Protection could be that:
- List hygiene – an audience, segmentation, or targeting based on last open date would be rendered useless, especially critical for purging unengaged contacts. While Apple’s intention is to protect subscribers, it may backfire with people ultimately getting even more unwanted emails.
- Automated flows and journeys that rely on someone opening an email would need to get re-engineered.
- A/B testing subject lines using opens to determine the winner or to automatically send out the winner won’t work anymore.
- Send time optimization would become inaccurate.
- Countdown timers might show outdated times as the cached version was pulled at sent time, not opened time.
Stats supporting personalization
- 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalized experience. (Accenture)
- 76% of buyers expect more personalized attention from marketers to develop an intimate relationship with your brand. (Demand Gen Report 2020 Buyer Behavior Study)
- 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. (Epsilon)
- 6 in 10 marketers report that boosting personalization in email is a priority. (Litmus 2020 State of Email, Fall Edition)