What Does Apple’s Revolutionary Mail Privacy Protection Mean for Email Marketers?.

“Right to privacy is extremely important. You pull that brick out and then another, and pretty soon, the house falls.”
– Tim Cook

More than 75% of Americans claim that they’re more concerned about their online privacy than they have ever been. 

According to a recent survey, over 84% of consumers globally care about their privacy and are looking forward to gaining more control over how their data is being used. At the same time, nearly 80% of the respondents reported that they’re willing to take the much-needed measures to protect their data.

Let’s admit it – these days, online privacy is a BIG MYTH. Tech giants like Google and Facebook are already tracking every single action we take in our day-to-day lives. In fact, I believe that they are already aware I’m writing this article and are storing my actions in one of their gigantic-sized machines. 

And with numerous data privacy scandals like Facebook-Cambridge Analytica coming to light, people all across the globe have begun showcasing their concern over how their data is handled. 86% of Americans have attempted to decrease or remove their digital footprint online. 

Regulations like GDPR & California Consumer Privacy Act require businesses to report and better protect their customers’ data. But it wasn’t until now that the tech giants implemented the required measures to address this issue.

One big move that shook the email marketing community to its core is Apple’s ground-breaking mail privacy protection. Apple Mail continues to be the top-ranking desktop client with over 58.4% of the overall desktop client market share

That’s huge. 

And if you’re an email marketer heavily relying on data like open rate, user’s location, and device used to open the mail – then it’s critical to understand what the Mail Privacy Protection feature is about and how does it affect businesses and the way email marketers operate.

Let’s have a look.

What is Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection?

During Apple’s WWDC 2021 event, the internet giant announced numerous privacy-focused features that will be coming with macOS Monterey, iOS 15, iPadOS 15 & watchOS 8:

  • Mail Privacy Protection
  • App Privacy Reports
  • SKAdNetwork Update
  • New iCloud+ – iCloud Private Relay & Hide my Email

As stated by Apple’s Senior Vice-President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, “Privacy is at the heart of our work at Apple from the very beginning. Each year, we push ourselves to the limit to develop technology that will help users have more control over their data plus make informed decisions regarding whom they share it with. This year, we have revealed some innovative features that will give users deeper insights as well as more granular control than ever before.” 

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will be an opt-in privacy-focused feature for Apple users. When they launch the “Mail” application for the first time, here’s what they’ll see:

What Does Apple’s Revolutionary Mail Privacy Protection Mean for Email Marketers?

According to predictions, more than 90% of Apple users will select the “Protect Mail Activity” option. And when they do, their email activity, like when they opened the email, the device they were using to open the email, IP address, and more, will be completely secured.

Apple has focused on the following core areas:

  • Location Tracking
  • Email Read Recipients
  • IP Tracking

Up until now, email marketers were using data like location and email open rate to build highly converting personalized email drip campaigns. Whereas, with IP tracking, they used to create data-driven email marketing campaigns and much more. Until recently, data from emails like images and content was loaded when the recipient opened the email. This data included a pixel – which email providers and marketers used for tracking:

  • When the email was opened by the user
  • What device was being used
  • Recipient’s location

But now, with Mail Privacy Protection update, the Mail application will automatically preload all that data – and it won’t matter whether the user opened the email or not.

This means – email marketers will still be able to track the open rates – but that data will be completely useless – as they’ll have a 100% open rate (assuming that all the recipients have opted-in for “Protect Mail Activity”).

So, let’s say you’re rolling out an email to about 1,000 people on your mailing list. Let’s assume that every single one of them uses “Apple Mail” and opted-in for the “Protect Mail Activity” option. Upon mail delivery, Apple will preload the email content and images automatically – this means email marketers will see the email open rate as 1,000 (100%)– which isn’t reliable – as instead of preloading the data upon opening the email – Apple hit the “Automatic Preload” switch on it.

Also, Apple’s focus on Location Tracking and IP Tracking will keep email marketers from accessing data like the location of the user and the device they used to access the mail.

With email marketers not being able to get their hands on reliable open-rate data, they will find it extremely hard to craft drip campaigns. Also, they will face numerous challenges while rolling out personalized emails.

What Does This Big Move Mean for Email Marketers?

As mentioned before, this privacy-focused feature will completely impede the email marketers’ ability of gathering information about email open rates. Now, they will not have their hands on user data that they have been using up until now to build converting email marketing campaigns.

First, it’s unclear how many users will opt-in. But, with people being extremely concerned about their privacy, we guess the number will be really high. 

So, if you are an email marketer or run a business that uses open rate, user location, device, and more to build email marketing campaigns, it’s time to find a different approach. Now, you’ll have to rely less on open data. Instead, we’d advise you to look for ways like focusing on click-through rate and focusing on other metrics to turn your email marketing campaigns into grand success.

Some metrics you can focus on include:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Click-Through Rate
  • Email Sharing/Forwarding
  • Overall ROI
  • List Growth Rate

Also, rather than focusing on open-based triggers, it’s time to consider:

  • Time-Based Triggers: Sending an email after ‘n’ days of rolling out the last one.
  • Date-Based Triggers: Birthday Email
  • First-Party Data (E-commerce): Abandoned Cart Emails or rolling out an email after x days of purchase.

And most importantly, it’s critical to note that this isn’t the end. In fact, we’re at the beginning of the privacy revolution. We’ll witness more and more tech giants roll out different privacy-focused features in the near future. One such BIG move is Google’s focus on building a privacy-first world by phasing out third-party cookies.

And if you run a Boise-based business looking forward to establishing a strong online presence – knock on our door today. 

From web design to development to SEO to email marketing, our experts will be with you at each step of the way.

Hire the #1 Digital Marketing Agency in Boise today.

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