Apple Mail Privacy

Understanding Apple’s new privacy feature and what it means for you and your email marketing

What is Apple Mail Privacy Protection?

Apple recently announced a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection for its Mail app. This update for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8 will prevent email senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user, such as when they open an email, and masks the user’s IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

What does it mean for you?

To protect customer privacy, iOS 15 and Apple Mail will preload images in emails, including tracking pixels, which are commonly used by marketers to track email opens. Because this is also how the system tracks email opens, this update may affect the accuracy of your email reporting, as we won’t be able to reliably determine which contacts opened which emails when using Apple Mail. This includes anyone who checks their email on the Mail app, no matter which email domain they use (such as Gmail and Yahoo). As a result, it may inflate your email’s open rate and, consequently, lower the click-through rate shown in your reporting.

In addition to email reporting, some other features may be impacted:
Openboost – Since all contacts using Apple Mail will show as having opened the email, any email set to resend to non-openers will never send to these contacts.

Triggered emails that use open or non open triggers – If you set up a triggered email to send when a contact opens, all contacts who use Apple Mail will register the email as an open  and the triggered email will be added to the queue, whether they actually open the email or not. Consider setting up your trigger to send when a contact clicks on a link in your email instead, rather than when they open it.

Reporting – When viewing your reports, you might see an inflated number for the contacts who use Apple Mail as they will always be recorded as having opened your emails.

Segmentation – If you’re creating a segment of your most engaged contacts or based on contacts who opened an email, the segment may include some contacts who don’t actually fit the criteria. Create custom segments of your contacts based on their click or purchase behavior instead.

What can you do about it?

Email is still an effective channel for communicating with your audience. While you may have looked at your open rate as the key metric of success for your campaigns, it’s more important to focus on email engagement, like clicks, instead. The purpose of your emails is to drive contacts to take a specific action, such as visiting your website, placing an order, signing up for an event, etc. Even if someone opens your email, it doesn’t mean they’re taking that desired action and engaging with your content the way you want. Focus on creating more personalized content for your contacts and including clear calls-to-action to help improve your click rates and increase engagement.

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