Apple’s Privacy Policy: Implications for Email Marketers

May 19, 2022 | Blog, WPaaS

Do you know that you may potentially see a 100% open rate for your Apple Mail recipients – regardless of whether they open your message or not? Apple’s new iPhone privacy policy feature shook the advertising industry relying on email marketing. Initially, it cost Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube an estimated $9.85 billion in income. If you are in advertising, this policy has implications for how your digital advertising performs.

Apple announced its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) at Annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7, 2021, inciting the email community to speculate about its impact. Till September 20, 2021, the Mail Protection Policy was first available on all Apple devices with iOS 15 and was inducted in MacOS as well later that year. As of 2022, all Apple devices have Mail Privacy Protection active as default. Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policy requires apps to seek permission before tracking users’ activity.

This blog explains the Mail Privacy Protection Policy, its general implications, and issues email marketers confront and suggests possible solutions.

What is Mail Privacy Protection (MPP)?

Apple protects its customers’ personal data using technological, administrative, and physical procedures. It considers the nature of personal data, the processing, and the risks to provide utmost privacy. MPP is a privacy policy for Apple users which provides them the access to hide their user data. Apple introduced an update for iPhones that includes a new popup asking users whether they want to enable applications on their phones to target them for advertisements. Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from collecting information about the users using invisible pixels – a common technique used by marketers to check if a user has opened an email. The new feature blocks senders from knowing when users open an email and hides their IP address so it can’t be correlated with other online activity or used to track their location.

“At Apple, we have always believed that you should be in control of your data – what you do with it and who you share it with should be up to you. App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5 gives you the choice to share the data that is being collected about you across apps and websites.” Tim Cook, Apple CEO (Tweet)

The App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature is creating challenges for companies ranging from Snap to Facebook. The higher the percentage of your audience that uses Apple Mail, the more your open rates will be inflated. It means that now the email marketers won’t know whether or not the user has opened the email and what device has been used. Further, it hides the location (IP address) from where the email was opened, including other online activities that marketers use. iPhone users may easily opt out by pressing the “Ask App Not to Track” option on the app’s interface. The majority of the users have utilized this option and opted out, leaving advertisers unsure how to target them. According to research conducted by AppsFlyer in October 2021, 62% of iPhone users in the US have opted out. Advertisers have responded by reducing their spending on Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube and redirecting their expenditures elsewhere.

With Mail Privacy Protection, Apple preloads the user data regardless of whether the recipient has opened the email or not. Further, the preloaded data includes all the content inside that email, including the tracking pixel, making the data from these sources somewhat unreliable. So, how unreliable is the current data?

Initially, it was expected that the data inflation would be as high as 50 – 70%, as Apple’s email client market share as of 2021 stood at 57.4%, according to Litmus. But recent studies show that these speculations were not entirely accurate and that the inflation was not too high. The average industry open rate as of April 2022 stood at 29.87%. Comparing this data with last year’s data shows that the open rate has increased as much as 12 – 15%. Also, depending on the industry, the data for the open rate is not entirely reliable to a certain percentage of cases. Hence, the open rate seems to be no longer a trustworthy indicator of email marketing.

How Does it Impact Email Marketing?

Most marketers believe that Apple’s MPP Policy will permanently change email marketing. Here are some of the significant challenges that have become prevalent after Apple’s new privacy policy:

  • Open rates are increasing but are no longer reliable: Apple preloads data regardless of whether the recipient has opened the email or not, and it becomes significantly more challenging to rely on this data.
  • Click rates are decreasing: Click rates are decreasing, and marketers need to make the emails more personalized to increase the click rate in an email.
  • User data is no longer available: Data like the user’s location and time of email opened is likely less accessible for most email marketers. Since there is no way to tackle this, marketers have to be more cognizant of the target segment and how to target them.

How Should Email Marketers Respond to these Changes?

Despite the challenges listed above, email marketing will sustain itself. The positive news is that, even with the latest upgrade, the fundamentals of email marketing will stay the same. Emails will continue to reach people, and email marketing will continue to be advantageous for businesses. With open rates varying depending on the platform used, this trend should ideally stimulate a change to more reliable engagement-based metrics.

On the other hand, open rate data will no longer be regarded as credible for determining the most effective campaigns. We suggest the following ways to improvise your email marketing in the context of Apple’s new policy:

  • Click rates are decreasing, but the plus point is that you get the idea of how successful your email is and how many users have opened and clicked the link inside the email. So we may say that it’s one way to measure the success of your emails.
  • Email marketers should reconsider how the success of data is measured. Improvise strategies in any way possible to get a high click-through rate.
  • Marketers need to consider multi-channel metrics reflecting customer involvement, such as account activity, offline purchases, website visits, SMS engagement, mobile app activity, and email clicks.
  • Marketers should personalize their emails as much as possible and use best practices for email marketing. Generate content that is engaging, instructional, amusing, informative, or a mix of these attributes to prosper in the long run. Make sure the content motivates the recipient to open the email, check the content and click the link.
  • Business leaders must comprehend what this change means to prevent the misreading of metrics. Rather than making quick judgments, this is an excellent time to reconsider your email marketing strategy and begin searching for new ways to measure engagement with your marketing.

 

Marketers must alter email marketing efforts to provide excellent service to subscribers and retain email marketing performance. Apple’s privacy statement is not the only privacy spin-around affecting digital marketers. Even though the world is changing in ways that create issues for digital and email marketers, it doesn’t mean one can’t keep innovating the approach to meet prospects and audiences. While open rates are crucial, there are many more methods to get to know the email readers, learn from Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and provide them with valuable material.

Apple’s privacy modifications may be viewed as a barrier to their work for email marketers. However, the adjustments may improve and increase the effectiveness of email marketing. Better consumer privacy may need marketers to do a better job of analyzing and segmenting users. Apple’s mail privacy improvements don’t have to be as worrisome as they may appear, if you have a sound strategy and a competent team of email marketers.

iQuasar is a Northern Virginia headquartered company that has been in business for more than 15 years. We are experienced in working with SMB customers, among others. We provide business process outsourcing and Information Technology services like Proposal Development, Recruitment, Web Development, and Managed IT services. iQuasar’s Web Presence as a Service (WPaaS) helps small businesses build a professional web presence. We help small businesses be current with the online marketing trends and continuously showcase their business’ services and products to the right audiences.

 

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