At its conference in early June, Apple announced important new features including Mail Privacy Protection built into iOS15 which will be released from September 2021. This new feature changes the way you have to look at the open rates of your email deliveries. At risk is the tracking of opens and the collection of data that shows you when, where and on what type of device emails are opened. Let’s try to understand what this means.
The new Mail Privacy Protection feature for iOS15
Every user has the possibility to click the appropriate field and enable the new policy. By doing so, they choose to no longer give you visibility into their behavior in front of your email, impacting the amount and quality of information you can collect and track. This will have some consequences:
- All images will be considered downloaded and the number of opens will be overestimated.
- It will not be possible to detect the type of device and the distinction between mobile and desktop opens will be less accurate.
- Geolocation-based personalisation will be penalised by no longer having data on where emails are opened.
- The time of opening will be inaccurate, making it impossible to program automations or triggers based on this information.
It is clear that the impact of the new feature on your business will depend on the email client used by your customers.
To give you a rough idea, in 2020, 47% of devices will be Apple devices and 13% of users will use the Apple Mail application to check their mail (source: litmus.com).
Direct consequences for marketers
At this point, some initial warnings are necessary, many of them related to the topic of audience profiling and segmentation.
- Beware of A/B tests that focus on the subject. If the open rate determines the winning rate, from September this KPI could be incorrect information and lead you in the wrong direction.
- This will also have repercussions on real-time personalisation activities, i.e. on those that provide for immediate actions at the instant of opening: the information will no longer be available in a precise manner.
- There are also difficulties in this area for automations: action triggers following email openings can activate particular initiatives towards incorrect targets.
- Problems for re-engagement campaigns. Dormant people for example may no longer be dormant or may still be dormant but not show this.
- Dynamic countdown images will not be updated as they always refer to the time of sending and not the opening.
- Proper list management using active contacts will no longer be able to rely solely on the opening date of the email.
What can you do to arrive prepared in September?
- Remove inactive contacts, i.e. those who have not opened your communications for some time and who impact deliverability. In the future, emails will be opened that are not actually opened and this will distort the contact behavior data. Immediate database optimisation is useful and should be repeated periodically to reduce the possibility of spam on unengaged users and to maintain a high reputation.
- Evaluate alternative KPIs according to your brand’s business, objectives, type of campaigns, etc.: clicks, increase in visitors to your ecommerce, increase in newsletter subscriptions, impact of deliveries on revenue or purchases influenced in a given period of time. Rely on deliverability experts to analyse the history and all available values. Start with the data, set up preventive strategies to reduce the impact of the new policy, keep the reputation high and modify the monitoring parameters after its activation.
- With the support of experts, but also autonomously thanks to dashboards and reports available on the platform, make an assessment to understand how many active contacts actually use the Apple Mail application in order to hypothesise the possible impact.
There is still some uncertainty around this topic due to the lack of definitive information. We have taken steps to better understand this new feature and the likely implications for brands and marketers who make extensive use of email for marketing communication campaigns.
Together we can hypothesise actions to be taken before the feature is live, and also afterwards. Contactlab offers what is necessary to deal with this news too. We avoid knee-jerk reactions, there is no need to completely change your email marketing strategy. We evaluate alternative options to obtain quality data, for example by collecting more and better customer information in targeted forms or during the engagement process, optimising the database and analysing the data regularly.
Although this may seem critical at first glance, the new feature could become an opportunity. The email is worth much more than an open, you could evaluate the return of your campaigns with new indicators, perhaps more useful for business and future choices. Contact us and together we will see what solution is best for you.