On June 7th, 2021, Apple announced new privacy tools for Apple Mail and Safari as part of the rollout of iOS 15, which is being released this fall between September and November.

Named “Mail Privacy Protection,” this update will automatically opt-in users but also provide a prompt to opt-out of the privacy changes. It will be the default setting for Apple users on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey.

These new privacy changes will impact any type of email account (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.) that is configured within the Apple Mail app.

Additionally, Apple will be masking IP Addresses, sending limited device information, and interfering with the use of pixels by making a request for the pixels when the email is delivered to the server—instead of when the email is opened.

In other words, this update is going to impact your email marketing strategy greatly. So, what now?

Luckily, we provide recommendations below to ensure you are properly prepared!

Quick Look at the Privacy Update Impact to Email Marketing

  • Loss of open metrics, time stamp, and forwarding tracking
  • Blocked IP Addresses
  • Option to hide personal email addresses with unique, random email addresses

How to Prepare Your Email Analytics

Open rates will now look inflated with Apple Mail opens at 100%, thus decreasing CTO rates and impacting list segmentation if based on opens.

We recommend moving away from dependence on open rates for engagement metrics and instead focus on click-through rates (clicks/delivered) as the new standard. Don’t forget about additional metrics that gauge performance such as unsubscribe rate, spam compliant rate, and subscriber lifetime value.

If you want open metrics for certain campaigns, such as Send Time Optimization, do these tests now.

These changes will enable retailers to explore opportunities to leverage better measures of customer value, like clicks and lifetime value, vs. opens. At Bluecore, we believe that clicks are a much more accurate indicator of actual customer engagement, which is the metric we center our shared-success business model and prioritize our roadmap around.

Our Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning models have long been optimized against clicks and performance, as opposed to less reliable indicators like open rates.

— Deniz Ibrahim, VP Product Marketing & Demand Gen at Bluecore

How to Prepare for List Segmentation

Adjust logic that uses open metrics for lists and dynamic content. You don’t have to remove this segmentation, you can include additional customer metrics like purchases, SMS engagement, and website browsing.

Update trigger campaigns, create new entry criteria for re-engagement campaign, and decide what success metrics work best for your brand.

Additionally, you should consider promoting preference centers to have subscribers update their email frequency settings and other personalized attributes.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to implement changes in time for the iOS release or need more strategies to sail successfully in the new winds of a privacy-driven web, drop us a line.

Contributors: Max Jones, Account Director, Senior Email Strategist, Jenny LeBlang, Email Marketing Strategist, and Taylor Heussner, Corporate Marketing Manager