What did Apple announce?
At their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC21) on June 7, 2021 Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection for their Mail app on three Apple devices: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, to be launched between September and November 2021.
Currently incoming emails include hidden pixels that allow the email senders to collect information about the user, such as the Internet Protocol (IP) address, how many times the email is opened, location, device, and if the email is forwarded.
If users activate the Policy, it will prevent senders from collecting information from the user’s Mail. Instead, senders will receive general information, rather than specific information about the user’s behavior, so a personal profile cannot be created.
Email marketers will be affected by the fact that one of the email metrics, open rate, will not be tracked anymore.
What is Apple changing?
Protect data from senders
The Privacy Report Policy does not track invisible pixels to get information about the users, therefore, email marketers will no longer be able to track the open rate.
Moreover, as the IP address will be masked it will also not be possible to know their location or to link them to other online actions, such as their performance on your website (if you include its link in the email). The profiles made by the IP address with the information about their activity online will not be possible when it is launched.
App Privacy Report
This is a really big change for data privacy because users will be able to enter the App Privacy Report and see how often apps have used their previous permission to access their camera, microphone, photos, location, and contacts.
You can see examples of this shared by Apple. Moreover, the users will be able to see which domains have access through that app to their information and allow them to change the level of access in the settings.
Hide my email
It will enable people to create an unlimited number of unique and random email addresses to register for new apps and services. The email messages sent by those email addresses will continue to arrive at their primary email address.
Send signed messages
To be able to send signed messages you will need a personal certificate. Moreover, to send encrypted messages that certificate needs to be in your keychain.
The certificate is an attachment to an electronic document that enables the secure transfer of information over the Internet. If it is a secure site the information such as the credit card number and addresses will be encrypted, meaning that it is protected.
This certificate will be stored in the user’s keychain, a place in an Apple device where your secure data is stored. The keychain holds passwords, usernames, credit card numbers, and other secure information. It can be managed on the Keychain Access app on Mac and in Settings, clicking on iCloud Keychain on iPhone.
Share current location
Whilst this is a small change is it worth mentioning, that with the new release users will be able to customize their shared current location and allow the apps only to see it once. This adds a level of privacy for users, allowing them to choose if and when they want tracking switched on.
This may affect some email campaigns but is not the most important part of this update.
The inability to track open rates and location may have a negative effect on the following points:
Companies using such information will have to reconsider the different segmentations in order to better adapt to this new Apple product.
How it will affect emails
Will no longer be able to use open rates, forwarding rates, device identification, and location of emails sent; you will need to rely more heavily on other sources of information to determine the effectiveness of your emails.
Moreover, you should consider that the users will access the App Privacy Report where they will see how often apps have used their previous permission to access their camera, microphone, photos, location, and contacts. Therefore, if you abuse the use of their private information they will probably restrict your access to it.
Consequences due to the non-continuation of Open Rate
As it won’t be possible to continue using Open Rates when the new Mail Privacy Protection is launched we need to adapt:
Correlating multiple data will be even more important. You should focus on CTR, the audience’s actions made on your emails, and the traffic of the landing pages in order to analyse the effectiveness of your campaign. You should closely track other KPIs like spam complaints, unsubscribe rate, and Inbox Placement Rate. Our previous article explains the most important KPIs to take into consideration with email marketing. You can read it here.
Third-party tools will become more important as they will remain a metric of the quality of your outgoing traffic. To ascertain the engagement of your recipients and the performance of your email deliverability, you will need to use tools such as seed list and pre-flight tests, third-party trackers, landing page tracking, and visitor engagement analytics.
A/B testing subject lines will not work anymore because it uses the number of open rates made by each subject line to determine which one is better.
Segmentation: you will not be able to segment using by the last open date. However, you could segment them by active and inactive users, by where the audience is in your sales funnel or by the website activity (based on the pages that people visited).
The automated flows: which depends on open rate will no longer be available.
Send-time optimization: which depends on open rate will no longer be available.
Consequences of not knowing the exact location of the recipients
Not knowing the exact location of the recipients will have several impacts on the marketers, these are the ones you should take into account in order to adapt your business to the new Mail privacy protection:
Local information in the email: emails that open information about the local things such as the local weather and the nearest store location with the corresponding time of opening because it won’t be possible anymore.
Reference external CSS: is a separate film linked to an HTML website but as you will not be able to get information about the location the email that contains a reference external CSS will probably not work.
To wrap up
Our advice for email marketers is to review your data before Apple launches the new release to collect and save information about the interaction of the recipients with the email.
For example, knowing when is the best time to send an email campaign regarding the number of emails opened.
To sum up, marketers will no longer be able to: