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Apple’s Mail Privacy: What it means for email marketers and what to do next

What is Apple Mail Privacy?

During its annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) on June 7th, Apple unveiled a number of key privacy-focussed updates that will be included in the new iCloud and iOS 15 operating system.

Apple released ‘Mail Privacy Protection’ for their Mail app operating systems (iOS 14, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey) on all Apple devices on September 20th, 2021. According to Apple's Official Statement, ‘Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. It prevents senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity, or be used to determine their location’.

Why is Apple Mail so Important?

Apple iPhone, Apple Mail and Apple iPad which translates to the Apple Mail client on the iPhone, Mac, and iPad devices had over 46% of combined email opens in 2020 according to an annual email client market share data report by Litmus. Apple’s share of email opens has only grown this year with it being the third most popular place to open emails in 2020 according to Litmus, highlighting just how important Apple Mail currently is, and is becoming to be, in the email marketing world.

How has this update affected email marketing?

Apple have stopped senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user, this includes:

  • Opens
  • Time of Open
  • IP address
  • Location
  • Device Type

Email addresses configured to receive messages on the Apple Mail app will likely always show as being opened, regardless of whether they have been or not. This has led to inflated open rates, where in some cases, marketers may see 100% open rates from recipients using Apple Mail apps.

The ability to hide IP information has also resulted in gaps in geographic locations being used for geo-targeting. A generalised location is available, but content dependent on precise location data, or if you are using specific post codes, may not be accurately captured when emails are opened on Apple Mail.

What can marketers do to prepare?

UNDERSTAND THE POTENTIAL IMPACT Now is the time to understand how much of your audience / customer base uses Apple Mail to read your emails. You can look at Campaigner reports for a detailed breakdown of device types. Learn how to do it in this help article on Campaigner Reporting

EDUCATE YOUR CUSTOMERS We fully respect a person’s right to control their online experience and also their privacy, however, it is worth noting that by enabling this feature your customers may notice less relevant or less rich content in emails they currently enjoy receiving. Letting your customers know how this update/feature may affect their experience with your emails, allows them to make a fully informed decision.

RETHINK HOW YOU MEASURE PERFORMANCE Email open rates are often the first metric that marketers look at when gauging success. While this is undoubtedly an important metric, it should not be your guiding metric, even outside the context of the Apple Mail privacy update.

Measure and understand key performance metrics tied closer to your business goals such as sales, revenue or click through rates, among others. Learn more about conversion tracking here

REVIST SEGMENTATION AND WORKFLOWS Take a look at how you have set up segmentation rules and workflow trigger/branching logic as these may get skewed if you are using email opens as a trigger. Consider using link clicks or some of the other metrics listed in this article instead. Learn about link tracking here

Try using multichannel marketing with SMS

90% of all SMS messages are read within two minutes of receiving them, and 98% are read within 5 minutes, so SMS is an excellent marketing channel for connecting with your customers.

When combined with email, and used in our workflows and segmentation engines, SMS becomes an extremely powerful way to reach your customers where they most want to hear from you.



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