Apple's Mail Privacy Protection update has arrived

Why you need to pivot your email marketing strategy

7 Dec 2021

You may have heard a lot of chatter recently about internet privacy, or Apple’s very public disapproval of Facebook’s data exploitation. So this Apple update shouldn’t come as a huge surprise and eCommerce businesses need to take note of the Mail Privacy Protection feature within Apple’s latest iOS update. It’ll inevitably make a big difference to your email marketing strategy, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

What is the Mail Privacy Protection feature?

Next time you update your Apple phone or computer, you’ll upgrade to the newest iOS 15.1 software. This includes new privacy controls that provide more transparency and authority over your data. When you open the Apple Mail app, you’ll be asked if you want to protect your privacy.

This means:

1. Your IP address will be hidden.

2. Your location won’t be visible.

3. It will hide if you’ve opened an email.

Therefore, it’s blocking and changing the way advertisers and marketers track customer purchasing behaviour.

Apple Mail is popular, so what’s the impact?

Turns out, a large proportion of people use Apple Mail instead of Gmail or other alternatives. Email marketing company Litmus completed an analysis of three billion email opens at the beginning of 2021. They discovered that iPhone users with Apple Mail had 38.9% of email opens (the biggest share). Gmail was second at 27% and desktop Apple Mail was at 11.5%.

It’s from these consumers that businesses may no longer be able to collect data, depending on their privacy controls. Your first clue will be a significant increase in your open rates. Customers who enable the Mail Privacy Protection will now display mail as opened, even if they haven’t read it.

Previously, open rates were important because they indicated how your subject lines were resonating with your audience. Going forward, this data won’t be readily available, shining a brighter spotlight on click-through rates (CTR) instead.

The way forward – CTR matters

Instead of looking to customers’ open rates for answers, eCommerce sellers will need to pivot their email reporting. The goal is to track what drives customers to click-through.

Firstly, take a close look at your email lists and make sure you’re targeting the right people. You can do this by regularly checking engagement and removing subscribers that don’t seem interested anymore. With clean lists, you’ll keep user engagement high and maintain brand reputation by keeping out of spam folders.

Once you have a clean email list, focus on enhancing your CTR (clicks divided by impressions). A good click-through rate is anywhere between 1% and 5% depending on the industry, but it’s always good to aim high! Here are some simple methods for improving your CTR:

  • Segment your email campaigns. For example, loyal customers shouldn’t be receiving the same emails as prospective customers. Each needs different calls to action, so target audiences separately.
  • Generate clicks with keyword optimisation and email criteria. You could test out keyword efficiency and conversion first through Facebook Ads, for example.
  • Report on site entrances and email conversions via Google Analytics and Tag Manager, rather than open rates via mail systems. • You can have too many CTAs. In some instances, it may be more effective to offer a single, well-thought-out CTA. Without the choice overload, people may be more inclined to click through. Just something to test!

This isn’t the end of email marketing, but it is the start of data protection

20 years ago, new features in email applications allowed users to mark mail as spam. This shook the marketing world and many saw it as the end of email marketing (just as many people are doing with this update). But if spam boxes didn’t end email marketing, neither will privacy updates. What they will do is force businesses to learn and adapt, and create more effective campaigns that deliver what customers want – without compromising their privacy.

It’s not just Apple that believes in data protection. Recently we have seen a huge increase in privacy-driven spending across all industries. Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Privacy 2021 report noted that “customer demand is driving a mandate for digital ethics in businesses, resulting in more legislation to protect data privacy and data security.” This indicates that although it won’t be the end of internet marketing, businesses and marketers will need to start putting the privacy of their customers at the centre of everything they do in the future.

Improve your marketing while respecting customer privacy

With today’s reliance on technology, we tend to agree with Apple – all eCommerce businesses need to consider their privacy responsibilities. With new and creative solutions, you can still reach your customers effectively using email, but in more privacy-centric ways. It’s a win-win for your customers and your online business.

At Solutionists, we’re experts in B2C email marketing. For strategic help adapting to this new Apple policy, talk to the team today.

author:

Solutionists

date published:

7 Dec 2021