Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection: New Direction in Which the World is Going

As of September 20, 2021, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection is in effect. This, quite understandably, has made the email community around the globe – ExpertSender clients included – uncertain as to what it means to them. So, to ease your mind, we’ve prepared some answers. 

What is Mail Privacy Protection? 

Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is a new Apple feature that limits the ability to accurately determine whether or when an email message has been opened, where a contact is located when they open it, as well as the type of device and client a contact is using when they open it. This feature only affects contacts using the Apple Mail application

MPP has been made available for the Mail app on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 devices, and we can expect it to be available also for their desktop application later this year. Importantly, this option is not enabled by default – users need to turn the protection on manually. 

Key fact no. 1: implementing MPP is a unilateral decision made by Apple and all businesses involved in email communication have to deal with the same limitations. 

Key fact no. 2: this is not a drama 😊 Sure, marketers around the world face new challenges, but it doesn’t mean that email marketing is about to extinct. Below you’ll find some suggestions on how to deal with this situation. 

Apple’s MPP & ExpertSender 

This change affects all ExpertSender clients, and we all have to live with it. MPP affects all email messages opened using the Apple Mail app on any device, regardless of the email service used. But it doesn’t affect other email apps used on Apple devices, such as the Gmail app for iPhone. 

Here are the key challenges that our experts will help you respond to: 

  • Open rates will be inflated, at least as far as your Apple-using customers are concerned.  
  • A/B tests results that are based on open rates will not be accurate. 
  • Workflows: if they are triggered by email opens/non-opens, they will be sent to a larger/smaller audience. 
  • Open Trigger: you can no longer be 100% sure if your contact has indeed opened your email, so you may end up spamming your contact with consecutive messages, and they will not understand why they received another email when they haven’t reacted to the first one. 
  • Geolocation data for your opened messages will be generalized, meaning that instead of a detailed location, an approximation will be provided (e.g., New York State instead of Ithaka). 
  • Sending Time Optimization will be confused as part of the data on contacts’ recent email activity will be inaccurate. 

We Are Here to Help You! 

To help you get used to this new reality, we’ve prepared some tips to follow: 

  • Tip 1: Estimate the size of the impact by checking how many of your contacts use Apple Mail. The more of them, the more likely the inflated open rates. 
  • Tip 2: Start trusting clicks (especially if you’re in affiliate marketing), bounces, unsubscribes and conversions more, and do not rely on the open rate as your main performance metric 
  • Tip 3: Expand your trigger criteria to include stronger engagement criteria, e.g., clicks or purchases. 
  • Tip 4: Update your A/B tests to include click rates rather that open rates. 
  • Tip 5: Your workflows based on opens will not be as precise as they used to be. Create new workflows in their place. 

Instead of a Summary 

Apple’s MPP is yet another step in the new direction world is going – and there’s nothing we can do about it. But fear not, you are not alone! If you have any doubts how this new situation is going to affect your particular business, we’re here to assist you 😊 

Written by
Jarek Wasielewski
Digital Content Specialist at ExpertSender
After work: local historian. Double bass enthusiast.
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