The impact of Apple’s mail privacy protection: a year later

On September 20, 2021, Apple changed the landscape of email marketing forever with the launch of its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature. MPP prevents senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about their recipients, key customer data such as open rates and location tracking in particular.

This meant that email marketers had to shift their focus from open rate data and rely on other metrics to ensure the success of their campaigns, such as inbox placement, subscriber engagement, spam hits, unsubscribe rates and sender reputation. When the news broke, marketers expected that MPP would make it harder to measure email deliverability. And a year after its launch with iOS 15, we have seen our suspicions confirmed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

The change in email

While we understand how and why Apple privacy first philosophy led to the introduction of MPP, it has had some unintended consequences for subscriber engagement. The latest state of email scanning from Validity data shows that marketers are not enamored with MPP, with just 9% reporting that they feel positive about the upgrade. Of those respondents, 39% said MPP is having a significant impact on their business, and two-thirds believe it has permanently changed email marketing.

Some of those changes are not so welcome. Recent data indicates 34% of sellers saw a decline in email engagement, 32% saw lower deliverability, and 30% saw inflated open rates. Additional research found that if a sender’s pre-MPP Apple Mail open rates were 20%, now they will have a ratio of 4 to 1 from fake to real opens, which means that 80% of their reported opens are essentially junk data.

Recycled spam traps have also increased since MPP was introduced, a sign that many marketers are counting false opens or extending their lookback windows too far. This challenge is becoming more pronounced: in early October 2022, Apple’s intellectual property rights were reduced to below 60%.

The new rules of engagement

With global deliverability rates currently volatile, email marketers are in dire need of solutions to account for what is sure to be a difficult season.

In the wake of MPP, many senders have abandoned open rates as their preferred measure of engagement, turning mostly to click-through rates. While clicks are fewer and farther apart, they are a more accurate measure of engagement, and there are a number of optimization tactics email marketers can use to boost them.

If you take a close look at some of the marketing emails in your inbox, you’ll notice an increase in prompts to “click this” or “click here.” That is not a mistake. Behind every button is an email salesperson looking for proof of commitment.

We’re also seeing a shift toward more use of third-party data, which is intentionally provided by email subscribers rather than selected based on their behavior. One proven method of collecting this data is the preference center: a landing page that subscribers can use to choose the emails they receive. Submitters should be more proactive in promoting these pages and encourage their use for high personalized experience.

The case of BIMI

With MPP hampering efforts to measure engagement, shippers need to be more proactive in using tactics that simultaneously boost customer engagement and trust. Brand indicators for message identification, or BIMIhas proven to be a safe way to achieve this.

BIMI is an email specification that allows marketers to use brand controlled logos within supported mailbox providers. Reward sellers who strongly authenticate their messages by including an approved logo next to their official emails in recipients’ inboxes, so customers know their emails are actually coming from you.

gmail began its support for BIMI in July 2021, and with the release of iOS 16, Apple now supports BIMI as well. That means BIMI will now work in roughly 90% of all b-to-c inboxes, leading to higher BIMI-enabled sender trust, better brand recall, and a higher likelihood of making a purchase. purchase.

Right now, BIMI is a competitive advantage, as it’s not yet considered a must-have for email marketers. Early adopters will benefit from the positive attributes of BIMI in a way that competitors will not, especially as we continue to feel the repercussions of MPP.

MPP, for better or worse

While MPP has certainly made an email marketer’s life more nuanced, it has also forced us to be more creative with our email campaigns and how we measure their success.

Now is the time for senders to be strategic about how we drive clicks and appear reputable in the inbox. We know that recognizable emails from trusted sources are more likely to be opened, so Apple’s adoption of BIMI and subsequent support of branded emails will be a boon to those struggling to reach Apple users. .

The reality is that MPP is just an obstacle preventing campaigns from converting into customers. The increase in global email volumes, the extension of the holiday season, and the current economic climate are also putting downward pressure on email engagement. Email marketers should consider investing in deliverability tools that clear their path to the inbox and avoid the spam folder to generate more revenue and increase the lifetime value of their databases. It’s just a matter of emailing smarter, not harder.

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