Today is the day
Apple just released iOS 15, which includes its latest privacy feature, Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). This has been a hot topic among marketers since Apple first announced their plans to introduce the feature back in June.
Regardless of how much (or how little) you chose to prepare your email program for this release, it introduces a huge change for marketers. Yes, change is hard, but this is not the first radical change the email industry has been thrown, and it certainly won’t be the last. You’ve successfully navigated industry shifts in the past, and we’re confident MPP won’t be any different. Validity is here to help ensure you have the right information and tools to continue to drive results through your email campaigns.
Your MPP refresher
So, let’s quickly recap what MPP is and the changes you can expect to see now that it’s live.
MPP prevents senders from using tracking pixels to measure open rates and device usage, while also masking recipients’ IP addresses to prevent location tracking. It accomplishes this by prefetching and caching email images at the time emails are delivered (provided the device is connected to the internet). This means all tracking pixels will fire, regardless of whether the recipient actually opened the email. Therefore, your open rates for this segment will skyrocket, but it won’t be because more people are engaging with your email.
MPP impacts all subscribers who use the Apple Mail app with MPP enabled, regardless of which mailbox provider they use. For example, if your subscriber has a Gmail mailbox but views all their email on their phone using the Apple Mail app, they’ll be subject to this process. Validity data shows that Apple Mail dominates email client usage with ~40% of global market share, so the impact to your subscriber base is significant.
With the release this morning, Apple users are in the process of upgrading their software and enabling the MPP feature. Therefore, the highly anticipated impact on tracking open, device, and location metrics is about to become very clear. If you have yet to adjust your engagement reporting strategy, there is an immediate need to do so.
Where to focus
Senders acknowledge that the open rate has become an increasingly flawed metric. However, opens have long provided signals for established best practices like engagement-based segmentation, triggered email generation, and identification of optimal send times to name a few – and senders value the metric for this.
Luckily, senders still have access to many other accurate signals that can provide a broader view of the engagement their programs generate. Here’s where to focus to overcome the changes introduced with MPP:
- Inbox placement rates. Unlike delivered rates, which simply measure sent less bounced, inbox placement rates can be used as a proxy for open rates. Mailbox providers consider subscriber engagement (whether positive or negative) when making spam filtering decisions. Therefore, great open rates mean better inbox placement.
- Sender reputation signals. Similar to inbox placement rates, your sender reputation is impacted by subscriber engagement. So, your reputation scores provide important clues as to whether emails generate positive or negative engagement. Great open rates = stronger reputation = better inbox placement!
- Deeper funnel metrics. Metrics deeper down in the conversion funnel, such as clicks, website visits, and conversions, did not go away with MPP. In fact, they provide even stronger indications of subscriber interest than your open rates did. Combining these metrics with your deliverability metrics (listed above) allows you to connect the dots and effectively measure true campaign performance beyond opens.
- Zero-party data. There is now a greater need to focus on acquiring “zero-party data.” This is data customers intentionally and proactively share. If subscribers genuinely value their privacy, but also want to receive relevant and personalized messages, they will provide the information to brands they like and trust. With zero-party data, you can continue to have access to valuable subscriber data that you lose with MPP and can use this data to deliver the relevant and personalized communications your subscribers expect.
- List hygiene. Regular list validation becomes even more critical in an MPP world. Many senders rely on open rate data to inform their inactive strategies. Now, you can no longer rely on this information to make decisions to suppress inactive email addresses. Instead, you must put more focus on regular validation of the email addresses you’re sending to so you can identify addresses that are no longer working. If you don’t, you’re likely to see a hit to your reputation and inbox placement.
Here to help
We want to ensure you have the tools and information you need to turn MPP into a win for you and your email program. Our email success platform, Everest, allows marketers to measure true email engagement, beyond open rates, to evaluate email campaign success and make data-informed decisions with crucial insights into inbox placement rates and sender reputation signals.
To address the changes introduced with MPP, the team has introduced new engagement features so senders can continue to make actionable decisions based on the data available to them. Everest users can segment subscribers by email client to remove the noise that MPP has introduced into email reporting. Everest also allows users to glean value from the Apple Mail data, as it still provides value for recipient email address validation and inbox placement confirmation.
Apple’s release of MPP is another step in a longer journey towards greater focus on consumer privacy. Although the changes might feel overwhelming at first, it is a great opportunity to reevaluate your engagement reporting strategy and place more focus on the metrics that matter.
As you start to observe changes to your engagement metrics (if you haven’t already), don’t panic. You have the information you need to look beyond your skewed open rates for a more complete and accurate view of campaign performance.
Our team is working hard to test the impacts of MPP now that it is live. Continue to check our blog as we’ll be providing updates with our latest learnings, and we’ll continue to find innovative ways to make your team successful in navigating change in the email ecosystem.
In the meantime, learn more about how Everest can help you continue to drive results through your email campaigns despite these shifts.