Apple’s commitment to privacy and security has been its bread and butter for each new release. While experts say that gaps remain, Apple’s continuous development to improve its security and privacy features has made them a notable organization for information protection—especially from email marketing schemes.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a new concept that has been introduced previously for organizations utilizing digital marketing. In fact, email marketing remains to be one of the most used digital marketing tactics by businesses.
Simply put, email marketing is sending out a mass email on your contacts list to promote goods and services. This can be done daily, weekly, or monthly in the form of welcome emails, email newsletters, standalone emails, or promotional emails, to name a few.
But wait, shouldn't they get my email address first if they’re going to email me?
That’s what email marketers' job is—to compile a list of leads and their email contacts. Many internet users don’t realize that inputting your email because of a Facebook Ad, a special offer, or to get a discount code are ways for email marketers to get email leads. With the help of email marketing software and their contacts list, they send marketing materials to convert leads into sales.
Traditional vs. Digital marketing?
Let’s face it, traditional marketing is still widely used by many organizations, say television and radio commercials, newspaper or magazine ads, posters and billboards, telephone calls, and text notifications. However, an effective marketing strategist would keep in mind that the evolving digital world will force the hands of marketers and CMOs to transition—or at most, budget a good portion of their marketing costs into digital marketing, and here’s why:
According to an annual report on the State of Mobile in 2022, a person spends 4.8 hours daily on mobile apps. That’s almost a third of a person’s waking time! As of 2021, 72 percent of U.S. adults use social media, with YouTube and Facebook as the leading social media apps most used in 2021, according to Pew Research Center.
With these data on hand, it is no surprise that given the target market spending their time mostly on mobile apps and modern technologies, marketers must shift their focus and be where their potential customers are.
Very popular digital marketing methods include email campaigns, content marketing, social media posts, clickable ads, affiliate marketing, and influencer marketing. Did you know that 60% of people are most likely to seek out a product after reading engaging content about it?
Michael Nemeroff, CEO, and Co-founder of Rush Order Tees, says, "Nothing beats digital marketing in terms of reaching millennials and Gen Zs. Because people are glued to their phones all day, businesses should adapt and be where their potential clients are, and that’s on their phones and computers either through social media or website ads.”
What is Apple MPP?
The Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is part of Apple’s iOS 15 and Mac OS 12 Monterey updates on September 20, 2021, as a step to let users control the privacy of their data, especially email addresses. And this move from Apple put email marketers worldwide into a frenzy.
Simply put, MPP hides a user’s IP address and disables ‘tracking pixels’ in the email’s HTML. These tracking pixels let email marketers know if the user has opened the email. This also gives the senders, in this case, the email marketers, pertinent data on the user like their location, the time and date it was opened, the device used, etc. With this data, email marketers can gather data for marketing metrics to curate better content.
When MPP is enabled, Apple sends a ‘copy’ of the content of the email in the Apple Privacy Cache. So when a user opens the email, Apple generates the copy from its cache, not the original email from the sender’s web host.
Note that this is not limited to emails using the Apple iCloud addresses only. As long as the email service (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) is connected to Apple Mail, and the feature is turned on, MPP will function just the same.
Effects and influence of Apple MPP on email marketing
Peter Robert, CEO and Co-Founder of Expert Computer Solutions says, “Our digital data is a reflection of ourselves and our daily activities. In the tech world where everything is accessible—there is nothing more important than protecting our digital data to protect ourselves.”
This move by Apple Privacy Protection is a massive blow to email marketers in particular, where digital data is a basis for rate benchmarks to assess marketing performance. Some examples of marketing metrics include:
- Open rates - measures how many recipients open the sent email
- Click-to-open rates - measure how many people clicked on your email and opened a link within that email
- Bounce rate - emails that could not be delivered to a recipient’s inbox
- Email sharing and forwarding rate - measures how many recipients clicked on a ‘share’ or ‘forward’ button in the email
These marketing metrics are essential data for email marketers to gauge whether email marketing content is resonating with recipients, engaging with your content, or how many of those email recipients are being converted, especially open rates.
Is this the death of email marketing?
Despite the challenges email marketers face with the onset of Apple’s MPP, this does not necessarily spell the end for companies’ email marketing efforts.
Email marketers have always relied on open rates—the rates at which emails are clicked and opened by the recipients. There’s no wonder why. It’s a straightforward metric to gauge recipient interaction, especially with exciting subject lines.
However, this metric type has been unreliable because an accidental click can also count as part of an open rate, which doesn’t necessarily fit with the purpose of an open rate. There are other email marketing metrics one can shift focus to that is more reliable than open rates.
"In every business sector, metrics are critical to measuring your performance. Without metrics, you can never gauge how you do well. Improvement and growth will become impossible." says PrizeRebel CMO, Jerry Han.
How can companies adapt to MPP?
What hasn’t changed about email marketing, despite the introduction of MPP, is the ability to create and send engaging content that generates more reliable metrics than a simple (and perhaps accidental) click.
Open rates are not necessarily dead.
Open rates are the most affected metrics by the adoption of MPP, but they’re still helpful for most organizations sending emails for engagement rather than sales. Despite being less accurate, open rates are still valuable information for email marketers in the long run.
Focus on other marketing metrics
If you think open rates aren’t any more effective for your organization, try focusing on other consumer metrics like session rates, clickthrough rates, or ROI. These metrics are better gauges of consumer engagement with your content.
At the same time, if your unsubscribe metrics are getting unusually plenty, it’s high time to rethink the timing and content of your emails.
Measuring the click rates of your CTAs is also a better metric for email marketing. Effective CTAs mean that your content is engaging and encourages people to want to know more about you through your CTA.
Segment your target
The primarily affected population of your recipients are Apple users, so creating a pool of reliable opens audience that uses non-Apple email clients will make your open rates reasonably effective in that particular segment.
Online users are more vigilant than ever about data privacy protection, especially in emails, to the point that many have opted for secure email providers' services to ensure that content is encrypted and protected.
Over the years, this behavior has alerted tech companies to place importance on user privacy protection. Apple MPP is just one of the many that have significantly affected the industry.
Apple MPP might seem like a huge blow to email marketing efforts. Still, as to any business threat, marketers who know how to navigate these challenges will create better opportunities in how their recipients and their behavior are studied.