We’ve talked about the basic functionality of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature, now it’s time to take a look at the aspects of email marketing that will be affected.
1. Open-rate metrics
Open-rate metrics will no longer be reliable for email lists with subscribers using Apple Mail. They will likely increase as Apple Mail returns an open when it pre-loads email content. There are metrics you can still use, such as click-through rate (CTR) and others that will be mentioned below.
2. A/B testing
Running automated A/B tests for subject lines based on opens will not be accurate if you have subscribers using Apple Mail. The test might receive a large number of unconfirmed opens, which will skew the results. For more accurate testing, use click rate as your metric for success.
3. Segmentation and targeting using IP addresses
Segmentation and targeting that uses IP addresses, such as abandoned cart emails or emails targeted at specific locations, won’t work as well anymore. IP addresses of Apple mail users will be masked so they can’t be linked to their location or online activity. While targeting based on behavior will be more difficult, you can ask subscribers for data in signup forms and surveys that can be used for targeting.
4. Countdown timers
Countdown timers might not work properly anymore. Because email content is pre-loaded and cached, the countdown timer version that is served up to the subscriber might show the time remaining from when the email was originally downloaded onto the device. Not from when the person opened the email. In this case, it will be up to ESPs to find a workaround.
5. Automation triggers
Automations based on opens will need to be rethought and adjusted. Campaigns such as lead-nurturing, auto resend, re-engagement, and send time optimized will be affected as open-rates are no longer reliable. To combat this, marketers should change the way their campaigns behave, such as triggering emails with time-based rules or clicks instead of opens.
6. Subscriber list
Email open data will no longer serve as a way to gauge email list health and subscriber engagement. There’s no way to know if opens are genuine or not, so this can’t be used reliably to clean up lists. Luckily, emails will only be cached for accounts when the Apple Mail app is active, so it will at least give you a good indication of which accounts are valid.