Mail Privacy Protection Checklist: Planning for the future

Trendline Interactive

3 minute read

While marketers wait to see how the Email Service Providers (ESPs) respond at the product level to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection updates, Trendline has created a checklist of six tangible parts of your email program that you should be thinking about and actioning on now to start planning for the future.

Once every email is delivered to an Apple Mail client registers as an “Open”, using open rates as a proxy for user engagement and intent will not be a reliable metric. It is hard to know what the size of that audience is, but we estimate the number to be close to 50% of most email lists (for some email programs that number will be shockingly higher).

We all know that the open rate itself has always been a flawed metric, but it’s important to understand just how intertwined it is into practically every aspect of email marketing. We don’t expect Apple to backtrack on any aspect of Mail Privacy Protection, so let’s take a look at what marketers can do now to start getting ahead of these upcoming changes (available September 20, 2021).

1. Journeys & Automations

Often used in decision splits, any business rule that includes “opened” singularly will need to be addressed. Perform an audit of what rules exist within your program currently and confirm if they still makes sense. Think about the logic behind those rules, and adapt your business rules accordingly to be ready.

2. Subscriber Segmentation

We have all been very reliant on classifying a subscriber as “active” or “engaged” based only on open data, but to better understand our audience we’ll need to shift our focus to click engagement, site behavior, app logins, and other signs of life from omni-channel activity. Start factoring in broader data points now!

3. Reporting

There are many metrics in email that reference the open rate, which will no longer be correct. Clicks and downstream activity post-click should be the focus. This is a great time to force some best practices when it comes to reporting. Focus on the intent of the email – what action did you want your audience to take and did they take that action? Review your options and loop your best practices into your reporting.

4. Calls-to-Action

Do you have a strong call-to-action? Is it clear and above the fold? Getting subscribers to engage with your calls to action is more important than ever before, and now is a great time to train your audience to click buttons and links. If you need to transition your measure of success for some campaigns from opens to clicks, it may be a sign you need to rethink your strategy. Conduct an audit of what you’re currently sending and adjust accordingly.

5. Testing

Map out some new testing scenarios, as tests that rely on opens to declare a winner will not be reliable and will need to shift to clicks and/or conversions. Conversion is key, so look at whether or not your audience is taking the action you are trying to get them to or not.

6. Real-time content

A number of use cases will be heavily impacted by the fact that images are downloaded once at the time of delivery, this will require a shift to “recent-time” (RIP countdown timers). Largely, any vendor that prices CPM on open rate will need to be reviewed. Measure the impact on your program.

Holding marketers to a higher standard

The fundamentals of email marketing are still the same with or without open rates, but by giving users the option to block  open data, Apple is in turn holding marketers to a higher standard. This higher standard will force marketers to be more innovative and creative with their content and their strategies and shift their focus to more valuable metrics like clicks and engagement.

The good news is that by taking action and working your way through this checklist now, auditing and amending your strategy and content to respond, your organization will generate more in-depth audience engagement data that can be used to generate more relevant, compelling and engaging copy.

We encourage you to start putting a heavier dependency on 1st party data and what you can learn about your audience (aside from whether or not they opened your email or not). Think about incorporating polls and other interactivity prompts into your emails, not just for the sake of garnering a click, but rather to get to know your subscriber base better.

Nobody can be sure what the true impact Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will have on the email marketing industry, but  marketers do still have time to respond. If you are feeling overwhelmed and would value some support as you navigate what the impact of the upcoming Apple updates will have on your program and your overall messaging strategy talk to Trendline today.






Trendline Interactive

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About the Author(s)

Trendline Interactive

Built from email marketing, Trendline Interactive is an agency and consultancy that inspires brands to create meaningful engagement through cross-channel communications. Our passion is that every single message sent is not only meaningful to the audience, but drives success for our clients.

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