How Apple’s “Mail Privacy Protection” Changes Email Marketing: Part 1

Trendline Interactive

2 minute read

JULY 13 | 1 PM EST

Live webinar | 1 hour

Apple introduced new privacy features at its annual Worldwide Developer Conference last week, and the impact they will have on email marketing is nothing short of an earthquake. The Mail app in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey will now allow users to opt-in what they are dubbing “Mail Privacy Protection,” which will effectively break the “open rate” and all of the data that traditionally comes with it.

Certain aspects of every email program are about to change. While the open rate itself has always been a flawed metric, it’s weaved into practically every aspect of email marketing, for better or worse. The fundamentals of email marketing are still the same with or without open rates. We don’t expect Apple to backtrack on any aspect of Mail Privacy Protection, so you should probably start getting ahead of it.

Join Zack Aab, Scott Burdsall, and Alex Williams as they discuss Part 1 of this 2-Part series. Here are the topics they will cover in this 1-hour session:

  • Reporting – All of the metrics that include Opens (Clicks to Opens, Unique Clicks to Opens, etc…) will stop being useful with Mail Privacy Protection enabled. The email specific reporting tools that show time spent reading, device used, forwarding/printing will also stop being useful. Clicks and conversions have always been the critical signal to a thriving email program anyway, and the removal of opens doesn’t change that. If anything, email has always been under-attributed because of the simplicity of the open rate (which has never meant they actually read the email anyway.) Now will be a great time to reconsider your attribution model to show the true impact of email on your organization. 
  • Subject Line Testing – This one will be interesting, as many ESP’s have tools that facilitate A/B tests for subject lines, delivering the winner to the rest of the audience based on open rates. It will be interesting to see how they address that functionality in the future. As with many other areas, testing using opens will need to shift to clicks. While it is still early, some folks have been discussing moving to test subject lines to a non-Apple audience. 
  • Deliverability – Some of the most vocal critics of Apple’s changes have argued that open rates are critical for maintaining a healthy list. While I sympathize with that argument, the trade-off for privacy is too high. There are plenty of other signals and data points to use, and I would expect to see some innovations from service providers to address these concerns. 
  • Subscriber Segmentation – If your classification of ‘active’ or ‘engaged’ includes subscribers who have only opened an email, this will need to change. Fundamentally, clicks & conversions are a much higher quality signal of intent anyway, along with activity in other channels such as your app/website as well as offline behavior. 



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