Blog post

Privacy Protection: What email marketers need to know

min read

Email marketers worldwide are no stranger to paradigm shifts borne from technological advancements and evolving consumer preferences. Now, the announcement of a game-changing privacy feature at the heart of Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference has compelled organizations around the globe to reevaluate their email marketing strategies. So, what’s the upcoming feature that’s causing such a stir across industries? Mail Privacy Protection. It sounds innocuous—but may prove challenging for some marketers.

What is Mail Privacy Protection for Apple Mail?

Expected to launch in September for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey devices, Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is a new feature that prevents email senders from collecting key user data when enabled. Notably, this applies to information around opens and IP addresses. For example, devices using the Apple Mail app with MPP enabled will report 100% open rate no matter what, inflating overall statistics. Plus, since MPP masks IP addresses, they can no longer be linked to online activity or used to determine geolocation.

How does MPP work from a technical standpoint?

  1. During the software upgrade or onboard flow, users are prompted to enable Mail Privacy Protection.
  2. If enabled, the user’s IP is routed through Apple’s servers, removing any IP or geolocation information.
  3. Remote content is loaded via an Apple server upon delivery, preventing the ability to track open rate.

Why is MPP important to email marketing strategy?

Considering the open rate metric is often relied on for reengagement campaigns, A/B subject-line testing, send time optimization, segmentation, personalization, deliverability monitoring and other tried-and-true tactics, it’s understandable why some are calling this a watershed moment for email marketing. Although MPP is not enabled by default, Augeo anticipates a significant user acceptance rate in line with that of App Tracking Transparency from iOS 14. We also anticipate Google to take a similar approach to mail privacy on Android devices in the coming year—further solidifying this new normal for email marketers.

How can email marketers prepare for MPP?

Start with evaluating your reporting strategy. Review the KPIs you are currently using to inform your decisions and determine if they will be affected by the new MPP policy. If the answer is yes, first you will want to archive historical data for future use. Next, begin communicating your analysis with stakeholders. Research alternative metrics and make a recommendation. Most importantly, ensure you have a plan to communicate with all stakeholders including executives, sales, account teams, marketing and technology.

Consider these actions to prepare for the MPP update:

  1. Implement additional analysis around email sends and site engagement.
  2. Elevate testing procedures to allow for A/B testing without the use of open rates.
  3. Enable a process to intake and analyze historical data.
  4. Inform stakeholders of new reporting metrics and date of effective change.

MPP will affect many organizations. By taking a strategic approach and proactively implementing the actions above, marketers will be able to continue to segment emails, personalize the user experience and drive consistent performance for their audiences.

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