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What Do Coming Apple Mail App Changes Mean for Marketing Email Metrics

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A look at Apple's planned Apple Mail App updates and how this will impact your email marketing metrics.

Apple recently made an announcement about a privacy-focused update coming to the Apple Mail app in the fall of 2021. 

Set to arrive with iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, the update will make it harder for email platforms to collect user data, which Apple describes as follows:

Protect Data from Third Parties

In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

What does this mean for email marketing metrics? 

Your email platform will not know if someone using the Apple Mail app on their device opened your email or clicked on a link. 

As a result, the total opens and clicks will decrease (as will associated performance metrics once Apple rolls out these operating systems. In most cases, the drop will be significant given Apple’s market share, particularly of the US mobile market.

This feature is also likely to affect sales emails. HubSpot may be unable to see if the recipient of a sequence email opened or interacted — the same way it won’t be able to track the activity on marketing emails.

What about tracking links?

Apple has not announced any plans to prune tracking parameters from links and Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention does not interfere with analytics tools like Google Analytics. If users click on a tracking link in Apple Mail, the session will still be recorded as appropriate. If for some reason you’re not using tracking links yet, now is a good time to start.

New Guide: The Truth About B2B Email Deliverability

How to determine the potential impact of these changes on your campaign?

Look through your email metrics and note the percentage of your audience that uses Apple Mail and Safari. 

In the below example, 22.1% of opens were using Apple Mail. Losing 20-25% of your opens will look like a significant drop in your metrics even if the real-world performance doesn’t change at all.

apple email changes
If you take a 3-6 month look at the metrics across your email campaigns, you’ll have enough data to make an intelligent estimate of the drop you (or your client) are likely to see.

Since you’ll still be able to track traffic from your email campaigns, those metrics will become even more important in accurately measuring performance. Sessions and Deliveries will be the most reliable metrics you can use to measure performance, as the Apple filtering is fully in the middle of the two.

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