The new Apple MPP and its impact on Email Marketing

Apple MPP

In September 2021, Apple launched its new privacy functionality embedded in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. This update includes the notorious Apple MPP (Mail Privacy Protection), a feature destined to alter Email Marketing practices as we know them. In this article, we will analyze thoroughly the changes this new development brings and propose alternative ways to adapt your email marketing strategy to the new reality.

What does the new Apple MPP include and how will it work

In order to fully understand how this policy will define email marketing, first, let’s take a deep dive into the functionality and purpose of this new tool.

What is the Apple MPP

Last June Apple announced all the changes this new update will introduce to secure its users and their data, giving them different options with regards to their mail preferences. From now on, Apple customers will have the opportunity to go through their privacy settings and modify how often an application will have access to their data such as location, microphone, or camera, in the last seven days. The Apple Mail Privacy Protection (Apple MPP) is not activated by default, each user will have to turn it on or off manually, and, then, each device associated with that specific user ID will be synchronized accordingly.

How will the Apple MPP work

At its core, the Apple MPP will disable third parties from acquiring pixels of data that were previously used to monitor the users’ interactions with the websites they visit. Trackers will no longer be able to collect viable info about their customers and create a conclusive buyer persona. These new features will interfere with understanding customer behavior designed for remarketing purposes.  It will affect open rates, while also masking IPs, and preventing senders from accumulating information about the visitors’ online activity and location. Specifically, the MPP will hide if a user actually opened an email campaign, the exact time of the interaction, and the type of device used, making it all the more difficult for marketers to approach their clients.

Notwithstanding,  despite the users’ “incognito mode”, not everything will change.  Your email campaigns will continue to arrive at your targets’ inbox, users will still interact with your communication, and engagement will still be accounted for. What will definitely change is the ability to actually monitor the open rates; it is highly likely that all emails will be considered as “open”, despite the actual activity of the contact, resulting in falsely increased and distorted numbers. Lastly, the location may not be entirely precise, but it will still refer to a country and state-level scope.

What’s the release date of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection?

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection was announced at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2021 and was later released to the public on September 20, 2021. It is incorporated by default on the latest iPhones and iPads, but the users have to opt manually for the feature’s activation.

How will the new Apple MPP interfere with Email Marketing Strategies?

Email Marketing, being the channel with the highest conversion rate under the omnichannel umbrella, will face various challenges and roadblocks with this recent alteration. Statistics show that even though Android users account for the majority of the world’s OS market share, with a triumphant 73%, 38% of email users open their correspondence on iPhones and 28% on Gmail. 

The main threat of the Apple MPP is based on the fact that the metrics and data gathered from email open rates will be mostly inflated, therefore not quite as valid.  Marketers will have a hard time determining the success of a campaign, establishing upcoming goals, and estimating the overall effectiveness/ROI of each strategy. 

How to prepare and get ahead of your competitors

First of all, do not be alarmed. The Apple MPP feature is not that different from Gmail’s image server proxies that were implemented in 2013. Secondly, open rates were already providing false-positive results. In any case, there are ways to make the best out of this situation and still get a competitive advantage: 

  • Split your contacts to Apple and Non-Apple users using our segmentation tool and treat each list differently as of now.
  • Establish new criteria for the Apple subscribers that will aid you in better indicating the success of your campaigns. Instead of measuring opens, start monitoring conversions or purchases. 
  • Modify the parameters of your segments and expand the triggers of your automations. Change open or location parameters and replace them with more credible metrics, like clicks or purchase history. 
  • Use alternative scenarios when you want to resend a campaign for your Apple subscribers list. 
  • Collect intel about your contacts’ locations on your sign-up forms, using ZIP codes instead of IP addresses.

Email marketing will always evolve and so should you

Apart from the Apple MPP, privacy regulations have started taking effect for some time now, but email marketing will always find new ways to evolve and reach its desired audience. Open rates have not been credible data for marketing strategies for years now, proving that performance metrics have a lot of room for improvement. Omnichannel customer engagement is based on the consent of the customer, therefore, even if some metrics appear off, the brand loyalty stays intact.

Coming up with new ways to measure the results of your campaigns will prove beneficial for your strategy and will give you the edge you need. Implement thorough data and market research, conduct new A/B tests (tip: use click rate instead of open rate), adapt your business plan, and get creative.

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