Does Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection spell doom for Open Rates?

As you may already have heard, Apple recently announced that they will block open tracking (among other privacy directives) in September.

What does this mean exactly?

CRM and marketing automation platforms like ours will no longer be able to see if an email has been opened, or by whom, when opened in the Mail App on IOS devices.

Up to now, email senders have been able to track when and how many times contacts opened their email to help build a profile and the behavior of your customer. This new Mail Privacy Protection policy will “protect” users from tracking pixels and other forms of data collection.

Apple is not the first company to take a stand on tracking pixels. The email inbox app Hey made the blocking of tracking pixels and other forms of data collection a marquee feature.

Apple holds a near-monopoly on email consumption for mobile devices, with a market share of over 90% as reported by Litmus! Not to mention their desktop market share at just under 60%.

This is basically to say, after September, the open rate metric will essentially be useless.

What happens next?

I predict that other email inbox apps and platforms within the email economy will follow suit as the world becomes ever more privacy focused and consumers push back on “invasive” advertising practices, not that they have much of a choice now.

I’m sure some will also innovate new ways for companies to collect that ever so important customer data to build a customer profile.

Because your open rate will become useless, or at least a gross misrepresentation of the truth, you will have to lean on other key metrics to inform your decision making, like your click through rate.

Good news or bad news?

The sentiment on whether this is a positive or negative move is under debate. Yes, it will become more difficult for businesses to advertise and identify potential customers and opportunities, but there are positive side effects.

Because open tracking can no longer be used to collect data and identify potential customers, there will be a lot less “junk” email being sent. Many businesses that send fluff email to get the data from the tracking pixel will have to resort to other methods to get that data since it will no longer be lucrative. This will leave more room in the inbox for your legitimate email to be seen.

Email marketing has also had a heavy emphasis on the numbers and not the content. Since some numbers will matter much less, we’ll start to see much more purposeful content from senders. We recipients will be grateful for it.

Steps to take now!

So what can you do right now to prepare?

You should survey your contact list, ask them their preferred email client so you can know what you’re up against. You can create an email survey with Groundhogg easily!

You should also remove any automation or lead scoring rules which are dependent on email open activity as they will become useless and unreliable.

We are thinking of ways to make this easier for you in the coming future. But for now, these are some of the nuances marketers must be aware of. 

Let us know if you have any ideas!

Picture of Adrian Tobey

Adrian Tobey

Adrian is the founder and lead developer of Groundhogg. He believes that marketing automation should be simple and accessible so any business can use it to grow.

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