Is Apple’s New Mail Privacy Protection Policy about to kill email marketing?

“If social media is the cocktail party, email marketing is the “meet up for coffee”. The original one to one channel.” – Erik Harbison

Last week we told you all about Apple’s announcement of its new Mail Privacy Protection policy that will effectively restrict email service providers (and advertisers) from gathering recipients’ info from email tracking pixels (i.e. email marketers will not be able to collect info about their audience).

Now it appears not only email marketers but marketers, in general, are all dumbfounded, somewhat aghast and reeling from Apple’s new digital protection policy. It might not necessarily destroy email marketing as we know it, but it’ll definitely alter the way commercial email senders operate. 

The demise of the tracking pixel will certainly create a few headaches for marketers. Yet, some marketers think focusing on other email metrics is as valuable, insightful and beneficial as the data provided from an email tracking pixel.

Brad Gurley: “Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection policy makes it more important than ever to take a more holistic view of your campaign performance. Clicks, conversions, site visits, landing page views, purchases, and other recipient-level metrics can still provide a picture of engagement to facilitate segmentation, targeting, and list management.”

Alex Williams: “Fundamentally, clicks and 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 behaviour. Once a user enables Mail Privacy Protection (and we expect close to 100% adoption), Apple will effectively download all images in every email pretty close to when it hits their servers rendering the ‘open rate’ and the ‘time of open’ useless, as every message sent to an Apple user will show as opened when they downloaded the images.”

According to Acxiom’s Director, Carolyn Nye, iOS 15’s Mail Privacy Protection policy is not enabled by default. Users have to opt-in. Considering people mostly open emails on smartphones and iOS and Android reign with the biggest (if not only) shares of that market, marketers should probably prepare – and expect – for people to take advantage of that opt-in and not disclose their email opens.

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection policy, however, is not the only new protection. Say hello to Apple’s Hide My Email which allows users to share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their personal email address private.” Simply put, the feature allows users to generate fake email addresses that forward to a person’s real email address. 

Now, don’t go running, screaming and panicking. As disruptive as the demise of the tracking pixel maybe for the email industry, we’re not going back to the early ages of email. But, tell, me how do you feel about all this new privacy protection? Are you already looking for new, innovative ways to measure engagement?

Final Thoughts

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Adi Angelova

Author Adi Angelova

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