Marketers: Don’t Panic Over Incoming Apple Mail Privacy Protection

By Ray Estevez, True Influence Chief Information Officer

Have you thought about the impact of Apple Mobile Privacy Protection on your email strategy?

At the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced privacy features for the upcoming iOS 15 mobile operating system. One of those features, Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is designed to keep third parties from tracking data in email, primarily tracking pixels in the message code. The new privacy protection feature will be available in the Apple Mail app late Q3 or Q4 2021. Not a lot of time for B2B marketers to react.

How Will Data Privacy Compliance Obscure Locations?

One area made more challenging by the Apple MPP will be determining the precise location of an email recipient. Instead, Apple will use their proxy servers to provide country-level information. This will still help marketers comply with CASL, GDPR and CCPA laws.  

Apple states in the MPP: “Rather than share your IP address, which can allow the email sender to learn your location, Apple’s proxy network will randomly assign an IP address that corresponds only to the region your device is in. As a result, email senders will only receive generic information rather than information about your behavior.”

What does this mean for B2B brands?

What We Advise B2B Marketers to Consider

While MPP will impact email, we’re encouraging B2B marketers to not lose heart. While there will be challenges, aren’t there always?

True Influence isn’t overly concerned about the negative impact from the MPP announcement. Apple has introduced privacy features in the past, but they haven’t truly impacted marketers’ capabilities. We’ve never relied solely on “open rates” to gauge the performance of our marketing campaigns. Opens have long been misused by marketers to inflate effectiveness. We’ve always relied heavily on user engagement (and our customers would not have it any other way.)

When we talk with B2B marketers about preparing for MPP impact, here’s what we advise:

  • Most importantly,  don’t panic. It’s a change to the marketing landscape, but marketers can still effectively engage, maintain email performance and drive leads.
  • Take a snapshot of email engagement prior to MPP going live. Use this information to enhance your customer profile and gauge the impact of your mitigations. 
  • Develop a broad set of performance metrics – opt-outs, spam complaints, LTV, purchases, clicks, likes, website visits, account logins, app usage, SMS engagement
  • Focus on clicks. Though open tracking will still be available on other email clients, start focusing on tracking engagement. It delivers better insights anyway. 
  • Create a reliable clicks audience. 
  • Revisit any automation processes that depend on opens as a trigger for follow-up emails.  
  • Create a reliable opens audience. Flag those users known to be using non-Apple email clients.
  • Research the distribution of Apple email users to understand the impact. 
  • Analyze your data to understand the makeup of devices and email clients being used.  Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft still make up the lion share of email clients. 
  • Use your zero- and first-party data to deliver personalized messages to prospects across digital channels, so you connect with them on the right devices.
  • Focus on email deliverability and hygiene before MPP goes live.
  • Expand your SMS/Mobile strategy or develop one if you don’t have one.

Omnichannel Strategy More Important than Ever

A comprehensive omnichannel strategy is now more important than ever. If you’re on the fence about omnichannel, now is the time to start considering it. Marketers must add channels like SMS (text), display, video and social media. These other channels all provide valuable opportunities for brands to engage audiences alongside email.

The key is to not panic. We’re using this challenge to innovate with our customers, so they continue delivering the best experience to their email recipients. At the end of the day, it’s still about getting buyers to engage with your brand. 

True Influence will continue to track Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection release and will keep you informed with our ongoing recommendations for marketing and data best practices.  

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