The following questions have been frequently asked since Apple announced their privacy protection plans coming in the September iOS update.
1. Will Apple’s privacy protection cause open rates to go up or down?
Due to the pre-fetch function of images that Apple plans to release for Apple Mail, regardless of whether the user ultimately opens an email or deletes it, Apple Mail Privacy Protection will result in increased open rates among email recipients using Apple Mail across Apple devices.
2. Will this affect my use of website analytics or tracking?
Delivra’s tracking integrations for clickstream, purchases, browsing, and google analytics use query string parameters - values appended to the end of URLs - to identify user, campaign, medium, etc. These parameters drop cookies on the browser that tracks data back. These integrations do not rely on tracking pixel images, which is a common misconception.
Industry research and CM Group testing show no indication of query string parameters being removed from URLs by Mail Privacy Protection or Private Relay, but that is subject to change at Apple’s will.
3. Will this interrupt click tracking?
Email click tracking does not appear to be affected by Apple’s Private Relay or Mail Privacy Protection functionality. Clicks will still be tracked as they legitimately happen. Our testing shows no indication that Apple Mail Privacy Protection will fetch links in advance of a user clicking, or opening an email, like they expect to do for images.
4. Is open rate relevant anymore?
It's important to understand that open rate is not the only email metric that provides an understanding of audience engagement. Click rates and other conversion metrics like page views, purchases, etc. are strong indicators of engagement that should be considered. Open rates as a whole will provide meaningful information for your subscriber base, not just Apple users. Delivra will continue to report open rates for sent campaigns.
5. Can I segment out my Apple users?
Delivra does not offer native segmentation by email client, but it’s feasible that one could use the environment tracking available in some open reports, or create segment clauses that capture domains @icloud, mac or me.
While this is an attractive first thought, to segment and communicate with Apple users differently, once users enable mail privacy protection, we will no longer accurately know who is using Apple Mail. And further, this does not mean you’ve captured all Apple Mail users or that those users are exclusively opening email using the iOS mail app. Users may also use other ISP accounts like Yahoo or Gmail but access those inboxes via the Apple Mail app. At this time, it is our understanding these accounts will also be affected by this change.
Segmenting on device and/or domain creates a lot of daily overhead for marketing teams and is naturally limited in its accuracy. This is not an advisable segmentation strategy long-term.
6. Can we still perform meaningful A/B test campaigns?
A/B test functionality will continue to support the testing of Subject lines. Though Apple user data may inflate open numbers, it's important to understand that Apple does not make up your entire subscriber base.
We additionally recommend that you try shifting your focus from open metrics and instead use click or clickstream metrics to measure success.