We’re seeing more developments around user privacy rights online. We’re sharing this news ahead of Apple’s OS/iOS 15 update to make sure that you’re ready for any changes.
What’s new with the macOS Monterey/iOS 15 update?
At Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in June, Apple announced a rollout of new Privacy features. One of these most pertinent new features is a Mail Privacy Protection feature. This update lets people opt in to mail privacy features that block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data. They do this with tracking pixels, which we’ll focus on in this blog, but also IP masking.
The feature will be available for users of Apple’s Mail app for iOS, iPadOS, MacOS, and WatchOS.
Developers on the iOS beta releases have shared images of the prompt to turn Mail Privacy Protection on:
In the past, data from an email was automatically loaded when the email recipient opened the email and downloaded the email's images. A hidden tracking pixel is included within this data which allows your email service providers (ESPs) to see that the email was opened.
With Mail Privacy Protection, Apple Mail will preload images and content of emails — including the tracking pixel — regardless of if the recipient actually opened the email or not. This means that Apple Mail will over report Open rates which will make ‘Opens’ a less reliable metric, since true open rates for emails cannot be effectively tracked.
If a recipient is using the Apple Mail app, opens will not be tied to actual user engagement. The impact will vary based on your audience. The expected impact is as low as 4% and high as 54% based on industry, according to Mailgun.
The mail client is the key thing to remember, regardless if the email is opened on an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad, iMac, or Macbook. Examples:
- If a recipient is using a gmail email but has it connected to Apple Mail, and opted in for privacy, the open metric is impacted.
- If a recipient uses an iCloud email address, such as the @me.com, @icloud.com, or @mac.com domains, but uses a browser such as Google Chrome, these opens may not be over reported.
It will not be possible for email marketing providers to distinguish between real and false positive opens. But, opens were never totally accurate and thus not an ideal metric to evaluate email performance on. Other companies will likely follow Apple’s lead in consumer privacy, so it’s a good idea to adapt.
“We do need to adapt but this is NOT the end of email marketing. Smart marketers will shift their focus to click rate and site visit recency to measure who is engaged. And newer metrics like inbox placement will become powerful tools to understand delivery.” - John Grimshaw, CMO of Smartmarketer
How do the Apple Mail Privacy Protection changes impact Kajabi Heroes?
Any Kajabi Heroes that leverage email marketing, with Kajabi’s email marketing tool or another, will need to adjust how they view the performance of email campaigns.
This change will not affect all of your contacts - rather, just the ones that are using Apple Mail. However, Apple Mail is roughly 31% of the email provider market share globally, so this likely is a significant subset of your contacts.
What is Kajabi doing in response to these changes from Apple?
We’ve tested and proven that the iOS15 update will over report email opens making the ‘open rate’ metric inflated. We recently added a filter for Email Activity: ‘was clicked’. This will allow Kajabi Heroes to segment contacts that have clicked an email within the last 90 days. We’re also working on offering our customers a Click Report to help shift the focus to clicks, without having to set up automations to track them.
What can Kajabi Heroes do in response to the changes from Apple?
You may want to start analyzing your email performance now and reframe it in a way where you move away from email open rate as your most important metric.
Clicks can be a great indicator of email performance, and optimizing your Calls to Action can be a strategy to maximize email performance.
You may also consider setting up automations based on clicks if you use multiple CTAs in an email. Check out our article for the steps to set up automations based on email clicks: How to Set Up an Automation Using a Link in an Email. This way, you don’t rely on opens for your automations and risk misunderstanding how engaged a contact is with your content.
Like other recent user privacy updates that impact business owners, this is a good reminder that the field of marketing is always changing. It’s always a good idea to diversify your marketing strategy and ways in which you communicate information to your potential, current, and past customers. Email is still a valuable communication tool, but perhaps you could dedicate resources to sharing important information on your social channels where you can get other analytics about viewership.
We know you may still have some questions. So, tune in to our informative live webinar on Wednesday, September 22, at 9:30am PDT / 12:30pm EDT. Our team will go into more detail on what the impact of this update means for our Kajabi Heroes. Click here to register.