Apple changed the way the mail-app handles received mails. It becomes impossible for advertisers to see if emails are opened. This means a change in how you should use email marketing in the future.

A number of new privacy features where introduced in iOS15, which launched last September.

Apple gives users the following new features to protect their privacy;

  • Gives the choice to block tracking pixels, it becomes impossible to track if users have opened an email.
  • "Privacy Relay" is available for iCloud subscribers. This feature allows users to hide their IP address when opening mails.
  • 'Hide My Email' has become available. This allows users to create unique, random, email addresses. These addresses serve as a mailforward to the user's 'real' email address. The user can delete random mail addresses easily. This puts the user in control of who can sent messages to their inbox. They don't need to unsubscribe they just delete the created address.

Not every email user uses Apple products, however iPhone mail opens are responsible for 38.9% of all opens. In short, this is going to have impact. The future has to be seen if and when other mail-platforms follow.

These changes will ensure that collecting data about marketingmails will become more difficult and will require marketers to change their approach on how they can make money through mailings.

Thinking about the 'open-rate' again

With these new privacy features, Apple will load all emails before the user opens them. This means open-rate-data reliability will decrease. In short, as soon as you send the mail, it will be registered as opened for people with an iOS device. So open-rate can't be use to determine interest in the campaign. The unreliability makes common actions useless, like;

  • A/B test based on subject-line
  • Sending a mail in a campaign based on opening of the previous mail

As a marketeer you need to change your automation flows so they don't rely on the opening of the mail. And you need to start using other data-points to measure success.

For example, you can still use click-through-rate to see which mail is the most successful and use it to send a retargeting mail when a user has clicked through but has not taken the desired action.

First-party data becomes even more important

First-party data becomes more important as the result of this change in mail strategy. After all, with your own first-party data it is easier to combine various data points. Only then you are able to create relevant content for your customers.