Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection explained: What it is and how it affects you

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection announcement that gives Apple Mail users the option to “Protect Mail activity” is a hot topic among marketers this week and has left many wondering what this means for the future of email.

This change is like the many that have preceded it in the email industry – like when Outlook stopped loading images by default, the introduction of the Gmail promotions tab, the GDPR, and others. With each of these changes, email marketing has persisted, evolved, and continued to thrive and we know that the same will be true with the Apple update that is set to launch sometime between September – November 2021.

What is impacted?
Apple, Inc. announced, “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

Those sending email, to Apple Mail users, including both iOS and Mac mail,  who choose to enable this feature, will see these changes impact a few areas of their email program.

  • Invisible pixels will be blocked to collect information about the user, which is used to determine if and when an email is opened
  • IP addresses will be hidden, which is used to detect the user’s location
  • Remote content will be privately loaded, which speaks mostly to images (as opposed to HTML or CSS)
Apple Mail Privacy Protection screenshot

What can you do now?
As we continue to learn more about the impact of this change and enter the next phase of email, there are ways to shift our focus. Importantly, open rate is not the only email metric that provides an understanding of audience engagement. Click rates and conversion rates will continue to be a strong indicator of engagement alongside deeper cohort analysis. These should all be aspects of a cohesive email reporting program. Testing email content and creative also remains a critical aspect to understand what’s resonating and driving the most engagement, conversion, and revenue with and from subscribers. Any marketer looking to better understand email reporting should up their game by reading about email engagement metrics to be tracking (via Emma), how to improve email conversion rates (via Campaign Monitor), and measurement beyond opens and clicks (via Sailthru). Current CM Group customers should contact their Customer Success Manager or our Support team to learn more about our reporting capabilities.

We have time to understand and plan
There are still aspects of this change that are not yet fully understood (i.e. how Apple will determine what a tracking pixel is versus any other image used in an email, and how this will affect desktop users, to name a few) as the beta version of the Apple update does not yet have these features enabled. Once Apple makes this available we will be testing across our products and will provide further updates.

We are confident that there is ample time for these changes to be understood and for email marketers, CRM professionals, and organizational leaders focused on owned experiences and first-party data to respond effectively.

About CM Group
CM Group is a family of global marketing technology brands including Campaign Monitor, Emma, Vuture, Delivra, Liveclicker, Sailthru, and Selligent. By joining together these leading brands, CM Group offers a variety of world-class solutions that can be used by marketers at any level. Headquartered in Nashville, TN, CM Group has United States offices in Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and global offices in Australia, Belgium, United Kingdom, New Zealand, France, and Uruguay.