An Apple A Day Keeps Email Away: Senders Are About To Lose Their Main Metric

You can feel the quiet panic setting in at brands that send email and the vendors that support them.

Will Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection destroy email marketing as we know it — and in just a few weeks?

Well, yes: As stated, MPP will remove the email open as a metric that now enables marketers to create email automations based on opens. 

Then what? One firm trying to get its arms around this calamity is Salesforce Pardot. Last week, Pardot writer Joel Odom admitted that the "Pardot product and engineering teams are actively working to understand how Apple will implement MPP and how this change will impact our customers." 

Odom added, “"While it’s uncertain how MPP will affect email marketing as a whole, it’s already clear that email opens will become a less reliable engagement signal."

And Salesforce knows that MPP will “impact features like Einstein’s send time optimization algorithms,” he continues. 



That’s a big statement. But Odom reassures readers that the "Einstein team is already adapting to the changes by updating algorithms so that they remain effective."

So what should you do when a giant firm like Salesforce is still trying to figure it out?

One thing Odom advises is that you “follow the news around MPP.” But that’s not very reassuring. 

More importantly (for Pardot clients), “Review your Pardot automations, dynamic lists, completion actions, and scoring to understand where you’re using email opens to inform campaign decisions. Consider using link clicks, external activity such as webinar registrations, and other engagement signals instead of opens as more accurate indicators of interest.”

And you can use some common-sense email tactics like including a 'thumbs up' or a 'thumbs down' action within an email as way of gauging a prospect’s interest. "Focus on outcomes over impressions," Odom advises. 

But here’s the real underlying issue: “As regulations and technology changes continue to raise the bar on privacy, marketing will have to change. All marketing automation software, including Pardot, will be forced to use fewer individualized metrics and shift to using aggregate data, external activity, and more direct consumer interactions,” Odom concludes.

Are you ready? Pardot says it is. Most other platforms probably say they are, too, but brands will have to decrease their reliance on the open. 

At the least, this will “continue to erode the value of open rates for marketers,” writes Brad Gurley, director of deliverability for MessageGears, in a blog post. But he adds that open rates are not the only metric emailers should consider.  

As Gurley recently said, MPP makes it “more important than ever to take a more holistic view of your campaign performance. Clicks, conversions, site visits, landing page views, purchases, and other recipient-level metrics can still provide a picture of engagement to facilitate segmentation, targeting, and list management.” 

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