Upsetting The Apple Cart: Tips On How To Cope With Mail Privacy Protection

The dreaded emergence of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) may not be as bad as predicted — yet. But give it time.

Only 48% of Apple users have upgraded to iOS15, which brings MPP with it, according to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection: How Email Senders Can Adapt, a study by Twilio SendGrid.

But that could be because iOS 14 still provides popular features. Typically, it takes six to eight months to achieve 80% user adoption, says Luke Martinez, manager, delivery operations at Twilio SendGrid. 

The study points to serious challenges as the open rate becomes a less viable metric because of the prevalence of machine opens caused by MPP.  

MPP has triggered 18.2% of the unique opens — machine opens that do not reflect human engagement — processed by Twilio SendGrid since September 20, when the program went into effect. 

With that in mind, Twilio SendGrid lists these issues that every email sender should be aware of:

  • MPP could affect any mailbox configured with Apple Mail, even if recipients don’t regularly use it. Case in point: “If your customer tends to check their Gmail account via a Safari browser on their phone, their messages can still be marked as a false open provided they’ve given Apple permission to ‘protect Mail activity,’ the study warns. 
  • Email open rates may now be inflated and less reliable — Apple Mail will load all email content sent to MPP opt-ins regardless of user engagement, resulting in nonhuman, machine or false opens. 
  • Hidden IP addresses will make it impossible for brands to use subscribers’ geolocations to send localized content. 
  • Machine opens will interfere with email automations triggered by the open rate — i.e., sending the next email in the cadence based on opens. 
  • Machine opens will interfere with good list hygiene — i.e, the removal of inactive subscribers.



What can brands do about all this? Twilio SendGrid advises email senders to: 

  • Look beyond the open rate as a metric — utilize such measurements as click-through, conversion and revenue per email. Also, study negative engagement metrics: the bounce rate delivery rate, unsubscribe rate and spam complaints. 
  • Benchmark your data — Review historical data and track changes over time. Twilio SendGrid offers this data on MPP-influenced total opens by mailbox provider: Google (8.5%), Microsoft (10%), Yahoo/mail (18.7%) and Apple (32%).
  • Rethink engagement campaigns — Win-back emails gives recipients a final chance to engage. Still, it may no longer suffice to use the fact that a recipient never opened your email as the criteria for a win-back campaign. 
  • Ask for user preferences upfront — That is, ask subscribers for choices that you may have been able to infer through A/B testing in the past, like send time. 
  • Adopt SMS and MMS — SMS can be a powerful tool when used in combination with email. 

Here are some tips from another source: Melissa Coleman, vice president of customer success at Adjust. Coleman advises marketers to create a double opt-in in the initial sign-up, using these devices to drive subscriptions:

  1. Offer a coupon or discount — Beauty brand Bliss offers a 20% discount toward a subscriber’s first order when they opt-in to receive emails. 
  2. Ask for an opt-in with a pop-up or in-app message.
  3. Test and improve — Use A/B testing to find which creative has the biggest impact your conversion rate. 
  4. Time it right — test to find the best timing to make the ask. “Launching a pop-up right after install may lead to a user to instantly opt-out, but the same user may be more willing to receive emails once you’ve demonstrated the value of your app,” Coleman writes. 
  5. Use clear and compelling copy — Let users know the value your emails provide, and give them a reason to say yes. 

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