How Apple's Data Privacy Changes Affect Email

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Digital privacy is a growing trend on the Internet. Recent metrics show that privacy is a growing concern for users, and businesses are beginning to meet that demand. Apple is the most recent company to add tools to tackle the issue. However, don't be alarmed, as we know the details of these new policies and are already working to ensure they do not get in the way of running a successful email marketing campaign.

What is Apple's Mail Privacy Protection?

As Internet privacy concerns continue to grow, Apple has implemented more features to help keep your data private. These features are updated in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8. At the same time, these protections touch all aspects of the Apple iOS infrastructure. However, there is a particular aspect of these updates that will impact email marketing. This specific subset of these features is called Apple's Mail Privacy Protection.

Which leads us to the question, what is Apple's Mail Privacy Protection? This feature allows users to enable protection on their email addresses using the Apple Mail app—no matter which email service is used, such as Gmail or a work account. This can only be enabled on the built-in Mail app and does not apply to other mail apps (Gmail, Outlook, etc.). Apple has described this feature as follows:

"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."

Along with Apple's Mail Privacy Protection, they will also add a "Hide My Email" feature. This option allows users to generate a unique random email address so their personal email can stay private. This creates a unique relay address that can only be used by the person or company you supplied it to.

How does this affect email marketing?

The biggest question and concern with these new features being added to Apple's suite of products is impacting email marketing. Specifically on how open rates will be tracked and if reporting will be as accurate. It is important to note that these features will not be enabled by default on all inboxes. However, given the low percentage of people who have opted-in to Apple’s App Tracking Transparency tool, we can assume most users will enable these features.

While tracking users using Apple products may become less reliable. Traditional tracking methods will remain prominent on PC desktops and Android devices. It is important to note that link tracking will continue to operate and track opens. As companies continue to build privacy tools, the importance of external analytics is the best way to track engagement accurately. ReachMail provides built-in support for several external analytic vendors like (Google Analytics, Matomo, OpenWebAnalytics, and Oribi).

ReachMail will continue to monitor how these changes influence email and make adjustments as necessitated.

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