Privacy is the buzzword in the digital world today, and the protection of user data has become the core focus of many businesses. For this reason, Safari and Mozilla have blocked third-party cookies from their browsers. Google Chrome, which has a market share of 63.58%, plans to do the same by 2023. 

We’re all concerned about cookies, trackers in apps, and data gathered from other marketing tools. But, how concerned are we about securing our email inboxes? 

Is that even necessary?

The answer is absolutely! 

Emails are a big bucket of personal information and can be leaky. This is why Apple launched its new feature, MPP (Mail Privacy Protection).

What is MPP?

MPP is a privacy protection feature launched by Apple on September 20, 2021, meant to give users a bit more anonymity when using Apple Mail. MPP hides the IP address of the recipient, which gives the user more privacy — but generates false email opens. This makes it hard for the sender to identify if their Apple Mail users have opened their email or not.

The feature is available on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, and it is yet to be available for MacBook. Although launched for Apple, MPP works for all the emails opened from the Apple mail app irrespective of whether the email service used is Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook. It’s important to note that Apple continues to refine its privacy features in response to concerns, including recent incidents like Apple data breaches, to offer users a more secure email experience.

What do email marketers need to keep in mind about MPP?

To understand the effect of MPP, let’s have a look at the email client market share of the top 5 email clients as of November 2021:

Apple: 54.2%

Gmail: 31.6%

Outlook: 4.7%

Yahoo Mail: 2.6%

Google Android: 2.2%

Apple holds the top position when it comes to email clients. 

According to iOS 15 adoption rates, 63% of all iPhones run on iOS 15, and 49% of all iPads run on iPadOS 15. These numbers will only increase as Apple keeps asking its users to update their OS. 

And, with 96% of people opting out of ad tracking in the U.S, it isn’t surprising that MPP adoption is increasing. 

With the adoption of MPP, email opens will be highly inflated. Email marketers will need to shift their focus from open rates to other metrics to measure email campaigns’ success. 

It is clear how MPP will be effective at protecting consumer data. However, marketers who extract data through emails for running campaigns will experience challenges.

How does MPP affect engagement data and email performance tracking?

MPP is going to impact any data that senders obtain from recipients who have configured their mail app. Since MPP generates false opens, the engagement data based on open rates will be highly inflated.

To make it easier to understand, let’s look at some stats from the first week of MPP adoption.

5.1% of all mail opens were from MPP configured mail apps. Total mail opens increased by 1.5%, which is normal. However, the total number of unique opens increased by 6.5% when compared to the previous week, signaling that the increase was due to false opens. 

Although launched for Apple mail, the adoption of MPP saw a rise among other email services as well, including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook. 

If MPP affects the number of opens, it will surely affect the performance data based on open rates, making it difficult to understand if the email campaign is really working or is it just inflated.

Tips for Navigating MPP

By now, it’s clear how MPP can affect your email marketing metrics. So, will email marketing go dead as the MPP adoption rate increases?

Definitely not! The only change is that you’ll have to shift your focus to look beyond open rates. 

Some other ways that are absolute gold for measuring your campaign success include:

Click rate: MPP doesn’t affect link clicks, so focusing on increasing click-through rates is the best way to understand the quality of the email. 

Location: Since MPP hides IP addresses, a better way to know the location of your subscribers would be to ask them to add their zip code in the signup form or your email preference center. With this data, you can then group your audience accordingly.

Automated emails: Set your automated emails condition rules to “Increase click rate” instead of “Increase open rate.” 

A/B test goal: Similarly, setting your A/B test goal “Increase click rate” is a better option than “Increase open rate.”

UTM tracking: Adding UTM parameters to your email links can help you drill deeper into your email marketing efforts and tie your email campaigns to conversion goals in platforms like Google Analytics.

Email is still one of the most powerful tactics marketers have and will continue to grow. Marketers who can pivot their strategy to measure success outside of open rates will be well-poised to gain valuable data about their customers.

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by Benchmark Team