With all of the buzz around iOS 15 across the email marketing industry, we felt it would be helpful to provide a synopsis of changes that have taken place, what it means to our product and what our response has been to date.

What changed with iOS 15? 

As part of their iOS 15 release earlier this month, Apple introduced a feature that is disrupting the email marketing industry –  Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). As Apple puts it, “Mail Privacy Protection hides your IP address, so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if and when you’ve opened their email.” 

As part of their effort to protect end-user privacy, Apple has fundamentally changed the way mail is handled at the server level for all Apple Mail users. With MPP, the action that has historically taken place when an email is opened by the end-user, will happen earlier in the email workflow and on Apple Mail servers. 

Who is impacted? 

According to Litmus, “MPP affects any email opened from the Apple Mail app on any device—no matter which email service is used such as Gmail or a work account. However, this doesn’t affect other email apps used on Apple devices like the Gmail app on an iPhone.”

What does this mean for email marketers? 

With MPP, the action we count in our reports as an “open” happens for all mail that is accepted by Apple Mail servers (ie. did not bounce or get rejected). Therefore, open metrics across all email platforms will be inflated and can not be relied on the way they were in the past as a way to know an end-user has viewed an email. Subsequently, unopen metrics will also be less accurate. 

How is Benchmark Email responding? 

Here at Benchmark Email, we’ve been working hard to inform our clients about the impact of MPP and iOS 15 on the industry and our product.

Prior to the release of iOS 15, we published an article explaining how to prepare for the impact of iOS 15.

We also provided follow-up resources around the impacts of iOS 15, encouraging our users to give value-added metrics like Click-Through-Rate, the spotlight.

It’s also a great time to leverage Google Analytics tracking in your email campaigns if you aren’t already.

Finally, we’ve made in-app updates to more accurately represent open data in the post-iOS 15 email marketing landscape. Anywhere you’re leveraging open data – whether in email reports, A/B subject line tests or Automation Pro – we’re providing reminders that open data should be leveraged as a soft indicator of performance, and may be more or less accurate depending on the email clients that are most popular among your subscribers. 

It’s been a month since iOS 15 launched – and email marketing is here to stay. We may not see the complete impact on open data right away as iOS users migrate to the new OS and opt into Mail Privacy Protection, but email marketers will be better served by focusing on the metrics that matter the most. Leveraging click-through rate data and taking advantage of Benchmark’s Google Analytics integration will give you data that truly moves the needle and gets you closer to the sale.