As part of the iOS15 update, Apple announced a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection for its Mail app. Because change impacts your open rate metrics, we have updated our Email Engagement Bot Filter in order to provide the most accurate data possible on email opens.
What is Apple's Mail Privacy Protection?
Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection now automatically loads all email images (including email tracking pixels) in the email you send to Apple Mail inboxes. This process takes place before your recipient even has the opportunity to open the message themselves.
This update can artificially boost email open rates and skew your reporting. For example, if you’re used to seeing an 18% open rate (average in 2021), you may be seeing much higher rates — even if the real number of people who open your emails stays the same. It’s also harder to get reliable information on the date and time of the open, device used, or IP address.
How Does Apple's Mail Privacy Protection Impact Email Reporting?
This change impacts all of us no matter the size of your list, the makeup of your audience, or the
email sending platform you use. The following are ways in which your open rates and other data are impacted:
Less reliable open rate metrics:
- Open rates will be inflated since many emails will be reported as “opened” that weren’t
before this update.
- A/B testing that uses open rates to determine which version of an email receives more
engagement will be less reliable.
Adjusted automation practices:
- Due to the artificial opens resulting from Apple preloading the tracking pixels, when
resending an email to recipients who didn't open previously, Apple Mail users may not receive the resent email, even if they didn't open the original.
- Triggers based on a recipient opening an email will fire in instances where the recipient is
using the Apple Mail app, regardless of whether they had actually opened the email or not.
- Countdown timers or dynamic content that rely on a recipient opening an email may be compromised.
Limitations on accurate recipient data:
- Marketers will have less accurate insights into the time of day an email was opened, what
device was used, or from what IP-based geographical area it was opened.
- Email opens will be less reliable for determining the true level of engagement by your
- List maintenance will also get more complicated. Instead of ignoring all unengaged
contacts, you’ll need to get creative and identify which are truly uninterested and which
simply use Apple Mail.
The days of relying on open rates as a core measure of engagement are behind us, but there’s
still so much you can do to adapt and enhance your marketing and email strategy. Keep reading
to learn what to do and how smart use of SharpSpring can simplify the process.
Email Engagement Bot Filter
To provide the most accurate data possible on email opens, we already have a built-in email bot filter. It automatically prevents identifiable security filters from impacting your email performance metrics.
As a response to this update, we’ve expanded the scope of this tool to filter out bot opens from Apple Mail as well. This will ensure you get an accurate picture of your true email opens, without them being inflated by Apple Mail. While this doesn’t solve every challenge, you’ll be able to keep making smart decisions about your email strategy using the most accurate information available.
Best Practices for Tracking Engagement
Although bot filtering will maintain the accuracy of your reports, the way you define whether an email campaign was successful or not may need to change. If you’re still relying on open rates to determine success, explore using other available key email marketing metrics such as click through rate, conversion rate, or overall ROI.
Click through rates will continue to be a reliable metric of user engagement and should be emphasized
in measuring your campaign success. When adjusting lead scores based on recipient
engagement, it is now more effective to focus on contacts who are actively engaging with your
email content through clicks instead of opens.