Apple Mail's upcoming privacy protections caught many marketers by surprise. Here's what you can do right now (and you should).
As you know, Apple announced significant changes as of their iOS 15 and macOS Monterey updates this Fall. And as we pointed out recently, any email handled by Apple Mail clients will be routed through multiple proxy servers and scanned, immediately sending Open signals back to the sender and obscuring the recipients' IP and email addresses.
Guess what? Your open data is already polluted.
Apple's announcement will represent a leap forward. But the truth is that many enterprise mail servers do just this today: automatically open and scan emails, making open rate data on its own an unreliable metric. Apple is simply taking this practice and massively expanding it.
How should marketers prepare for Apple's Mail update?
Although this shift may seem daunting at first, this development is a good thing. Too many marketers focus on Open rates because it's the first obstacle to getting your contact to act. But it's just the first. So if you're only succeeding in getting an Open and nothing else, how does that help you achieve your business goals?
Here are some quick things to START doing RIGHT NOW.
Understand how many Apple users you have. There are many tools out there that can include native reporting in your Marketing Automation Platform or third-party vendors such as Litmus.
But also realize that what Apple is about to do will likely become widespread as other vendors take similar steps.
Focus on the quality of your content beyond the subject lines.
Test more than ever and invest in better segmentation and targeting. It's less about opens and more about how well the assets resonate with smaller audiences and move them to take action.
Increase attention to alternate and deeper funnel metrics: web-based activity, conversions, etc.
If you've built marketing campaigns around Open Rates, where an Open takes a prospect down a particular path, that logic needs to shift towards other types of contact activities.
That means more targeted campaigns, personalized to a particular segment and designed to elicit a response from your audience.
Here's what to STOP doing:
Stop using products that ignore the problem. If your vendor isn't addressing this challenge or waving it away, stop paying them. Tell them why.
Stop believing your open statistics and reporting without knowledge of what's in there. Also, see the above point.
Stop blindly trusting Send Time Optimization to work. Every system we know about is vulnerable here and makes you vulnerable by extension.
Stop believing simple A/B testing results unless 1) your testing method uses statistically validated sampling AND 2) you reach statistical significance in your results. No, 51% of a one-shot 10% test population is not enough. Test more, but ensure you're doing 1) and 2). Your current tools don't allow for this? See below!
How should Motiva customers prepare for Apple's Mail update?
Motiva customers have a few advantages over others. :)
Motiva's Message Testing filters out the polluted open data, even after Apple's update takes effect. Since the machine learning model uses automated truly random statistical sampling, what we expect is that there will be a certain percentage of polluted opens in each batch we send, and Motiva will filter those out.
Use Motiva STO as usual. Unlike every other Send Time Optimization product on the market, fake opens won't fool Motiva. Can your current system say that?
Use Message Testing to refine messaging for audiences continually, boost engagement, and reach business goals more efficiently.
Ultimately, what Apple is strongly encouraging marketers to do is build genuine relationships with their customers. Of course, there will be a learning curve and some disappointments, but marketers willing to accept the challenge will ultimately get higher engagement rates and better bottom-line results.