Apple is following Google’s lead and taking major steps to improve digital privacy — on email, in particular. At its Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company unveiled new updates that could change email marketing for good and pose a huge blow to email revenue for publishers and advertisers.
Unless, of course, they know how to adapt to this shift.
While these changes can have a lasting impact, they’re not the end of the world. In fact, with the right strategies and platforms, businesses can use this opportunity to get ahead of the competition, deliver even better user experiences, and increase revenue.
Here’s what you need to know to survive.
What are the Apple privacy updates?
Apple already disabled IDFA, and they launched its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update earlier this year to improve consumer privacy. With this feature, iOS apps have to ask users for permission to collect and share their data with third-party websites and apps. Users can also go into their Settings and disable “Allow Apps to Request to Track” so they don’t have to deal with these requests at all.
Now, Apple is enforcing privacy in its Mail app specifically with features that are set to roll out in the new iOS 15 update this fall.
Let’s look at what those two email privacy features entail.
Mail Privacy Protection
Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is an opt-in feature that stops senders from using pixels to track users and collect data about them. Specifically, email senders won’t know when people open their emails, and they won’t be able to identify users’ IP addresses for location targeting and tracking across the web.
Hide My Email
Hide My Email lets users keep their email addresses private by automatically sharing random, anonymous addresses with publishers and brands. Apple will then use these emails to forward messaging to users’ personal inboxes. So consumers will still receive their desired correspondence. Brands just won’t be able to identify them.
How will Apple privacy updates affect email marketing?
Pixel tracking and open rates are commonly used by email marketers across the industry. For example, publishers have used open rates to clean their subscriber lists of inactive users and burner accounts, A/B test subject lines, programmatically trigger real-time content, and kick off their attribution models. Once this metric goes away, businesses will have to completely rethink how they collect customer data, and measure and optimize campaign performance.
For publishers that rely on a CPM model to sell email advertising, these changes could really put a dent in their revenue. That’s because, again, their primary KPI is the email open. And if they can’t track email opens, they can’t track ad views, and therefore they can’t get paid per impression. They also won’t have the data they usually have to optimize their campaigns and audience targeting strategies.
Publishers and advertisers that rely heavily on IP addresses to track and target their audiences may have a tough time adjusting to these changes, too. They’ll need to find new ways to reach audiences across the web based on key factors like location and device. Because if users opt into MPP, businesses will no longer have the IP addresses they need to access these data signals.
What can businesses do to survive?
Despite these major changes, email is still alive and well for those who know how to use it. With a few small adjustments — and a focus on key metrics other than open rate — publishers and advertisers can not only make it through unscathed but actually optimize their email strategy.
Specifically, here’s what businesses can do in response to these Apple privacy updates:
- Take control of your customer data by gathering first-party information directly from audiences, such as through surveys and direct feedback channels. With owned data at your fingertips, you don’t have to guess what your customers want to see and whether or not they’re engaging with your content.
- Reduce reliance on large tech companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook. They only want to control your customer experiences for their benefit and lock your data behind their walled gardens. As their algorithms and policies continue to shake up the industry, the sole way to future-proof your business is to untether your campaigns from their grasp.
- Focus on engagement and performance metrics like clicks and conversions, and stop building campaigns around impressions and email opens. Engagement metrics have always been more indicative of customer preferences and campaign performance, anyway. Use this opportunity to pivot your strategies and focus on them.
- Partner with platforms that can help you do all of the above. Ideally, these partners have been preparing for this shift long before it was even announced. So they already have the tools, data, and experience you need to stay ahead of the curve and continue meeting your goals.
Future-proof your business
Publishers need a performance-based email platform to overcome Apple’s new privacy protections and deliver better user experiences.
That’s where Jeeng comes in.
As a company that runs an all-performance network, we don’t expect to be affected by Apple’s changes. In fact, we’re designed for them. Since Jeeng primarily optimizes and personalizes email ads based on clicks instead of views, we’re already positioned at the forefront of how Apple views email content. And as ad engagement grows, Jeeng’s AI gets smarter, and the platform gets even better.
So, while CPM-based ad solutions will struggle, we’ll be continuing to shape the future of the industry and empowering publishers to do the same — as we have been all along.
Are you prepared for Apple’s privacy changes? Contact us to hear how we can help.