February 9, 2023

Desktop vs. Mobile Ads: What Do The Numbers Look Like After Apple MPP?

Apple’s privacy updates of 2021 shook the email ad world to its core. All of a sudden, impressions were muddled by proxy traffic and “phantom” email opens on both mobile and desktop thanks to new features that preserve consumer anonymity.

Specifically, Mail Privacy Protection (Apple MPP) prevents email senders from seeing when and where people open their emails. And Hide My Email lets people keep their email addresses private, making it tough for brands and publishers to identify their users.

This left many to wonder, if advertisers can no longer depend on their main KPIs — opens and impressions — how will they measure email ad performance? And how will that performance be affected by Apple MPP?

We looked at clicks — instead of opens — across the Jeeng email network to find out.

Here’s what we found for desktop vs. mobile email ad performance in 2022.

What we found: Mobile usage is high, but desktop is still in the game

Throughout 2022, roughly 60% of email ad clicks came from mobile devices and roughly 40% came from desktops. Neither saw huge fluctuations month-to-month: mobile clicks stayed between 58-61% and desktop stayed between 39-42%.

The big surprise here? Desktop is still very much a driver of performance. Yes, mobile accounts for the majority of clicks, but desktop engagement hasn’t dropped nearly as much as expected.

If you just look at email opens or impressions on your ESP, for example, those mobile numbers might present a lot differently. That’s because Apple’s privacy features and proxy traffic are skewing those mobile metrics. But as this more reliable click data proves, there’s still a healthy mix between mobile and desktop performance when it comes to email ads.

What this means: Build more responsive ads and focus on engagement metrics

There are two big takeaways from this data:

  • Build email ad campaigns for both mobile and desktop. While mobile engagement is significant, you shouldn’t stop designing creatives for desktop experiences. In fact, advertisers can build mobile-responsive and hybrid ads and landing pages for both platforms. Similarly, publishers should offer email templates and targeting options for mobile and desktop devices.
  • Focus on engagement metrics. If you’re still relying on vanity metrics like opens and impressions, you’re making a mistake. That data is no longer valid or accurate. Instead, you should measure more reliable engagement metrics like CTR, share rate, conversion rate, and bounce rate.

As Jeeng CEO Jeff Kupietzky wrote for Forbes: “Opens just don’t cut it, and they really never have […] By giving users the option to block the open data, Apple is forcing marketers to a higher standard, to innovate their email strategies and shift to more valuable metrics like clicks and engagement to prove campaign effectiveness.”

An extra — if obvious — takeaway here is to look out for future privacy changes. Beyond just Apple’s mobile updates and Google’s third-party cookie depreciation, more tech giants like Microsoft and Yahoo should be expected to introduce new privacy features that impact email ads. By shifting to engagement metrics now, publishers and advertisers can better prepare themselves for a more privacy-safe future.
Want to learn more about launching email ads and tracking post-click metrics? Contact us to get started.