Apple Mail Privacy Protection in 2022: Guide for Email Senders

Vladislav Podolyako
Jun 08, 2022
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Apple changed the way of assessing email marketing campaigns. That's because its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature reports that every email delivered to your recipients is opened. Moreover, it hides the IPs and locations of Apple Mail users. We’ll share how Apple Mail Privacy Protection works and how it impacts email engagement metrics. Plus, we'll help you grow email "opens" and deliverability

Understanding Apple's Email Privacy 

User privacy has been in focus for the last few years. For example, the European and US regulations protect internet users' personal data. Restriction of third-party cookies doesn't let advertisers collect information about users' preferences and behavior. 

And last September, Apple's Mail Privacy Protection feature was enabled. This setup hides the recipient's IP from email senders, so they can't track the location of an Apple Mail app user. But the more frustrating thing is that email marketing teams can't use the information about email openings, as it becomes irrelevant. 

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So, this function isn't something enabled by default for all Apple Mail users. Instead, they need to make a conscious choice and have this setting synchronized across all Apple devices with the same Apple ID. And now, let's check the technical details of how this Mail Privacy Protection hides email opening data. 

How the MPP Works 

Each email contains a tracking pixel. This is a small image placed somewhere in the email body. And users can't see this element because it's transparent. Typically, when email recipients open messages, their content, including images, is downloaded from the sender's web host

This way, the system downloads the invisible-for-readers tracking pixel and reports the opening. That's how senders know when each email is opened and which email service provider does it. Moreover, they get to know your location, leveraging the access to your IP. But what's different with the Apple Mail Privacy Protection enabled?

The difference is beneficial for users but dramatic for email marketers. That's because Apple downloads all the received emails to its proxy server. This is the intermediary storage with the IP assigned to a large region. So, your location is now "generalized." But what's more important is that while saving email content to the proxy, the Apple Mail app also triggers the tracking pixel

This event signals the new opening to email marketing tools, leaving in secret whether Apple Mail users ever actually open messages. But what impact do higher open-rate statistics have on marketing activities? And does it somehow affect personalization appreciated by most potential buyers? 

How the MPP Affects Marketing 

Personalized content generates a higher response, grows conversions, and, eventually, revenues. But for getting a highly-relevant and timely offer, you'll need to share some sensitive information. This balance will always be a question for prospects because they choose whether to activate Mail Privacy Protection iOS 15 or not. 

The majority of mail clients are Apple Mail users, followed by those exploiting Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and other ESPs. That's because you can also set up any mail service in Apple's Mail app and have Apple's Mail Privacy Protection applied to all your messages. So, inevitably, this policy impacts email marketing strategy and is an issue for sellers

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Here's how it affects marketing and sales.

  • Detecting unengaged contacts is impossible. When a user ignores your cold email, sending a follow-up message is reasonable. But you won't know if the mail privacy-enabled user left your email unread because the system only reports its opening by a proxy. This way, the settings in your marketing automation tool based on "opens" will never send that following email, making you lose a lead. 
  • Drip campaigns are hard to set. Drip marketing assumes sending several pre-written messages. This sequence is triggered by the first event, like leaving an abandoned cart or subscribing to an online course. And each following email is sent based on the customer's action. This action can be clicking the CTA (Call To Action) button or simply opening an email that the Apple Mail Privacy Protection makes undetectable.  
  • Your recipients' locations are too general. If you target your customers for specific geographical parameters, you won't be able to collect that data from recipients using Apple's email. Those locations will be too vague and thus not representative. That's how mail privacy works, keeping the recipients' information secure and encouraging email marketing specialists to look for new ways of interaction. 
  • A/B testing isn't representative. A/B testing feature helps improve your audience's engagement. For example, your marketing experts can craft several subject lines or try different CTAs to test which ones bring more interaction. And in many cases, open rates helped to indicate the preferred option. But since Apple's Mail Privacy Protection doesn't allow tracking actual email openings, A/B testing needs to conform to other metrics

Though open-rate analytics can be collected from some mailbox users, the whole sample won't be reliable. And below, we'll briefly look through parameters not affected by Apple's email policy.

Other Metrics to Use for Assessing Email Campaigns 

While open rates become higher and less relevant as more Apple users protect mail activity, these several parameters will still help you monitor the success of your email marketing campaigns

  • Click-through rate. This is the ratio of the number of users who clicked on your email links to the number of emails delivered to inboxes.
  • Email sharing rate. This parameter shows how many of your emails users shared through social media.
  • Conversion rate. You get this rate by dividing the number of users who completed the CTA action by the number of inboxed emails. 
  • Bounce rate. It's calculated by dividing the number of not-delivered messages by the number of emails that got into inboxes. 
  • Unsubscription rate. You need to divide the number of unsubscriptions by the number of emails in the recipients' inboxes. 

There are more valuable indicators like engagement over time, spam complaints, list growth rate, and others. They probably won't offer the exact information as an open rate affected by the Apple Mail Privacy Protection. Nonetheless, they will let you analyze other aspects of email marketing.  

Have Your Emails Delivered to Inboxes

Now you probably think about how to encourage your prospects to open your emails and click on the CTAs, trying to adapt to the Apple Mail Privacy Protection rules. 

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  • A proper warm-up of your email address. Sending your cold outreach emails to 500 contacts from a newly-registered address will result in an immediate ban by spam filters, even if it's done from Apple's email. That's why it's critical to grow the volume of daily emails with relevant content gradually. And you'll have to send them to different ESPs and get feedback from recipients. This will convince spam filters that you're not a fraud. 
  • Setting technical parameters. Setting up critical DNS (Domain Name Service) records will make the receiving mail servers trust your domain. And though these parameters won't impact the Mail Privacy Protection Apple adopted, they significantly improve your deliverability. That's because SPF, DKIM, MX, A, and other DNS parameters authorize you as a legitimate sender and prevent email spoofing. 
  • Healthy contact list. Your email database can include misspelled, temporary, non-existing, or duplicated addresses. This may happen due to fake sign-ups, users who only want to receive the leading magnet, or a human factor. But the consequences can be severe: from being marked as spam to sending fraudulent emails on your behalf. With an unhealthy contact list, you even needn't bother about Apple Mail Privacy Protection
  • Opportunity to unsubscribe. Adding a workable and visible link for opting out from receiving your messages isn't only about respect for your recipients. It's also a great way to prevent your emails from going to spam once someone finds them irrelevant or annoying. Moreover, it's illegal to send cold or transactional emails without an unsubscription link.  Also, ensure that the user opts out after one or two clicks. 

With these recommendations in place, you can maximize the chances of showing your message to prospects. And hope that they will open it instead of the Apple Mail Privacy Protection algorithms. 

5 Ways to Motivate Your Recipient Click the Email Link 

In the Apple Mail Privacy Protection era, marketers need to rely on metrics other than the open rate to reach email marketing success. And the next most relevant parameter is the CTR (Click-Through-Rate). It's the ratio of the number of email recipients who clicked the email link to the number of the delivered messages. 

So, sellers need to work even harder to get the information they can use, i.e., the number of clicks. Your marketing team should motivate the leads, subscribers, and customers to open emails and follow the links from the copy. And when a promotional email lands in your inbox, several factors influence your decision about its opening. And these five tips are based on those factors. 

  • Make your email sender name look trustworthy. Whether you use Apple's email service, mails in inboxes look similar. And the first thing to notice is the information in the "From" line. That's why it's necessary to make it look legit. Ideally, it should contain the first name and the last name of a sender. Usually, these two are split by a dot. This way, a marketer makes the first step to meet the prospect.

    Generic addresses like "sales", "sales1", or even "Tom.sales" make people feel you sent this message to a bazillion other recipients.
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    Another important thing is to use a corporate domain for your marketing emails. No matter if users enable the Mail Privacy Protection feature, they still are careful about opening business-related emails from Yahoo or Gmail accounts. Moreover, the address domain should be similar to the company website.  
  • Create a catchy subject line. This line is sometimes even more important than the recipient's name. The several words from the subject line have to prove to the reader that your offer is relevant and value-bringing. It needs to answer the central question of a cold email recipient: what's in it to me? So, it should be brief but descriptive and informative but intriguing. These requirements seem controversial, but that's how it works.

    For example, questions attract attention and make readers curious about the answer you give. Or, sometimes, a clear command with an exclamation mark can motivate your leads to check for details. However, be careful with using multiple exclamation or question marks as they annoy readers and trigger spam filters. By the way, studying the list of spam words will help you a lot while crafting subject lines and email copies. 
  • Offer engaging and personalized email content. Even if you break through the skepticism and encourage your contact to open an email, it's too early to celebrate the winery over the Apple Mail Privacy Protection. That's because you only have the first door opened, and at this point, the recipient is still deciding what to do with you. So, it's time to show what you can offer. However, don't start selling from the first lines, but focus more on bringing value.

    This means you need to describe the problem your potential clients may encounter and offer an effective solution. You need to show awareness of the company you contact and remember that even if you work with businesses, it's the people you contact. So, in 2022, personalization is far from just mentioning the recipient's and company's names. Showing genuine interest in resolving corporate issues and helping to achieve business goals should be the main drivers of your message
  • Make a clear CTA. Prospects have no time to guess what you expect from them after reading your message. So never ignore placing the CTA in your email. Otherwise, you risk having your email just read and forgotten. Instead, give the reader a kind of instruction on what to do next. Whether you want recipients to subscribe to your newsletter, use a discount, book a demo, or buy an online course, tell them so.

    Use a button to make the CTA more visible, pick up the right font and colors, and choose the right size. Craft a short, appealing, and personalized phrase starting with a verb. And once everything is ready, use some email preview service to ensure that your Gmail, Outlook, and Apple Mail users will see it the way you expect. Once you need some assistance, feel free to use the guide on CTAs by Folderly. 
  • Add a representative email signature. Adding the informative signature to your message feels like a good farewell handshake with your potential client. You can add links to business and personal LinkedIn accounts together with your photo to make your offer more trustworthy. When your recipients follow the link and see the same picture as in your signature and your current position in the company, it'll prove your legitimacy.

    You should better use specialized tools to craft professional email signatures. This way, your virtual visiting card will look credible and well-designed. However, you'll need to find the right balance of images and links not to be blocked by Apple mail and other ESPs' spam filters.  

Once you follow these recommendations, your email marketing activities will be more effective! 

Changes in MPP

About eight months from the day of releasing the Apple Mail Privacy Protection feature have passed. And during this period, the number of updates to iOS15, which allows opting in for mail privacy, has only grown. And even though the MPP choice doesn't go by default, millions of users worldwide leverage this opportunity. 

This means that email users tend to keep their email data private, even if this can result in the less personalized email content. 

Final Words 

Apple Mail Privacy Protection shouldn't be a verdict for your email marketing efforts driven by the open rate statistics. Eventually, keeping the mail privacy of Apple users is beneficial because it makes your prospects feel secure. Moreover, your marketing team will probably have to rely on the Click-Through Rate and multiply its efforts to engage the target audience. 

Folderly will help you gain an exceptional sender reputation and reach 100% email deliverability. Ask us how we do it! 

Vladislav Podolyako
Vladislav Podolyako
Founder & CEO
Vlad’s decades of entrepreneurial wisdom and business building experience have allowed him to successfully mentor a diverse group of business owners, entrepreneurs in growing their companies. A recognized expert in the areas of transforming organizational culture and leadership development, B2B Sales, Marketing, spent more than 10 years building technology products, with a background in communication networks and electronic device engineering.

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