Your email open rates are about to go up. And it’s a bad thing.

“What!” I hear you cry “I thought getting more people to open emails was a good thing?”

And of course you are right but in this instance it is not because your readers are opening the emails but because of changes to the Apple Mail Privacy Policy.

So what is happening?

From the 20th September 2021 Apple is rolling out a new privacy feature which will give users the choice to hide their email activity (email opens) from the sender of the email.

As an individual I’m loving this change. My privacy is really important to me!

As a business owner this means that my data about who has opened my emails  is likely to go squiffy.

There is a lot of technical stuff going on behind the scenes but in a nutshell Apple will open all emails sent to someone using Apple Mail and then forward them on them so they show up as unread. Apple will then hide the users IP address (the computer ID) so that the sender of the email can’t see where, when or on what type of device the email was opened.

This means that if you have lots of subscribers who are using Apple Mail then you won’t be able to tell whether or not they have opened the email by looking at the open rate and you that you are going to get false positives on open rates.

Oh no! Should I panic?!

No definitely not.

Data protection is important and lots of people don’t even realise that marketing emails are currently tracking them (whether they have opened the emails, how many times, when, where, on what device etc) and it is a bit of a privacy invasion.

For people like you and me who want to have an honest and transparent relationship with our subscribers we will just have to work a little bit harder to understand what our customers want.

We will (for now) still be able to measure click through rates so we can see who is are taking action as a result of reading your email. If your email system allows you can also link your email to your Google Analytics so you can easily see which website traffic has come from your emails.

What should I do now?

1. Go and have a look at your existing stats and see if your email marketing tool reporting shows the email clients that your current subscribers use.

2. Make a note of the number of subscribers using Apple Mail (mine is around 10%). If my open rate jumps by 10% then I’ll know that’s probably just Apple playing games with me.
Find out if your Email Marketing Service is going to be offering the option to disable open rate tracking. Some providers have got this on their plans so you can take the decision yourself to stop tracking subscribers in this way.

3. Think about how you write your emails and make sure that you are asking people to click a link. A clicked link means they have definitely opened the email AND are engaged with the content you created.

Definitely don’t panic. And if you need any more help understanding this then get in touch.


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