Apple MPP One Year on: What Email Marketers Need to Know
Written by Maddison Jevon
3 Minute Read
In September 2021, Apple announced their newest privacy feature...MPP. This iOS 15 update allowed Apple user's to opt-in for mail privacy protection. As email marketers, we never knew how much this function would affect us until now, one year on.
This blog will uncover the hidden truths behind Apple's recent privacy update and the impact it has had on the email marketing community. We will explore traditional email tracking before MPP and awesome tools that will help us enchant tracking once again. Let's just straight in...
Deliverability is driven by your email reputation
It is no secret in the email world, that a wicked inbox reputation drives deliverability. But what do we actually mean by this?
Well, in most cases email reputation is driven by engagement, positive engagement. ISPs (internet service providers) and MBPs (mailbox providers) signify positive engagement with how users interact with the UI and sender. For example, positive interaction can be seen through high open rates, moving an email from spam to a folder or if the email has been starred.
However, ESPs indicate levels of engagement through opens and clicks. Email service providers live by the motto opens = interest. But, we believe it's not just about what is interesting but the factors that helped us say you need to boost your engagement levels.
Ways to measure engagement levels
There are many ways to measure your engagement levels. Let's start by looking at open tracking.
Open tracking is the way senders trace the number of times their emails get opened. Open tracking is powered by tiny pixels, so whenever a subscriber opens an email that contains an image they are downloading that graphic from a server. This then gives the server access to the subscriber's data including their IP address, when they opened the email and what browser they are using to view the email. However, this metric can also give email marketers a false sense of comfort as subscribers may not be reading the emails but are triggering an open. Next, you would look at clicks.
Clicks are similar to opens. However, click tracking works when a subscriber clicks on a link within an email. Behind 'screens', the link will secretly take subscribers to the provider server first where they will collect relevant customer data and then direct the consumer to their final destination.
But this has all changed since the introduction of MPP.
How does MPP change what email marketers have been doing to date?
Apple's mail privacy protection is very different to what we have seen before and it's a big change from the traditional tracking systems. How is this so? Well, Apple has decided to heavily focus on privacy and less on individualistic tracking through a third-party platform.
MPP is a protection mail activity function. This allows subscribers to hide their email address, which is what ESPs use for tracking. Apple also preloads images and content of all emails, including tracking pixels, regardless of whether the recipient opens the email or not. This makes data from these pixels inaccurate as metrics. So from an ESP or sender platforms point of view, it changes what they can/can't do with open tracking. This is called 'pre-fetching' and only happens when:
The device is charging
And the device is connected to WiFi
The outcome = email open rates are increasing when the actual interaction from subscribers may has not changed. There is not going to be exactness with open tracking that there was before due to false positives that MPP has caused.
How can you overcome these problems?
It's becoming increasingly difficult for us email marketers to find out who is actually opening our emails and Apple's recent MPP is making this even harder. However, there are some ways we can try and jump these hurdles.
Firstly, some ESPs are now enabling reporting on this. Klaviyo is one of these ESPs and they do it well.
For the tech whiz, you can develop a hidden specialised code that tracks email opens more accurately but expect to get squashed as soon as Apple notices - they are like night-club bouncers, provide security and make sure everyone is complying with the rules set.
You can use a no-activity segment to help boost engagement. However, a no-activity segment will be smaller and less accurate today than it would have been a year ago. This is a result of the increase in false positives from Apple's MPP.
Although difficult, opens and clicks are still very important to track. Clicks are still really reliable as MPP does not impact them currently, but this could change in the future.
How can you boost engagement with the introduction of MPP?
Our first tip is to carry on suppressing unengaged subscribers when you see a decrease in your key engagement metrics. You should also closely monitor other performance metrics such as conversion metrics. This will give you a better idea of who's engaging with your emails and where you need to improve.
What tools can help you manage MPP?
The real question is what shall we do now that we cannot track opens as well as we could?
Although Apple's new MPPs have made it increasingly harder to rely on opens alone to indicate inbox placement or spam folder placement. Handy tools that measure inbox placement can help measure any spam folder issues. You can also improve your data quality using an email verification platform. This will really help reduce the chances of running into deliverability issues.
Apple's mail privacy protection is very different to traditional tracking methods and will cause many email marketers challenges. However, with the help of some awesome platforms and tools, you can minimise the effects MPP is having on the email marketing world! Good luck.
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