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Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to advertise to your audience. But what happens when a company changes the game, removes the ability to track open rates, fundamentally adjusting how we can use it?

On Monday, June 7, Apple hosted its annual Worldwide Developers Conference at the San Jose Convention Centre in California.

The event demonstrated a variety of interesting additions, including information on their new operating system, iOS 15 and macOS Monterey which coincidentally, has paved the way for the introduction of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.

 So…What does that mean?

This new feature, which can be turned on through Apple’s mail app prevents individuals and companies from collecting information when their customers receive or open an email.

This process is done by blocking tracking pixels. Tracking pixels are tiny images that download with other pictures in the email. Blocking this process means that any email opened by a consumer can no longer be tracked and can’t be linked to any other activity such as a purchase, discount activation or subscription.

So, it just got a whole lot harder for companies to know who you are and where you’re from just from an email.

Although this feature leads us one step closer to an internet where the consumer has more control over who can access their personal information, this makes marketing tactics, such as email marketing, challenging for marketers. Whilst this may be a positive step for the consumer, this update will have a direct and detrimental impact on one of the bread-and-butter statistics of an email marketing campaign – open rates.

What’s an Open Rate?

An Open Rate is a measure concerning how many subscribers opened a specific email. By using the tracking pixels we discussed earlier, images are downloaded onto the customer’s device and the sender can then track if that individual has interacted with the email. Historically, an Open Rate metric has been seen to be a useful gauge of how successful a campaign has been with its audience. 

However, Open Rates may not be as objective as you think. Known as a vanity metric, Open Rates are easily manipulated. As a number, an Open Rate will always be higher than a Click Through Rate and thus makes whatever’s being marketed look better. This could be used for example by tallying up and presenting the statistic in a company presentation (we’re not pointing fingers at anyone…honest!)

This metric has been the standard for marketers since HTML emailing became the norm.

Zack Doffman, CEO of Digital Barriers, a frequently cited expert on security privacy risks, and commentator for broadcast news had this to say about the Open Rate metric – “It’s a marketing tool that has gotten completely out of control, with most emails now tracking user behaviours. Suffice to say, make sure you enable Mail Privacy Protection when iOS 15 arrives.”

The Effectiveness of Emails

So, you’ve just started a campaign and you’re ready to send out emails to your audience. And now one of the largest conglomerates in the world adds Mail Privacy Protection to its emailing system and suddenly you can’t see how many people have opened your email…what now?

Don’t despair just yet! Here at Arke, we have a few methods here to share with you that will get you on the right track. Such as…

– Conversion Rates and Click Through Rates

A conversion rate is a process of increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action. This action can take a variety of forms, such as filling out a survey, making a purchase or engaging new leads to your website. All of this can be tracked in Google Analytics, which should be a common conversion tool in your marketing arsenal. If you’re unsure how to make the most of it, or simply want your Google Analytics to be implemented, we know just the people. Click here to get in touch with our analytics experts.

One example of a conversion you’ll want to track is Click Through Rate, which will give you a really good idea as to whether the content within your emails is engaging, and is undoubtedly more powerful than an open rate. You can track this in your Email Marketing Service Provider software, and you can then track the user journey in Google Analytics.

– A/B Split Testing

Another approach that can prove useful is to use Split Testing. Split Testing is the process of running marketing experiments to see what resonates and works best for yourself and your audience. A few examples of Split Testing concerning certain marketing strategies are:

– CTAs (Calls-to-action)

– Landing Pages

– Effective and engaging copy for your emails

What would we recommend?

We recommend a consistent tracking of your conversions. You don’t have to stare into the endless abyss of your Google Analytics every day but setting aside some time and gaining an understanding of what’s working (and what could be doing better) is an effective and easy routine to get into. Look at your email marketing analytics tools, see what links users are clicking on and then dive into Google Analytics to see what they’re up to when they’re on your site.

Research, testing and monitoring your traffic can be super informative and tell you where you should be improving your email marketing strategies.

What has the overall growth of your mailing list been like recently? Has there been an increase or decrease in your unsubscribe rate? Exploring these numbers could start you on the path of improvement.

What happens now?

The good news is, you’re not the only one dealing with these changes to email marketing right now!

The Mail Privacy Protection system won’t be implemented into Apple’s emailing app until September, so you have a little bit of time to plan around the changes.

Despite all this, it’s important to remember moving away from Open Rate Metrics won’t affect conversions or revenue, it’s just a fancy statistic that’s all glitter and no gold.

If you’d like more advice on how to combat the iOS 15 updates or want to explore the different ways you can engage with your audience through email marketing, get in touch with our experts today.


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