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Apple's "Mail Privacy Protection" Changes Speed Up The Need To Personalize

This is a podcast episode titled, Apple's "Mail Privacy Protection" Changes Speed Up The Need To Personalize. The summary for this episode is: <p>Starting in September, Apple's "Mail Privacy Protection" will allow Mail app users hide IP addresses for ESPs and the brands sending emails to Apple device users. This has monumental repercussions on the ability to track, segment and report on email open rates and could essentially kill most marketers' email strategy and the ability to report. BUT, savvy marketers who have adopted a one-to-one personalization strategy will rise above their competitors not ready for this disruption. We'll explain how they'll do it. </p>
Apple Drops A Bomb
00:31 MIN
What Is Changing In Apple Mail?
01:17 MIN
What's The Impact For Marketers?
00:50 MIN
How Will Opens Be Reported?
00:23 MIN
The Transactional Email Nightmare
01:15 MIN
What Will ISPs Do, Deliverability?
01:04 MIN
Why Open Rates Shouldn't Matter (But Still Do)
01:16 MIN
A Solution Exists Right Now
02:38 MIN

Tim: Well guys, it's early June and Apple drops another privacy bomb. They are going to default to not send ISPs and brands that are sending emails. They're not going to send back the opens or the IP addresses on Apple mail devices. That's going to start in September on iOS 15. We're going to dig in right now and tell you what you need to know.

Richard: So Tim, what's going on?

Tim: Yep. Here is, let's talk about the technical end of what's actually happening here, right? We know Apple they're the privacy juggernaut. I personally love it.

Richard: Love it.

Tim: We just talked about the privacy commercial hitting the living room on the big screen TV. What they've done is dropped the bomb at the World Developer Conference and said in iOS 15, which is going to drop in September, all Apple devices that use Apple Mail, they will no longer report back an open or the IP address location for anybody opening the mail in that device.

Richard: Super interesting. So it's interesting on its own given the scale and size of Apple and Apple Mail, but also do we think other people were going to do it? I've heard rumors that maybe Verizon might be next.

Tim: Well, that's just a rumor and developers are chatting and all kinds of boards. But look, Google already started this with the death of the Pixel.

Richard: Right.

Tim: They started this six years ago by caching images; email service providers like Cheetah and others would send a pixel and any time an image was rendered in an email, that fired back to the SP to say, hey, this thing was open. It actually had a call for the image. So, that went away six years ago. So this is nothing new. But I believe Google who has Android phones and who already killed the third party cookie, I believe they're going to do it too. So.

Richard: Right. This privacy train, as we keep talking about, it just keeps on rolling.

Tim: It's steam rolling over most marketers. But what a lot of marketers don't understand right now is what does this actually mean? So, right.

Richard: It's new news. And a lot of people are trying to figure it out. But it is going to fundamentally reinforce some things, I think, that we've been saying. It is definitely going to have an impact on email marketing and specifically.

Tim: For sure.

Richard: So let's talk about that. What kind of impact? So we are we seeing?

Tim: Yeah. Well, first off here's what's actually happening. Your email service provider, a lot of marketers use an open to click rate, right? For years.

Richard: Right.

Tim: I'd argue that's a nice to have. It's not what I would base my marketing strategies on and never did when I was with Inside Brands. It's a nice to have lag metric.

Richard: Yeah.

Tim: But it does affect a lot of different things. So first off, if you don't know if someone opened an email, you don't know if they engage with it solid or you don't know if you need to send another one with a different subject line or follow up.

Richard: Yeah. Things like testing of a subject line on open rates, on open, you can't do that now.

Tim: You're not going to be able to do it on Apple devices.

Richard: Right.

Tim: So the other thing where this really, really hurts, and by the way, we've learned through Beta, we have access to the Beta iOS 15, Apple will report back that every single recipient of your email opened it. crosstalk So most marketers who are following this are like, our emails are crushing it. The best subject line ever. But the fact of the matter is, it's going to create utter confusion. Let me give you a use case of where this is really, really, really important to know.

Richard: Right.

Tim: Let's say you're a direct to consumer retailer and you need to send some shipping information to somebody who just bought a product.

Richard: All right.

Tim: Richard, you just bought a new hat. We just shipped it, but it's going to be delayed. Or Richard, to complete your order, you need to update your address or something.

Richard: You're not going to know whether they opened it.

Tim: You're not going to know whether they opened it. And what most... And think about all the different marketing drip campaigns you might send that aren't just transactional. But I think transactional emails are going to be the first ones that get disrupted because you would want to say, hey, we told you, you need to update your profile or update your credit card or your sale is not going to go through. And the customer is going to be blind if they miss the email.

Richard: Right. That is going to bum out a lot of marketers.

Tim: That's just transaction. Not only is it going to bum out the marketers, I think it's going to create huge confusion for the consumers who are like, I missed that email. I have a half a million emails in my Gmail account, over 500,000. I'm the abnormal. I sign up for everything. But the average person is going to miss some really important emails. And the brands usually have two or three stages lined up knowing, hey, you didn't open it, we're going to resend it. Now they could potentially... What marketers could do is not resend second stage because they don't know who opened or they're going to batch and blast everyone with reach ends of campaigns.

Richard: Which is not what we want. We don't want to go back to that.

Tim: Imagine the consumer like, the spam rates will go up. And that's another thing to consider here. ESPs will tell you right now... Or, I'm sorry. I'll correct myself. ISPs, right? So Google Mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, the mail server providers, not Cheetah, not the email service provider, but the mail service provider has already said that they have not been looking at open rates as far as engagement for years. So if they haven't been looking at them, they don't really care because they want to look at, did you actually scroll down the email? Did that other image load? And did you click on anything? So that's really important to understand because if the ISPs start to look at engagement and you over blast or under blast, you may get triggered for span. If you over blast because you're not sure who opened your email campaigns, consumers might flag you as spam or the ISP may say, all right, you're doing it wrong. You just keep sending the same emails. People are opening. We know you can't see them, but you're going to get flagged for spam. Deliverability issues.

Richard: But if we actually think about, okay, that's some of the issues the marketers are going to face. But on the flip side, there is real opportunity here. If you double down on things like zero party data to actually drive personalization, which you know is going to have an impact on open rates and do what you really want, which is to drive clicks, to get back to your website, to drive conversions.

Tim: You nailed it. And this is why ISPs years ago said we don't care about open rates. We want to know did somebody engage with it? So your subject line, right? Putting in someone's name, that's table stakes. That's not personalization anymore. It is technically. That's not next gen personalization. Can you get two or three data points in? Hey Richard, the red hot, or sorry, the red hat in size Large is available. Now maybe you browse their site and put something in your cart or something, that's personalization. Or, hey Tim, you said you're going to travel on a winter destination this summer. So maybe the subject line is: Hey Tim, Stock up on Winter Coats Now. That's personalization because I told the brand I am going to take a vacation.

Richard: And that's the key. You told the brand. It's true. One- to- one personalization. It's really getting down to what you're all about: your preferences, your motivations, your desires, your interests.

Tim: Exactly. So look, for the marketers who are confused, if you've been looking at open to click rates and that's one of your measureables that's important to your strategy, I'm sorry, I'm going to say it: You're screwed. You're totally screwed. You really need to up your level of your game. You need to start looking at personalization because to your point, personalized email subject lines, that is the number one thing to get someone to engage. Now, of course, you still need to personalize the email content, right? The right offer, the right colors, the right images, the right-

Richard: Which again can be driven by understanding your customers better. And that's zero party data. Making sure that CDPs are bringing in all your first party data from all of your interactions with the consumers across all of your channels. These are the things that you have under your control that you can use to drive personalization that is going to have people opening emails. It's going to have them clicking through to your website. That is going to have them buying products.

Tim: Yeah, and look, we could talk for a half an hour or an hour about how to do that. We can't do that in this episode. We have tons of resources for it. But I do want to make this recommendation today. To the marketer that is worried about open rates, and they should be because you can't do all kinds of segmentation on it. You need to do an audit right now while you still have that data from your ISP, your email service provider, whether it's Cheetah or MailChimp, HubSpot, whatever it might be. Go start auditing your previous campaigns. How many of those campaigns are opened or looked at on an iOS device, iPads, phones because it's probably a giant. In America, it's going to be huge. In Japan, it's going to be huge. So go start to audit. Look at your press campaigns. What percentage of your audience are actually using those devices? That way you can assess the threat level when this rolls out in September. Because if you're not personalizing now, it's going to take a little bit for you to get the tools, the CDPs, collect the right zero party data to really start to flesh out your database, right? All marketers are like yeah, I want a deep database. I want a lot of information or a lot of people. You need to go wide now. You need to know what they care about. Size: Large. Winter: beach destination. The things that they actually care about. But audit who's opening right now and what devices. That's what's going to tell you if your threat level red or ah, we don't have a lot. But I bet everybody's going to have a lot. And Google. So start looking at, get ahead of it. If Google rolls this on Android, get ahead of that. How many people are opening on a Google Android device?

Richard: Right. And I would also say, last takeaway from me is think about collecting that zero party data direct from consumers to understand that preference information. Comes to us. We can help you do things like collecting zero party data, and we'll welcome journeys. We have a whole new white paper about that. So let us know.

Tim: We're out of time. See you next time. Take action.

Today's Host

Guest Thumbnail

Tim Glomb

|VP Content & Data at Cheetah Digital

Starting in September, Apple's "Mail Privacy Protection" will allow Mail app users hide IP addresses for ESPs and the brands sending emails to Apple device users. This has monumental repercussions on the ability to track, segment and report on email open rates and could essentially kill most marketers' email strategy and the ability to report. BUT, savvy marketers who have adopted a one-to-one personalization strategy will rise above their competitors not ready for this disruption. We'll explain how they'll do it.