Hello Apple MPP, Goodbye Open Rates: In 2023, Marketers Should Leave Open Rates in the Dust

January 25, 2023
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    The marketing world moves at a breakneck pace. One thing floats in, another is phased out. For example, we’ve had to shut the door on third-party cookies as Google moves to ban them in 2024. Next? The email open rate.

    Apple’s recent privacy and tracking changes—called Mail Privacy Protection (MPP)—block email senders from capturing information about the user, including when they opened an email and what IP address they’re coming from. With many users continuing to opt-in to Apple’s MPP, open rates are going out the window as a metric of engagement. Instead, marketers should focus on better email deliverability practices and methods: like personalized acquisition email marketing and a solid Identity Graph for each customer.

    Have open rates ever really worked?

    Let’s be honest, open rate reporting has never been completely reliable as a tactic. A number of things—anti-spam filters, autoresponders, automatic image uploads, and the ability to disable open tracking can all warp open rates. Apple MPP might just be the boot to kick us into more accurate methods of reporting and tracking email engagement.

    What’s Apple’s MPP?

    The Apple MPP feature launched on September 20, 2021, with iOS 15 and later with macOS 12 Monterey for the Mac. MPP works for any email opened from the Apple Mail app on any Apple device, no matter what email provider you’re signing in with. Whether Gmail, Yahoo!, or Outlook: as long as you’ve signed in on the Apple Mail app and you’ve opted in to protect your privacy, MPP is enabled. However, Apple MPP doesn’t affect other apps used on Apple devices like the Gmail app or your browser on a desktop.

    How does Apple MPP protect privacy?

    Marketers typically include a transparent square—called a tracking pixel—within the emails, they send to recipients, which allows them to detect when the email was opened, what device was used, and what IP address the recipient is coming from. With MPP, Apple loads all email contents before the message is actually opened, including the tracking pixel—which not only makes it look like all emails has been opened (inflating the open rate) but also stops marketers from using tracking pixels to collect info about recipients. This can foil your acquisition email campaigns and hamper your strategy for email deliverability since it looks like engagement rates are higher than they actually are.

    How many people use Apple’s MPP?

    Since Apple Mail is the default email app for all users of Apple devices, it’s the most popular email client in use today. We estimate that around 50 percent of your recipients will eventually be using Apple MPP. Because of this, 75 percent of marketers believe that Apple’s MPP will stop them from capturing accurate email rates–thus harming their regular email marketing strategies and their acquisition email marketing.

    Five ways Apple MPP Impacts Email Marketing

    There are a number of ways your email strategy is impacted—some of which we’ve touched on already. First of all:

    (1) personal user data of Apple MPP users is no longer available to marketers. And, because the way Apple MPP works is that it makes open rates look like they’re higher than they are…

    (2) it’ll appear like there’s an upsurge in open rates, but these numbers are not reliable. Because of this, too:

    (3) companies will experience decreasing click-to-open rates. (Click-to-open is the number of click-throughs divided by the number of opens.) And because of all the warped and missing data hullabaloo, 

    (4) the level of personalization that a marketer can undertake will decrease, and also… 

    (5) features interconnected with open rates (resend to non-openers, segmentation, automated emails) will be negatively affected.

    What should you focus on instead?

    Email is still the top dog for audience engagement, so it is important that we find ways to adapt to open rate accuracy changes. We recommend six different strategies:

    Click-Through-Rate: Even though open rates have kicked the bucket, click-through rates remain a totally reliable way to check the success of your email campaigns. To improve this metric, focus on optimizing and personalizing your headline and copy, conducting A/B tests, and including clear call-to-actions.

    Email Deliverability: Keep a close eye on if your emails are being delivered to subscriber inboxes and the amount of customers opting out of subscriptions. Stirista, for example, focuses on rotating IPs and domains, monitoring blacklists and sending reputation, segmenting audiences into known engagers, and maintaining data hygiene and campaign throttling in order to ensure stellar email deliverability.

    Clear Call-To-Action: To enhance your CTA, use words that bring out emotion or a sense of urgency, test different placement options, and get creative with your layout and designs.

    Conversion Rate: Conversion rates tell the tale of how customers complete specific actions. Make use of this feedback to understand where your email marketing efforts can be improved to drive sales and awareness. Couple this with a strong Visitor Identity Graph, and you’ll have excellent strategies for both the top and bottom of the funnel.

    Website Traffic: Tracking website traffic can help you better understand what content is being sought after by your audience and how to target them. (Psst…Thanks to our VIG website tag, Stirista helps clients gain comprehensive insights about visitors, tailor user experiences for website visitors, maximize web-based revenue, and even uncover anonymous traffic which your company can choose to market to or create new audiences from in the future.) This can also serve as a place to start your acquisition email campaigns!

    Acquisition Email: Acquisition email marketing is the process of using email campaigns to grow your customer base, and it can be one of the most effective and profitable ways to prospect today. Clients that partner with Stirista experience successful campaigns by uncovering a whole new segment of customers that have overlooked marketing attempts so far.

    Need help?

    With over 13 years of experience, Stirista’s product and email teams are equipped to handle the challenges that come with open rate reporting.  While other businesses are coping with the new privacy features, Stirista has always felt that click-through-rates, deliverability, clear call-to-actions, conversion rates, website traffic, and acquisition email campaigns offer a far more compelling story. We can help you improve your email campaigns, from the top of the funnel to the bottom.

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