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Apple Continues to Roll Out Major Privacy Changes

by: Emma Harris Marketing

Are you ready to say goodbye to this critical email metric? 

First came the news that Apple would require explicit opt-in from Facebook app users in order to maintain critical performance tracking – which left Facebook app developers and advertisers scrambling. Now, Apple has announced another major update to its operating system which once again includes significant changes in how it handles privacy, but this time for email users. This latest update will block tracking pixels and IP addresses, and cache images from Apple Mail, with the goal of protecting user data. This makes some marketers nervous as it will impact email marketing reports such as deliverability and open rates. Here's everything you need to know to be prepared for it. 

The good news is that this latest update from Apple will only affect those who use the native Apple Mail app on their mobile devices. Users of other services are unaffected by this change (for now, at least), but it is possible that other companies like Google and its Gmail app will follow suit in the future. 

The new Mail Privacy Protection features blocks invisible pixels often sent in automated email campaigns. By preventing the tracking of this data, senders can no longer see when or if a user opens their email. It also masks the user’s IP address to prevent linking the engagement with other online activities or a user’s current location. Essentially, users will gain privacy in their online behavior and how its linked to email. 

For email marketers, this update will most likely affect your open rate data. However, there is no need to be alarmed because you can still measure success rates by tracking metrics like link clicks within and email and user behavior back to your website rather than relying solely on open rates.  

Additionally, this privacy update includes an App Privacy Report - a feature that provides users an overview of how often their downloaded apps are accessing their location, contacts, camera, and microphone as well as which third-party addresses each app is pinging.  

While this update certainly presents some challenges for marketers, it’s ultimately a positive to protect user privacy and challenge what key performance metrics we should really pay attention to. This update also offers new tools that enhance app functionality. One example being the “share current location” feature where users can share their current location with an app just once without giving developers further access after it has been shared. Developers will be able to customize the “share location” button layout as well as integrate its use directly into their own apps.  

Not sure how to handle this change and more changes to come in the future? Our team can help! Contact us today to learn how to shift your email marketing and performance tracking strategies.   And to stay on top of all the latest updates coming out of the digital world, check back with us on our blog.