Apple iOS update

Apple’s New Privacy Update and Your Email Marketing

Randi Grant

By Randi Grant

Marketing Manager

Published October 14, 2021

2 min read

Apple recently started rolling out their latest iOS 15 software update. In this update, there are new privacy features including Mail Privacy Protection. This privacy update is good news for those wanting more email privacy as a consumer, but as a business owner, it is likely to impact your email marketing efforts, specifically your open rate stats.

What is Mail Privacy Protection?

Email providers currently use tracking pixels in emails to collect information about a recipient’s email activity. When an Apple Mail user opts in to the new Mail Privacy Protection update, their location and IP address will be hidden and it will block senders from being able to see if and when they’ve opened their email.

How does this impact my email marketing?

In terms of getting your email messages to your email list, you’re fine. Your practice emails will still make it into your patients’ inboxes, you just won’t be able to rely on the open rates being accurate.

Open rate is a metric revered by email marketers. With accurate open rate stats, we can test different subject lines and gauge which one is more effective by seeing which one got more opens. Advanced email automation can also use email opens as a trigger for sending more emails.

If you’re currently using open rates to guide your email marketing, it’s time to pivot.

How to know if your emails are working without open rates

As an email marketer myself, I am pretty bummed about this latest update. I geek out on open rates. I love running A/B tests on subject lines so I can pick the perfect one. This data tells me what consumers are reacting to and informs future emails.

However, the ultimate goal of any email marketing campaign is not to simply get the email opened. The goal is to get the reader to take action. Whether it’s signing up for something, making a purchase, or calling to book an appointment, the true sign of success is what the reader does after reading your email.

If you’re using email automation and email open is one of your triggers, change it to click rate instead. Click through rates should still be pretty reliable.

And if it’s an email intended to produce a result (i.e. to get more appointments booked), make sure you include a call-to-action. Tell the reader what you want them to do and then measure the results you see in your practice. Did the phone ring more the week you sent an email? Did patients mention the special offer you included in the email when they called? Take note of those results and let that inform future campaigns.

Bottom line – the latest privacy update is not the end of the email marketing world. It’s another hurdle for digital marketers, but that’s what makes digital marketing so interesting. It’s constantly evolving and we have to figure out how to adapt and grow with it!

And that happens to be our specialty.