Apple has just recently started rolling out their latest iOS 15 software update. This update includes new privacy features, including one called Mail Privacy Protection. This particular update is great for those wanting more email privacy as a consumer. But for business owners and digital marketers, it's likely to impact your email marketing efforts, specifically your open rate statistics.
What is Mail Privacy Protection?
Email providers use tracking pixels in emails to collect information about a recipient's email activity. Now, when an Apple Mail user opts in to the new Mail Privacy Protection update, their location and IP address will be hidden. This will block senders from being able to see if and when they've opened their email.
How does this impact your email marketing?
Fortunately, your practice marketing emails will still make it into your patients' inboxes, you just won't be able to count on 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 gauge success without open rates
As an email marketer myself, this change is upsetting. I love running A/B tests on subject lines so I can pick the perfect one. Open rate data tells me what consumers are responding to and informs future emails.
Ultimately, the goal of an email marketing campaign is not just to 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 booking an appointment, the true sign of success is what the reader does after reading your email.
If you're using an email automation system and open rate is one of your triggers, consider changing it to click rate instead (those should still be pretty reliable).
If you're sending an email intended to produce a result (i.e. to get more appointments booked), make sure you include a clear 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.