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Apple’s Privacy Changes Will Force Marketers To Innovate – Here’s Where To Start

Learn three simple strategies to adapt your email marketing approach as the new Apple privacy changes take effect.

It’s time to have conversations about deeper metrics in email. [Stocksy/Daxiao Productions]

That sound you heard earlier this summer was the collective gasp from email marketers when Apple’s new privacy features were announced. In case you missed them, these are two major changes that we’ll be seeing with Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in the upcoming iOS 15 and MacOS updates this fall:

  • Nearly all emails managed by Apple Mail will be automatically marked as opened even if the recipient doesn’t click on them (including non-Apple email addresses such as Gmail, when used with Apple Mail).
  • Users can generate a random email address when signing up for a product or service.

According to Litmus, Apple Mail accounts for 49.7% of all email opens. The news caused some anxiety because it has the potential to disrupt the email marketing industry. Email marketers who strive to create a meaningful inbox experience for subscribers must be able to pivot away from opens as a key (or primary) performance metric to mitigate some of the more difficult challenges.

Trust is Salesforce’s No. 1 value, and privacy and security are a huge part of that. We strive to provide the tools you need to respond, act, and succeed in these new privacy-first environments. We look at changes like these as new opportunities to better understand customer relationships and help businesses create a better digital user experience.

We believe email marketing will become stronger after these changes. First, it’s a channel that requires an opt-in — subscribers have chosen to hear more from your brand, and they will continue to do so if your emails offer great value. Also, email marketers are seasoned veterans when it comes to handling privacy changes (see CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA). Last and most exciting, these moves will push forward a new era of marketing.

We care about the email marketing community, and we don’t take these changes lightly. We’re actively working to make the changes necessary to set you up for success. From updating the models and algorithms for our Einstein artificial intelligence features to testing the new privacy experience, we’re adapting to the changes to help you be just as effective, if not more so, in your messaging.

The bottom line is these privacy changes won’t have as big of an impact for those who have been taking steps to build an innovative email marketing program. That means being adept at collecting and using first- and zero-party data to build strong customer relationships and choosing the right metrics to measure and optimize your programs. Even if your email program is still aspiring to be innovative, you can adjust your strategy to be better prepared for the changes to come.

Here are three simple strategies to keep front-of-mind as we move forward:

1. Focus on the metrics that actually matter

You won’t be able to track email open rates like you did before, but let’s be honest: open rates are not a true measure of success in many industries. They don’t tell you much about the impact the email had.

What you really want to know is how readers engaged with the content in the email after opening it and what actions they took. Click-through rate (CTR) measurement will not be impacted by the new privacy features.

It’s time to have conversations about deeper metrics in email. What content are subscribers finding most useful? How is that impacting conversions? Brands that focus on outcomes over impressions won’t be worried about seeing their email open rates disrupted.

How Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help with metrics

Marketers using Einstein artificial-intelligence capabilities such as Engagement Scoring and Content Selection have seen a 20% increase in CTR. Einstein can be turned on and used by existing Salesforce customers with minimal configuration.

Google Analytics is another option in following the conversion funnel further and keeping track of more direct KPIs. It’s a helpful solution that’s easy to configure and allows you to follow a reader’s click all the way through to the completion of an action on your website.

2.Encourage direct interaction within emails

Removing friction between the open and the conversion will be a key to success. This can be done by providing more interaction and value within the body of the email.

Opportunities range from sending more relevant and personalized content that encourages click-through to using more innovative email tools focused on in-email interaction.

For example, interactive email lets you embed forms, surveys, and carousels directly into an email, so a reader doesn’t have to visit a separate website to access them.

How Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help build interaction

The drag-and-drop Email Form Block in Content Builder is compatible with Apple Mail and provides a no-code solution to including interactive forms within your emails. The results of the form post to a server monitored by Salesforce, so tracking this engagement won’t be impacted by Apple’s changes.

We’ve found that using interactive email instead of traditional CTAs and landing pages can increase conversion by 19%.

3. Build a stronger customer journey

Your email program should not live in a bubble. More than ever, you need to understand how customers are interacting with content across all your channels and optimize accordingly.

Delivering a great customer experience will ensure that people will want to receive your emails. Then they won’t use randomized accounts to deflect your messages and will instead take more next steps with your offers.

How Salesforce Marketing Cloud can help build journeys

A stronger journey comes from understanding the end-to-end customer experience. Datorama provides a view of full-funnel ROI by unifying data from email with data from web analytics tools and revenue databases.

Google Analytics connects the dots between what a subscriber clicks in an email to when they convert on the website. Both of these tools work together shedding light on the important customer engagement moments beyond just the email open.

This is also a pivotal moment to check in on your triggers and automations. Are any messages sent or decisions made based on open rates? Journey Builder helps marketers with their journey management. Actions can be taken and decisions can be made based on moments other than opens.

Journey Builder allows you to update your path optimization and A/B testing goals to focus on clicks instead of opens. It supports you in setting journey completion goals on impactful points like purchase, signup, and form submission. Plus, specific link clicks in an email can take subscribers down unique paths.

Following these strategies will help you build a strong email marketing program that delivers what subscribers need and guides them to the next step with your brand. It’s a win-win for businesses and customers alike.

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