The introduction of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) in September of 2021 made it nearly impossible for email marketers to link or track emails to a subscriber’s online activity and location to an email address.
And now, as we get closer to the end of the 2022 calendar year, we’re all curious to see how our industry has adapted to the challenges that Apple’s MPP policy brings.
Below are eight significant email marketing changes that took place and how our industry has reacted to them based on the 2022 State of Email Report.
1. Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) Will Continue To Reshape the Email Marketing Landscape
Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), an Apple Mail feature announced in September of 2021, has allowed Apple email users to hide their IP addresses from senders, making it impossible to link or track a subscriber’s online activity and location to an email address.
For marketers, this means two things:
- Behavioral segmentation has become more challenging in about 40% of cases, as Apple email recipients can choose to hide their personal information
- Email marketing metrics have become less accurate, making it difficult to track key email KPIs such as open rates, click-through rates, and others.
Collect zero-party data: Engage your customers with interactive content like quizzes, polls, online calculators, interactive infographics, webinars, and other easy-to-digest content to collect personal information they are willing to share. Then, use that information to create relevant messaging through actionable data.
2. Obscured Subscriber Recency Will Lower Email Deliverability
Subscribers who recently interacted with any brand are more likely to convert. However, as the new MPP reality makes it harder to measure subscriber recency for Apple users, the global email deliverability rate declines.
Check your inbox placement rate (IPR): An IPR shows how many emails get delivered to the inbox rather than the spam folder. Here are the average metrics for 2021:
- Inbox placement rate – 85%
- Spam placement rate – 6%
- Missing rate – 9%
Work on your reputation: Whether your email ends up in the inbox or spam folder largely depends on your reputation in the eyes of your mailbox provider (MBP) and Microsoft’s Spam Fighters program that asks users about the quality of received emails. To gain the trust of your subscribers, always ask them for feedback, respond to the criticism you receive, and keep your subscribers engaged, so they are eager to register positive outcomes for your brand.
3. Email Timing Will Become Even More Important
We all know it’s best to send emails around 10 a.m. or 4 p.m., but there’s more to this than meets the eye. Over 70% of all email traffic occurs within the first 10 minutes of an hour, congesting inboxes with tons of letters.
Shift your sends by 10 to 15 minutes to get an increase across all metrics. Also, send emails on weekends when inboxes are the least congested.
4. Bounce Rates Will Increase
The average bounce rate in 2021 was:
- 0.4% for hard bounce rate (bounced emails that the recipient’s mail server hasn’t accepted)
- 0.1% for soft bounce rate (bounced emails that the recipient’s mail server has accepted)
The notorious MPP will generate more bounces among dormant and inactive accounts, leading to a higher average bounce rate.
Check your bounce logs: A bounced email returns a code in one of two formats – ‘5.x.x’ for permanent failures and ‘4.x.x’ for temporary failures. These formats can be used to build bounce suppression strategies. However, sometimes mailbox providers can issue a permanent code for a temporary failure and vice versa, misguiding you on a reason for email rejection. Check your bounce logs to verify the real reason, then indicate whether you should keep sending emails to the bounced email addresses.
5. Spam Complaint Rates Will Increase
The growth in email volume parallels the increase in spam complaint rates. As subscribers become pampered with high-quality content, more of them will choose to unsubscribe or mark your email letter as spam, should it not live up to their expectations.
With the average spam complaint rate of around 0.03%, you can expect more complaints on holidays and other busy days (when recipients are overwhelmed with emails).
Make unsubscribing easy: Unlike the spam complaint rate, the unsubscribe rate does not affect your reputation or deliverability. In other words, you lose nothing by making unsubscribing easy. The ultimate goal is to make unsubscribing easier than marking your domain as spam, as this will allow you to decrease your spam complaint rates.
Move the one-click unsubscribe button from the footer to a more visible location within the email.
6. Spam Traps Will Become More Difficult To Manage
Spam traps used by mailbox providers, blocklist operators, and filtering companies can identify spam email senders.
Spam traps divide into three categories:
- Recycled – once valid email addresses that are now reassigned to identify spam
- Typo – emails with common typos
- Pristine – emails explicitly created to identify spam
As MPP makes it more challenging to manage recycled spam traps, more subscribers will become disengaged while appearing to regularly open emails. This will ultimately hinder deliverability and redirect more addresses into recycled spam traps.
Prevent spam traps by enabling:
- Confirmation upon registration and double opt-ins to reduce the number of new spam traps
- Early address suppression (30 days or earlier) to reduce the number of recycled spam traps
- CAPTCHA to prevent bot-driven sign-ups
7. Open Rate and Click Rate Will Continue To Lose Accuracy
Bot-driven registrations, image caching, and spam filter testing significantly lower the accuracy of open rate and click rate, while the arrival of Apple’s MPP made them even less reliable.
Analyze engagement and make your brand visible:
- Display your brand logo in the inbox
- Analyze a greater number of clicks and opens to make tests reliable
- Make your email letters accessible to every category of recipients by adding plain text and color contrast
8. Unsubscribe Rates Will Decrease, but This Doesn’t Mean More Conversions
Not only is the decrease in the unsubscribe rate compensated by an increase in spam complaint rates, but it has almost nothing to do with your conversion rate. Like always, you must work on your email’s relevance to convert more leads.
Let your recipients control the process:
- Make your email preference center (if you have one) easily accessible to your customers so they can choose the topics and frequency of updates they are comfortable with
- Let your recipients ‘snooze’ your emails (temporarily remove them from the inbox) until they need them
- Allow subscribers to choose how often they want to hear from you, then feed them information that ignites a sense of urgency to commit to your products or services
These measures will reduce unsubscribe rates and boost brand loyalty. Remember, happy customers are always more likely to convert.
The introduction of MPP has changed the email marketing game going forward, emphasizing the importance of relevance and empathy — not just commercialism — in emails. At the end of the day, though, focusing on the value of your email letters is still the best route you can take, just now even more apparent.
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