Shifting From Open Rates to Engagement in Email Marketing

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Written by Yael Darom

Jul 9, 2023

Email open rate metrics were once the go-to metric for measuring the success of email campaigns.
But in recent years, with the rise of privacy regulations, such as Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), many marketers say that this vanity metric can no longer be an email engagement or performance benchmark and has become inaccurate and irrelevant. 

However, this shift creates opportunities for marketers to innovate their metric monitoring. In this article, we’ll explore Apple’s MPP implications on email marketing and what marketers should focus on to achieve an effective email marketing campaign. 

What we’ll cover: 

  • What is MPP?  
  • Apple’s MPP Implications on Email Marketing   
  • The Rise of Alternative Metrics 
  • What should be your go-to metric 


Simply Put, What is Apple’s MPP? 

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) was officially announced in September 2021.  

MPP is a privacy-focused feature integrated into Apple’s Mail app. It aims to enhance user privacy by preventing senders from using invisible tracking pixels to gather information about the recipient. 

In other words, when a subscriber that activated Apple Mail Privacy Protection receives an email, Apple Mail preloads pixels, causing the tracking pixel to fire indicating that the email has been opened.  

So technically, MPP “opens” automatically every single email, thus leading to inflated open rates, at times even 100%. 


Apple’s MPP Implications on Email Marketing  

Here are some key implications that marketers need to consider: 

  1. Loss of Accurate Open Rate Tracking: One of the primary impacts of MPP is that marketers no longer have accurate data on Apple Mail users that actually opened their emails when they opened them, the device type used, or geolocation information.
  2. Compromised Email Performance Reporting: With open rates inflated by MPP, email performance reporting becomes more challenging. Marketers may struggle to assess the impact of their email content, subject lines, or even A/B testing without accurate open rate data. This limitation can hinder the ability to refine and optimize email campaigns effectively. 
  1. Limitations on Geolocation Tracking: MPP also restricts the ability to track geolocation information of Apple Mail users. Geolocation data is valuable for targeting specific regions or tailoring content based on location-based preferences. Without access to this data, marketers may rely on other methods or data sources to personalize their messages accordingly. 
  1. Adoption of Alternative Metrics: With open rates becoming unreliable, marketers will need to shift their focus to alternative metrics to gauge the success of their email marketing campaigns. Metrics such as click-through rates, response rates, conversion rates, and overall engagement rates become more important in measuring the effectiveness of email marketing efforts. 


The Rise of Alternative Metrics 

With open rates losing their accuracy, marketers need to explore alternative metrics to assess the effectiveness of their email campaigns.  

Metrics such as click-through rates (CTR), response rates (number of contacts who replied out of total approached), and conversions provide a more comprehensive and reliable view of campaign success.  

These engagement-based metrics ensure that email marketing efforts remain effective in a privacy-conscious landscape. 

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Focus on Response Rates

Leveraging Conversational AI tools can empower marketers to engage with prospective customers in a personalized, timely manner, and gather valuable insights, ultimately driving conversation rates and meaningful interactions throughout the customer journey. 

Unlike open or click metrics, Response Rate stands out as a significant metric in email marketing, focusing on genuine two-way interactions and measuring the effectiveness of engaging your prospects in meaningful conversations that drive outcomes. 

Overall, Apple’s MPP brings a fundamental shift in how email marketing metrics are tracked and evaluated.  

Marketers will need to adapt their strategies, explore alternative metrics, and find new ways to personalize and automate their campaigns effectively in the face of these limitations.  


In Summary: 

While Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection disrupts the traditional approach to tracking email open rates, it presents an opportunity for email marketers to evolve their strategies and embrace the tools that can lead to higher engagement-based metrics.  


For more information on how Conversational AI can boost interactions, click here 

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