With the IOS 15 release, Apple added a feature to Apple’s Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection, that prevents user’s email being tracked by senders. All mail will now track as opened, regardless of whether or not the user has opened it, all mail will apear. It will also not report IP addresses.
The technical how-to behind is that Mail app email is routed through a proxy server that will touch/display the small tracking image that most marketing mail apps use as a way of tracking mails be opened.
It’s skewing the results of email campaigns that use Opens.
Campaigns are likely going to report higher open rates. But how higher does depend on the apps that your user’s use for mail.
Already today tracking Opens is not always a trustworthy metric. Gmail users often under report opens. That same tracking image is not always displayed in the Gmail preview panel when an email is long. As well, opens are under reported when users don’t display images, for all mail clients.
That’s why you sometimes see a Click reported for a user and not an Open.
When measuring user engagement with email, I prefer to track Clicks because you can add in campaign parameters and track them at the destination of the click, in something like Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager. Though this doesn’t capture links you put into your emails to pages that you don’t own – you have to rely on your email system to report those accurately.
So, although there is some noise about this feature, it is shining a light on why we use Open as a metric at all.
It is most useful in generic testing at a high level. Like if you were testing subject lines to see what is more attractive to your users. I say at a high level, because you aren’t drilling down to specific users. You are likely comparing the overall statistic against an alternate subject in an A/B test. Or against the normal trend.
In this situation. You might want to continue using Open, just adjust the expectations of the trend. And don’t get excited over what may seem like a bump in the near term.
At other times, we may be using open (or the lack of it) to take a defined action or activate automation. In this situation, it may no longer be a useful trigger to look at.
Tracking opens is something to revisit and rethink. As usual, it depends on why you are using it and what you are testing.
There is a definite towards tighter privacy in devices, apps and browsers, is changing how marketing is tracking audiences.
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