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Changes are Coming for Your Email Metrics: How Your Marketing can Adapt

July 1, 2021

changes are coming for email metrics: how your marketing can adapt

You may not be able to rely on open rate in your email marketing any more. That goes for performance tracking, of course – but it affects more than that, even including automation trees and subscriber segments. Apple has recently made user privacy their priority, and with that shift comes some sudden changes to the email metrics marketers can use to track user behavior for a large swath of email users. We saw similar effects when users were presented a prompt to opt in to tracking on third party apps – and this new policy is not much different, it’s just applied to email.

These changes to effective email metrics are tectonic; they’ve been a long time coming, and they’re creating an upheaval in how some marketers measure success. This latest change could break one of the more widely-used tools digital marketers have in their kits – but only if they’re not attentive and careful. Not to worry! If you follow these changes and go with them (or work with a digital marketing agency that does – like Rearview Advertising), there are ways to measure email performance that may be even more fruitful than watching open rates. Read on to find out what exactly is going on, and how we can all adapt a strategy for success.

Apple’s Announced Email Privacy Changes

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection initiative starts with this: mail content will be loaded automatically after delivery – regardless of whether a user actually opens it. That creates a problem for marketing pixels.

A pixel is a small image, unique to each email send, coupled with code that tracks when it’s loaded. Those pixels will be opened every time – creating a false positive, rendering user opens untraceable.

The iPhone holds the highest number of users out of any mobile device in email marketing, constituting 73% of our own email readers for example. If this new policy is applied globally, most emails sent to Apple devices will be automatically marked “open” by the included pixel – rendering that data useless.

What Email Functions are Affected by Apple’s Privacy Changes?

  • Reporting: Metrics that use open rates, unique opens, device type and location, and time of open will be rendered useless with a flood of positive flags and junk data.
  • Automation: Trees that depend on opens will become worse than useless – they’ll send out the rest of the “opened” chain to all subscribers, regardless of actual interest. That could trigger a cascade of spam reports – terrible for deliverability on any future emails.
  • A/B Testing: Testing subject lines will be more difficult, with opens reported on all tested emails regardless.

open rate and click rate are important stats in these email metrics changes from Apple

What Can We Do to Adapt and Succeed?

A closer eye on click-throughs will point to effective content and calls to action. That shift in focus should include automations and segments too – switch your triggers to track click-throughs in order to identify active readers and classify them accordingly. You can also leverage UTMs and analytics tools to watch as users move into and through your site – giving you the perfect chance to learn, and to optimize what they’re seeing when they arrive.

All that said: write good, effective content and send emails people want to read! It only makes sense that giving readers what they’re looking for improves click-through, brand trust, and the million other details that go into the customer journey. Track click-throughs, optimize the content on your site for readers, establish credibility and knowledge, and deliver what readers want, and you’ll see real results from your email marketing. The death knell of the open rate is just the opening bell of a whole marketplace of fantastic marketing content – you don’t have to fear it at all.

That is, you have nothing to fear as long as you’re working with the right marketing partner. At Rearview Advertising, results are our priority – and with in-depth reporting we’re glad to show you the results of your company’s efforts. Work with a marketer that goes deeper than open rate, into the heart of what your customers really want to see, and outlive these changes to common email metrics. Reach out to us to talk about your current email marketing strategy, and how this change is an opportunity to make it even better.

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