Apple MPP Adapt Series: Maintaining Ultimate List Health in the Age of Increased Privacy

Wael Elasady
Email Marketing

It’s been almost two months since Apple released its iOS 15 operating system. Apple clients who upgrade to the new operating system or purchase a new iPhone with that operating system already installed will be prompted to opt into Apple Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). One of Apple MPP’s biggest challenges for marketers is that open metrics for any users using an Apple Mail client will be significantly inflated and therefore unreliable.

Apple MPP Series List Health Blog Image

Adoption of the new iOS 15 operating system has been slower than past releases. That means the effects on open metrics are still low, but we know this number will continue to rise over the next year. As people adopt iOS 15 and opt into MPP, the accuracy of open rate data will further erode.

Our last article in the Apple MPP Adapt Series focused on how following data acquisition best practices is the first line of defense for marketers in an age of decreased visibility. In this installment of our series, we focus on what comes next. Even the best data acquisition practices will still require marketers to perform regular list maintenance to avoid ending up with a stale list that plummets the email sender’s reputation. 

Maintaining Healthy Email Reputation by Sunsetting Unengaged Contacts

In the past marketers kept their lists and email reputation healthy by regularly sunsetting chronically unengaged contacts. Before MPP, you could easily do this by using behavioral data to create segments that identify which contacts have not opened an email in a specified period of time. This strategy, which we’ve written about at length here, will continue to work for all your contacts who are not Apple Mail client users. Their open data will continue to be relatively accurate and untouched by Apple’s MPP. However, for those 35-47% of email users estimated to use Apple Mail clients, using open data as a measure of engagement will no longer work.  

For the subset of data that is affected by Apple MPP, we recommend users begin to rely on alternative engagement metrics such as website visits, form views, and most importantly email clicks, which are not affected by Apple’s privacy changes, to identify unengaged segments to sunset.  

How to Sunset Unengaged Contacts with Act-On

Luckily, Act-On provides our customers with easy-to-create customizable segments. Here is an example of a segment which allows you to use customizable logic to identify contacts who have not engaged based on open data or an alternative combination of metrics so as to capture the Apple MPP affected data set.

Understanding the Signal of Interest 

One important thing to note is that to successfully utilize clicks in an email as an alternative to opens, it’s important to understand that opens are generally a softer signal of interest in your product or service. Therefore opens are normally far more numerous than clicks. When someone clicks on one of the links or CTAs in your email, that’s generally a stronger signal of interest, and will often come later in the customer journey

Pro tip: When utilizing clicks as your metric, set a longer time frame to avoid accidentally sunsetting a large group of contacts who may be interested, but have yet to take action.

Use Engagement Metrics Over Opens When Segmenting to Clean Your List

In today’s world privacy is becoming more important and marketers will need to adjust to having less visibility than we once had into some customers’ behaviors. Familiarizing yourself with all the engagement metrics at your disposal and beginning to utilize those metrics in your email strategy will help you not only adapt but thrive in today’s sending environment.