This past September, Apple released its highly anticipated Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature to iOS15 and iPadOS 15 devices. While it’s not available yet for Macbooks, it will be available by the end of the year when MacOS Monterey is released. The MPP affects any email opened through the Apple Mail app, but it does not affect other apps on Apple devices, such as Gmail.

Once available, the MPP will send emails to a proxy server to pre-load the content and track pixels before the email is delivered — effectively opening the email regardless if the intended reader opens it or not.

And what was the big thing we learned? We should have invested in advertising space in Apple’s App Store …

Just kidding, though that ad space has definitely increased its value. Really, what we saw was pretty well anticipated throughout the email industry. It’s just the next phase of the increased demand for personal privacy. Mostly, we’ve seen a little bump in the open rates (sometimes more than a little bump, depending upon adoption of the MPP to your email group) from the false opens created by the proxy server. Really, what changed is we’re no longer focusing on certain metrics, especially the open rate (our poor A/B testing…) 

One of the benefits of this? Apple can only cache the image pixels if the Mail app is running. This means you are seeing real and active subscribers, and this is a great way to keep your list properly cleaned and maintained. 

While MPP has changed a lot of things, it hasn’t changed anything for the large number of consumers who are not using Apple Mail. This is a great time to segment those users out so you can fully leverage the clients and devices that still track and report on opens. Assuming that the missing data of those using MPP will follow the same trends, you can still find things like email engagement, deliverability, and overall sentiment. 

If I were asked the one thing I would do right away with all my email lists, it would be to run a re-engagement campaign. Remind everyone why they signed up in the first place. Remind them you’re still here, waiting for them to come to your destination. 

This disengaged audience has already been segmented out to you; they’re your contacts who haven’t opened emails in a year or more. Even better, they’re any contact that hasn’t engaged with you at all in the last six months. You’re going to need a subject line that will grab their attention. It’s now that you’re going to ask them if they want to engage with you, or if you’re going to walk away. This can be downright terrifying. It’s taken you ages to collect that list, and now it’s time to let go. 

This will increase your deliverability because you’re about to stop sending to people who just aren’t that into you. This is a quick program that can be easily automated:

  • Step One: Send all your unengaged users an email asking them to re-engage (this is a good place for you to use custom formatting and include their name in the subject line). 
  • Step Two: Move all the responders into a new nurture campaign full of fresh content. Move the ones who don’t respond to Step Three. 
  • Step Three: Let them know that you’re going to leave them alone if you don’t hear anything from them. Finally, actually let them go and move them into your unsubscribed list. 

Once you’ve finished the process of your re-engagement campaign, you will be left with a much smaller — but much stronger — list. The higher rate of click-throughs and the decrease in bounce rates and unsubscribes will increase your email deliverability and overall reputation score. That’s good for everyone.  

Remember a few things. Apple Mail users do not make up your entire list, so don’t feel shy about breaking out your non-Apple users to create an overall impression of your user base. Use click through rates and other engagement metrics. And finally, clean your list and say goodbye to your unengaged users. They’ll thank you and you’ll be rewarded with an email campaign that is being sent to engaged users.

Photo by Andy Wang on Unsplash