In the world of digital advertising, data tracking is a key component to the success of your campaigns, as well as allowing you to measure and assess everything from user location to customer spending patterns and intent. With the need for accurate digital information comes the equally important need for the safeguarding of personal details and data ownership, creating the need for a fine balance between privacy and marketing opportunity.
In the face of wider public knowledge on the power of user data, and the implementation of new laws such as GDPR, many digital providers are working on new privacy features to benefit their users. Of these, the biggest impact on many businesses’ data collection has been Apple.
Apple recently began rolling out their new iOS 15 privacy features, including Mail Privacy Protection that expands existing privacy options to include the blocking of tracking on social media, and an expansion of email privacy in an effort to reduce spam and the harvesting of email addresses for marketing purposes.
In June, Apple previewed new privacy protection functionality in it’s mobile and desktop operating systems (iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8). These updates are aimed at helping users better control & manage access to their data – and represent the latest innovations in their “legacy of privacy leadership”, as the company continues to expand its commitment to privacy.
In Apple’s own words: “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.
For a number of years, Intelligent Tracking Prevention has helped protect Safari users from unwanted tracking by using on-device machine learning to stop trackers while allowing websites to function normally. This year, Intelligent Tracking Prevention is getting even stronger by also hiding the user’s IP address from trackers. This means they can’t utilise the user’s IP address as a unique identifier to connect their activity across websites and build a profile about them.”
If Apple Mail users opt in to the new mail privacy update, it will effectively hide their IP address, location, and prevent senders from seeing when and if they’ve opened an email. For many CRM & email systems, where read receipts and open rate statistics are used to then fuel onward sales actions or behaviours, this may have some serious impacts.
This update may hinder digital marketers’ ability to accurately target emails based on geography/location and may actually inflate email open rates because the new update requires emails to be pre-loaded by Apple. Other marketing efforts that rely on open tracking, like list segmentation and workflow/automation enrollment, will also likely be impacted.
The challenge now comes when the onward email is sent to a segment of this database, and clients are now unable to track the engagement with this email as accurately to continue developing a potential sale.