The privacy rights of individuals using social media platforms has had a lot of media attention of late. Changes have been made to protect the user, which affect how accurately marketers can target them. Privacy changes which have not received as much media attention, have also come to email.
Apple recently announced changes to their email services that allow users to have some control over their privacy. Verizon has added new spam filters and timing mechanisms. Apple’s email service is MacMail and Verizon owns Yahoo.
MacMail users are now able to opt-out of features to protect their privacy including:
- Sharing data about whether or when an email has been opened
- Sharing data about where a contact is located when they open it
- Sharing the type of device and client a contact is using when they open it
Yahoo, AOL and Verizon
Verizon emails consist of yahoo.ca, yahoo.com, aol.com, verizon.com and verizon.net. The changes do no effect individual users but instead Verizon recently imposed new spam filters and timing mechanisms. High bounce rates may occur due to a slower email flow, causing “time outs” that result in bounces, even though the email itself is valid.
So how will this affect your database? The answer is…that depends.
The MacMail changes will result in unreliable open metrics, location data, and device types. The latter is really inconsequential. However, open rates and location are important to your content and planning your ad spend. How unreliable the results will be depends on how many users reset there privacy and that is a great unknown.
The Verizon changes may increase your bounce rates with emails that bounce when they are actually still valid.
If you would like to understand how much these changes could potential affect your email list we have a few suggestions:
– Check your email database to see how many of your subscribers use Apple and Yahoo mail. Mail Chimp help has an easy article to explain how to do so here. We could not find a similar article for Constant Contact but you could export your list to excel and apply some filters to sort it.
– Understand your current open and bounce rates. It would be helpful to have a quick reference sheet of your opens and bounces for the last year to be able to quickly compare month to month going forward.
– Understand your email open rates on desktop vs. mobile. It is likely that a lot more of your mobile open rates are coming from Apple devices.
Anytime you are looking at email reports in the future, your open rate may be inflated and your bounce rate could be higher. If a contact enables Apple Mail Privacy Protection, Apple Mail will preload pixels, essentially counting as opening the email, even if your contact hasn’t opened the email. Verizon’s email flow may cause extra bounces. None of the current changes effect the click rate reporting…so far.
With both of us being MacMail users on all devices (5 in total) we have not seen any pop-ups or info from Apple letting us, as consumers, know about the privacy options. If we have not seen it, likely others have not either.
We keep monthly reports for our of our clients that include email opens, click rate, bounce rate, most clicked links, unsubscribe rate and net list growth. While we have always watched the open rate, it is actually the click rate that is most important to us. The changes made by Apple and Verizon solidify the importance of clicks. Providing multiple opportunities for readers to click in every email, driving to appropriate and engaging landing pages (not always just your home page) and following up on the clicks will keep your email list an important tool regardless of the changes made by the email service providers.
While Apple and Verizon are the first to make privacy changes, the others (aka Google) are also not likely far behind.
We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf for 14 years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of July 31, 2016 our life and our business became ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.