Deliverability Insights: How Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will impact the 2021 holiday season

How Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will impact the 2021 holiday season


The announcement by Apple of its Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature, which we covered in our A Guide to navigating Apple’s email data privacy post, has added an element of unpredictability to an already complicated Email Deliverability world. 

The changes to Apple’s mail app are set to launch in September-November, leading up to and during the peak purchasing time of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and end of year holidays. Marketers and bulk email senders may well be considering how best to prepare for the peak season of 2021 and we’re here to help! 

Email Marketing is essentially about two key factors, both of which you, the email sender, have direct control over. These factors are how you gather your subscribers and how you maintain your database over time. In this article we’ll look at both and how you can prepare for the coming busy season.


List Collection

Growing a healthy list is similar to having a healthy partnership or relationship. The key factors are honesty, authenticity, and clear communication. 


You want to make it easy for people to sign up to your list, clearly communicating what content they will receive and how often. At the same time you want to collect as much relevant information as possible so you can send targeted and personalised emails with higher engagement. 


One of the best ways to do this is to have a preference centre for your contacts, giving them greater control over the emails they receive. You can then build on this initial high engagement with a welcome email that introduces your brand and cement on your relationship with your audience.  


You also want to protect your sign up forms from spambot attacks using a reCaptcha form.  Our subscribe forms have this feature added by default and we have more information on other security-minded features


List Management 

The best source of information on deliverability and inbox placement are the signals you’re getting directly from your audience. These positive or negative engagement signals are the same ones mailbox providers are looking at to determine how to treat your emails.

High engagement (open rates, click rates) shows you’re a trusted sender that’s sending wanted and relevant content, while a lack of engagement shows the mail recipients don’t want your emails, meaning more emails may be filtered to the spam folder. 

Emma has straightforward tools for reviewing your results and segmenting your audience. For individual mailings, you can refer to the Response page in your account. 


We anticipate that the Open Rates for any emails sent to recipients who predominantly use Apple’s mail app for checking emails, and who turn on the MPP feature, will show a higher open rate than prior to Apple’s release of these features. As such, now is the time to review your engagement metrics, especially open rates, to establish a baseline that you can use to compare and understand your engagement metrics after the release of MPP. 


You can segment your audience based on response data, for mailings up to 18 months in the past, and you can use these segment tools to review opens and clicks over time. Also, to view how your mailings are going over a period of time, Emma’s Insights features gives you informative graphs and charts on how your audience is growing so you can use the data to improve future campaigns or to more readily act on any changes in engagement.


Emma also offers a monthly automated email that features an Insights Report of your account. The Insights Report will include the number of campaigns you sent that month, their average mailing score, open and click rates, audience growth metrics, and also identifies the highest performing mailing based on click rate. You can opt-in for this email by selecting the Engagement Overview option from Insights > Engagement in your account.

List Hygiene

Finally, just like in any relationship, your lists also need ongoing care. You need to pay attention to it regularly and check in with your subscriber base. 


Permission to send emails to your audience is not evergreen and over time people may no longer engage with your content or be interested in receiving your emails. By continuing to send emails to inactive contacts and invalid email addresses you run the risk of your emails being marked as spam, which directly impacts your reputation as a trusted sender, and also emailing spamtraps, which can result in your emails being blocked!


We recommend that you review your lists every 6 months for trends in engagement—more frequently if you’re a daily sender—and send regular re-engagement emails with a strong call to action, allowing the recipient to show whether they wish to remain on your list or not. 


Mailbox providers will still use recipient engagement to determine the email sender’s reputation, so definitely prune your list of dormant contacts (people who have shown no activity or engagement anywhere online) every 12 months. 


Wrap up

This 2021 holiday season is unpredictable, however as the Latin phrase Fortuna Eruditis Favet says "fortune favours the prepared mind". By preparing now and anticipating the coming changes, email senders have an opportunity to engage with their audience successfully, which will help maintain their sender reputation while mitigating any potential risk to the success of their mailings. For more information on how to prepare for the holidays see our 2021 holiday marketing preparedness guide.


About the Author

John Peters is a Deliverability Specialist for Emma and Campaign Monitor, and has been part of our Compliance and Deliverability team for seven years. He's a regular editor for our deliverability-focused blog posts.

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