It’s been a few weeks since Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection announcement (check out our press release where we cover high level impacts). We’ve been taking this time to understand the impacts to the marketing community, how Delivra can help you evolve and navigate these changes, and more importantly, the opportunity this presents to us all to think and engage differently.
Please join us for a special webinar event – Navigating an Evolving Privacy Environment. Join Delivra and special industry guests as we discuss these changes and our tips for how you can evolve and thrive in this changing environment.
What we’ll cover:
- Our predictions for the future of privacy and customer expectations
- How iOS privacy changes impact your day-to-day
- Practical applications of this change
- How you can evolve your plans with Delivra
- Plus, we answer your most frequently asked questions
Our Expert Speakers:
- Desta Price, Chief Product Officer, CM Group
- Tom Janofsky, Chief Technology Officer, CM Group
- Monica Deretich, eCommerce and Digital Leader and Lead Retail Advisor, Sailthru
- Allison Mezzafonte, Digital Media Executive and Media Advisor
Desta: Welcome, and thank you for joining us today for our webinar on “Navigating an Evolving Privacy Environment.” I’m Desta Price, CM Group’s chief product officer. Some of you may ask, “Who is CM Group?” CM Group has 7 brands and more than 70,000 customers, with nearly 1,000 employees around the world to deliver email and multichannel marketing solutions to the industry. The presenters today are proud to represent our teams around the globe who are honored to work with you, our customers, each and every day.
We’ve got a great lineup for you today of information and speakers. First, Tom will walk through the details of Apple’s upcoming updates. We’ll then look at how we move forward, both technically and strategically, in light of what we know of these changes. Before we hear from our product teams, we’ll meet with two seasoned industry experts in a fireside chat to talk about past hurdles we’ve seen in digital marketing, how the industry overcame them, and what lessons we can learn and apply to what’s currently happening in the evolving state of privacy.
It’s just as much of an opportunity as it is a challenge
How businesses interact with consumers continues to evolve, and we must find new ways of creating and nurturing relationships that drive value. These relationships need to be beneficial to both the customer and the company. In recent years, we’ve seen a lot of policy changes. Global policies and regulatory changes affect advertising technology, digital marketing, the ecosystem at large, including the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, Canada’s anti-spam law, and also California’s consumer privacy law.
CM Group is up for the challenge and seizing the opportunity
To navigate this evolving environment, we need to adapt our consumer relationships. We need to establish and grow them over time to build meaningful connections. Our approach is gathering first-party data. We’ve seen this already in practice in our everyday world. For example, we give a phone number or email address in exchange for loyalty points or a discount. Consumers want and deserve to be in control of their data, and it’s our mission to enable personalized, engaging connections between you and your customers in this new world.
We’re going to provide examples and some ideas on how to move forward in this dynamic environment. But first, before we do that, we want to give you more insight into the changes that are happening. For those of you more technically-minded marketers, you’ll appreciate some of the details we have to share. Let me turn the conversation over to Tom Janofsky, CM Group’s CTO, to tell you about what our teams have been doing with testing and research over the last few weeks. All yours, Tom.
Mail Privacy Protection overview
Tom: Thanks again for joining us today. I’m Tom Janofsky, CM Group’s CTO. Today I’d like to talk about the technical details behind the changes that Apple has introduced. At a high level, these Apple changes are consistent with broad trends we’ve seen in the email market over the last few years, including GDPR, Gmail image proxying, and open pixel filtering. The new Apple features we’re discussing today are called Apple Mail Privacy and iCloud Private Relay. Both of these will be opt-in features for iOS, iPad OS, and Mac OS users.
Icloud Private Relay will initially only be available to users on a paid iCloud account. Based on the user experience we’ve seen in the beta, as well as the uptake rate for the recently released App Tracking Transparency feature, we believe that many users will opt into using these privacy features. Let’s go through specifically what the new features are, and then we’ll talk about specifically who it impacts, and what features you use today that may be impacted. When a user opts into Apple Mail Privacy, the native mail application will first load all images that are shown in an email when the email is downloaded to the device. This is not how it works today.
Which features will impact my subscribers and how?
Today, email images are only loaded when an email is open, including tracking pixels. This is how we determine open rates for an email. Those images are also going to be loaded through a proxy. So this means that the direct IP address of the subscriber is not gonna be available to the email service provider. Additionally, the user agent, which is what an email service provider uses to determine what kind of email client is being used to open the device, is no longer going to be specific enough to identify the device.
In addition, if the subscriber has opted into the iCloud Private Relay, that same functionality that hides the IP address from loading in an email is also going to be carried over to the Safari browser.
So what subscribers does this impact?
Any subscriber who is using the native Apple Mail application to read their email, be it on an iPhone, an iPad, or a Mac, will be able to turn these features on. Subscribers who use those devices would instead read their mail through Gmail, or through an Outlook application, or on the respective web views, are not impacted.
Open rates will become less accurate
Initial Surveys show that for consumer lists, this may be 30% to 40% of traffic, but the percentage of people who are affected will depend greatly on your specific audience. So what does this mean for working with an email product? First of all, it means that open rates will become less accurate. Since email service providers measure opens by counting number of times that an image is loaded, and the Apple Mail privacy change will download all images when an email is opened by a device, this means that open rates will likely go up, and also, there’ll be no way of knowing if a specific subscriber has opened an email or not.
Geo-targeting won’t be as dependable
The changes regarding IP address masking will affect geo-targeting features. So if you’re currently building a list based on the geographic region that a subscriber is located in, that will become less accurate over time. Specifically how less accurate it becomes won’t be clear until the feature is available in wider use from Apple. Additional areas of impact include engagement and open targeting. So using engagement criteria that target opens or automation steps that target opens will be less accurate than before.
When will the changes go into effect?
Also, device and client segmentation, building lists that use devices or operating systems, will be less accurate than it used to be. In terms of timeline, Apple traditionally releases their updates in September. We will continue to monitor and test each new beta release. We believe that these changes will get widely released in Q3 of this year, and based on adoption rates from previous operating system upgrades, we expect that we will see those be quickly adopted across iOS, iPad OS, and Mac Mail.
Apple’s Email Privacy Changes’ Impact on Your Marketing Strategies & Measurements
Desta: Thanks, Tom. Let’s step back and take a look at how these changes may impact our marketing strategies and how we measure them. We’ll talk about specific best practices later in the presentation. Right now, let’s recap the key things you need to know about how these changes will shape your efforts in the near future. So, the three key things to know are:
Allow yourself more time for KPI measurement
Reviews, referrals, events and more, drip series and campaigns can influence user behavior just by being in a customer’s inbox. Use lengthier time windows to measure success.
Be direct and simply ask the consumer for the data you need
Collect data directly from the consumer when it’s important for segmentation or targeting. Ask, don’t infer, about language, location, time zone, and device preferences. Previously used inference methods are becoming increasingly less reliable.
The more info, the better
Consider collecting additional personal identifiers, phone numbers, social handles, to help bridge gaps in conversion. Mast identifiers and features such as Hide My Email could make it harder to use a lone identifier as a single source of truth.
Where do we go from here?
With these thoughts in mind, later today you’ll hear more about solution best practices and recommendations in response to the evolving conditions that we live in. We’ll talk about updating your landing pages, preference setters, and subscription forms to collect and form customer segments. You’ll also get guidance on how to leverage our platforms to identify success metrics beyond opens. We’ll also talk to two industry experts about their vision on how privacy is shifting the marketing landscape. This isn’t the first technological change affecting digital marketing, and we know it won’t be the last.
We’ll talk with our guests on how to prepare for changes, and what to do to manage expectations for your stakeholders. So, where do we go from here? There’s several areas that we can focus on for the future. First, going beyond opens and click-through rates. Opens and click-through rates were, and remain, proxies to larger success metrics, such as revenue or page views. Clicks will remain a relevant metric for engagement, but they don’t need to be the only success metric that you’re following.
Email marketers often refer to single mass sends, what we used to call batch-and-blasts, as campaigns. The irony is that these sends are themselves just a moment in a series of customer experiences. The aggregate of those experiences is what matters. A campaign is a series of actions leading toward a goal, or multiple goals. It’s time to talk about those goals. What are they, and what do they mean to you? As we look forward at our roadmap in the coming months, know that our goals are centered around knowing about your business goals. We’ll also be focused on making reporting on key metrics easier for you, providing you with a one-stop shop for your success metrics across your digital channels, and making the transfer of data between your systems and our systems seamless, and as real time as possible.
Open rate and click-to-open rate are metadata points about consumer behavior, but they are rarely the true business goal of email campaigns. A consumer’s loyalty to a product or a brand persists, even if they don’t visit it, consume it, or use it every single day. Deriving the type of phone or browser from a web call, from a device to server, mapping an IP address to a city or a region, hinging the definition of success on long-form newsletter because it was opened, but for an often indeterminate length of time, these are examples of metadata points.
Digital marketing has always relied on processing metadata about consumers to position itself as a more attractive mechanism for selling products and delivering information. Any instance to give precise understanding of ROI appeals to executives. Media has long dealt with imperfections in measurement. Ratings books, print circulation numbers, even subscription counts, these were traditionally accepted measures of scale and success, but they never correlated to a precise number of eyes and ears consuming the content. It was and remains, at best, an estimate.
Commerce marketers benefit from straightforward attribution models thanks to cookies and URL parameters. Purchases and revenue are often easy to collect and are traced back to ad hoc campaign sends. However, affiliate marketers know the difficulty in tracing things back to the right source every time. Revenue and purchase count are easy to calculate, but not every commerce company sees those values as the same, nor are they always the measure of success other stakeholders are evaluating.
The explicit shift to implicit attribution. Across all verticals, digital marketers need to look and start taking credit for more consumer activity. We have existed far too long in an explicit attribution model when peers and other marketing channels display direct mail events are able to take credit through more implicit and less conservative attribution models. Here’s what’s going to be different, though. If you’re wondering, “Well, what’s the catch in all of this,” digital marketing and digital marketers will undergo a shift to be even more comfortable with implicit attribution models for measuring success.
Maybe a product review happens within seven days of receiving a post-purchase automation series. Let’s take credit for that. If a user clicks on a smiley face or a thumbs up in your long-form, self-contained newsletter at least once a week, take credit for it. Own that success and create a new baseline for active engagement. When a user attends an in-store or on-site event or webinar, attribute that fact to the most recent automation or mass send as a met goal. What we owe stakeholders and executives is an understanding that we, and they, were already comfortable with implicit models of attribution in digital marketing. We can expand that universe to report, attribute, and segment on so much more than email opens and clicks.
Email still works
So, why email still works. And remember, when it comes to building loyalty, end users don’t think of their interactions with your brand as a campaign or a statistic. Consumers rely on email as a trusted, direct medium that delivers information, news, discounts, shopping enticement, all in a mailbox that also houses critical bills, medical alerts, and messages from loved ones. A study in 2020 showed that email engagement was up 200% since the pandemic began, at a time when things were pretty uncertain.
That’s a great indicator of confidence in a medium that can queue app downloads, website logins, product reviews, travel plans, donations, event registrations, and so much more, all from a tap or a click in the palm of your hand. As our solutions continue to evolve to better tie push notifications, SMS, chat apps, and so much more to the overall workflow, we know email remains a tried and true method of communication. Let’s pause for a moment before we transition to our fireside chat.
So, thank you, everyone, again for your time today, and welcome to our fireside chat. Joining us now are two industry veterans who work closely with commerce and publishing brands across the world. They’re also experts in email marketing, and they’ve gotten their background using both our tools at CM Group, as well as others. So today I wanna actually welcome Monica and Allison to join me as part of our fireside chat. So Monica and Allison, if you wanna go ahead and unmute yourselves, and hopefully that then will give me the option to start by having you both introduce yourselves. Allison, maybe you can give us a little bit about your background to get started.
Allison: Yeah, sure. Thanks for having me here today. My name is Allison Mezzafonte. My background is in media and publishing. I have spent my career working at a variety of media companies and publishers, some digital, some print, some combination of the two. I originally started my career on the editorial side of the house and worked my way over to general management where I had been sitting over the last eight or so years until I left and went out on my own.
And so I work now as an advisor to CM Group, and I get to participate in lots of great events like this one. And because my background is very much in media and publishing, and I’ve been a customer twice now of Sailthru, I have this unique position where I get to sorta be the voice of the customer within the walls of the company, which is really fun. I kind of get to wear both hats, having been on the other side of the table where you all sit. So, I’m really happy to be here and excited for our conversation, and thanks again, Desta.
Desta: Absolutely. And we’re excited to have you here, and just hear a different perspective from somebody who’s kind of outside the walls and understands what happens day-to-day at one of our customers. So, Monica, maybe you can introduce yourself for us.
Monica: Of course. Hi, everyone. My name is Monica Deretich, and similar to Allison, I also sit outside of the walls and was a previous customer of Sailthru. I spent my career mostly entirely in retail embedded in ecommerce. I have worked for a subscription business, D2C, and now consult with retailers ranging from startup to enterprise, and even brick-and-mortar. So, I’m excited to be here. And similar to Allison, I also provide the lens of our retail marketer and what’s important to retailers, and the changing dynamics that I’m excited to talk about today. And I bring that to CM Group so that they can best serve their customers.
Desta: Well, I appreciate having you here as well. And, you know, we’ve been talking so far today really about the changes that Apple is bringing, which is nothing new. Privacy continues to evolve, and so we put some questions together that we really think our customers… You know, we’ve heard a lot from them, asked them to give us feedback on questions they’re having. But I think getting the two of you to kind of give your lens on some things, you know, from sitting in their shoes will be really helpful.
So let’s go ahead and get started. The first question is really, how do I get my executive team to understand this change? And, you know, we remember that everyone else in the industry is dealing with the same issue. This is, you know, privacy is changing for everyone. So I’d love maybe, Allison, if you could start us off with that.
Allison: Sure. Yeah, well, I mean, I think if there is one thing that we’ve seen across the media and publishing industry is that we are constantly having to adapt to industry changes. And so, I wish I could say that this was something new. It’s not. But I do think that we’re seeing generally, like, sorta two reactions, right? Either it’s sort of like, “The world is ending. The sky is falling. What are we going to do about this?” And then I think there are other companies where they’re just feeling less urgency and they’re sort of a little bit of like, “Well, what changes are coming up?”
And I think the thing that’s important to remember is that we have dealt with changes of this magnitude in the past, and we’ve always gotten through it, right? It’s forced us to adapt and be more efficient and strategic. And, you know, we’ve dealt with GDPR and CCPA and, you know, years ago dealing with Facebook and Google and their algorithm and policy updates. You know, media companies have gotten dinged left and right for things like bad UX, or bad ad experiences, or clickbait headlines, and it’s forced us to adapt. And I always think it’s sort of made us better for it.
And so I like to think of it as a great opportunity for the industry to improve, to really work on list maintenance and really our email strategies. There is one stat that I recently came across. It said that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data if it creates a more personalized experience. And so, I think that’s important to keep in mind. I think we have to figure out how we’re going to strike a balance here, not going too far in one direction, and making sure that we’re able to create great experiences for customers while still, you know, playing nice with Apple and managing these privacy changes.
Desta: It absolutely makes sense. Maybe, Monica, we can get your take on it.
Monica: Absolutely. So, on the retail side, I think we’ve been dinged in different ways. We’ve all had a very interesting and unprecedented holiday season, and I can’t believe it’s August and we’re going into it. So I think the nature of retail is that it’s typically responsive to, you know, immediate performance. So a little bit of blinders and catching breath is sort of the sentiment I’ve gathered from my peers. And I think with this new update coming and impacting yet another…or creating another unprecedented holiday season for retail, I think it’s almost the approach I would take if the, you know, repetition start to continue to bring this up.
And if I can give a tip to those listening in today. You know, bring this up in your recurring meetings and communications with your, you know, internal, cross-departmental partners. This is a big milestone. Be proactive. Start to understand and view your data, and see how much of, you know, your email list is using an Apple device. Understand the open rates and the differences. This is gonna help shape the conversation and educate internally to your executive team.
And if I can make a suggestion, in addition to understanding, you know, the current metrics, you know, start building and bubbling up at the high-level kind of pivot, and sort of demonstrate the agility that’s probably already been demonstrated in the last year because of all the changes and pivots you did as a result of last year.
Desta: Yeah, it’s definitely been 18, 20 months to remember, or not remember, I guess, depending on how you look at it, and I know it’s changed the world here. And obviously, as we look at privacy, people have become kind of more aware, I think, of things. And so, Allison, you touched on it a little bit. But, you know, as we look at the past, I think there are some moments where digital marketing has encountered some changes, and disruptive to the industry. Monica, maybe you start us off on this one. You can tell us a little bit more about kind of how you see those impacting what we do today. And how did we deal with them in the past? How do we take it forward?
Monica: Yeah, so Allison touched on GDPR and Castle, and I think, you know, in my experience those are the biggest disruptors in email. So I do think that we have gained so much in the last year. Just a positive spin as marketers, we’ve become so agile and flexible to things like supply chain issues, shipping delays, inventory challenges on the retail side, that we’ve been able to be really flexible, and that’s the biggest learning. While we may not have all of the answers and, you know, we’re sort of planning for the unpredictable, that is our biggest strength that we’ve basically gained in the last year.
And I think that I know we may be talking about these specific tactics, but GDPR and Castle were the biggest things, and we’ve gotten through that, right? It wasn’t easy. It had a impact. We’ve navigated it, you know. Marketing is all about iteration and optimization. You have to start somewhere, and then you have to test, right? It’s not a check the box and move on. It’s continue to work on and optimize.
Allison: Yeah, and I would add to that, you know, GDPR, CCPA, those were definitely challenges that we had to face as an industry. But even thinking back before that, you know, before Facebook and social channels were what they are now, you know, we were able to use them as marketing channels where you didn’t have to pay-to-play, where you could really control and own your own reach with your audience and control the message that you distributed to them.
And then, of course, that all changed. And when it changed, it was an abrupt sort of a slap in the face where, you know, businesses were building their businesses, their livelihoods depended on their ability to reach these people who were engaging with them on these channels, and then Facebook and otherwise decided to change that. But I think the takeaway is that there’s always going to be these types of pressures, and it’s like Monica said, we’re always being forced to adapt.
I think the reality is, in my opinion, is that as an industry, the sooner that we iterate and adapt, the better off we’re all going to be, specifically around things like changing KPIs. You know, if we all get on board with it, on the buy side and the sell side, I think, the sooner we can kind of move forward collectively.
Monica: I agree 100%. I instantly thought, “Accept the fate. Let’s just move forward.”
Desta: I was going to say I agree too. Change is inevitable. I mean, that’s what we live and breathe. That’s life. And so, how do we adapt to it? And how do we become smarter and learn from it in order to apply it forward? So, a slightly different question, kind of related. Is it still wise to focus on dormant and disengaged audiences? I know, you know, over the last, you know, many months of the pandemic, there was a lot of focus, and there are risks with deliverability in terms of domain reputation, etc., so we’d like your take on that.
Allison: Sure, I can jump in on that. So, I mean, my opinion is, it’s probably not the best place to put your resources. I mean, I think we’ve seen, you know, the post-COVID slump. There was a ton of engagement during peak 2020. We’ve seen a lot of that drop off. There has been challenges across the board at all different types of media companies, figuring out how to reengage these users. It’s not this day it’s not possible, but my personal opinion and this might be…it might swing a little bit too far in one direction, but, you know, my sense is like, let’s focus where we have an audience that is engaged, try to build out that profile, and maximize that audience.
Now, I think if ever there is a good time for us to be doing hygiene checks of our lists and get our audience to a good place, it’s now. So I would rather than focusing on re-engaging the people who’ve been dormant, I would think more about how can we build upon the audience that’s been incredibly engaged.
Desta: It makes sense. And maybe, Monica, your take on the retail side.
Monica: Oh, well, it actually matches perfectly to what Allison said, so I echo that, and not a focus on dormant or disengaged audiences. Maybe that’s a strategy for a different channel but focused on retention before they become disengaged. And, you know, last year, many retailers saw a trim in budget and headcount. So I typically guide my clients to focus on high-intent and high-value users and customers to generate the most results for all of their efforts.
Desta: It makes sense. You know, if we look at this, I’ll say this new world with privacy, you know, does it still make sense to do A/B testing of subject lines, or is that really now irrelevant based on kind of the information that we have available to us? And maybe, Allison, you can kick us off with that one.
Allison: Yeah, I mean, I think that there is always going to be learnings that we can gather, even if they’re not explicit. I think the bigger question is, like, how quickly will the technology adapt to keep up? Because really what this means is that KPIs are changing, right, which we all know. And the metrics that we once used to inform A/B testing, right, so opens, for example, are no longer an option for us. So what metrics are we going to be using to trigger these signals? And I think that’s a question for the technology partners that we all work with, that we…
Yeah, so we’ll continue to evolve. I don’t think we’re going to have the answer all said and done by September when these updates are due to happen. But I do think it’s very important to be having these conversations with your technology partners to understand what they’re thinking about and how they’re planning to adapt, knowing that metrics and the means of trigger are going to change.
Monica: And I agree. So, you should absolutely continue your work subject line testing. A subject line is still a lever for a marketer to engage, you know, a subscriber or customer. So, if I had run A/B winner tests solely on open rate, I probably would have put out some losers, to be honest. A subject line test should be looking at, yes, open rate to see the performance of the subject line, but all the way through to click, to the conversion, and revenue. Right? So if there are so many metrics to do it, you know, obviously it pushes it down the funnel and focus on click, but I think it’s important to follow the performance on your top winning metrics.
So if it’s first-time conversion rate on retail, or RPM, or revenue for your existing customers, run your subject line tests. It’s still a lever for marketers and look at a primary KPI. Also, I wouldn’t discount the data that is still available after this Apple privacy update. It’s still a solid proxy for the rest of your audience and how they behave, and it’s still a viable way to understand what your customers want to see or what they’re reacting to.
Desta: It makes sense. And I think, you know, as part of it took from, you know, talking on the product side for the solutions used out there, we’ve gotta do a better job in helping to service the metrics that customers need to go beyond where they are with kind of opens and clicks today, and get to whatever is meaningful for their business. And so, I think we’ll continue to build off of that.
You know, I guess a more general question. And, you know, I wear my hat as a mom of also teenage girls who do a lot of things retail online. They get a lot of stuff. But just, will this change consumer behavior? You know, how do we think that will impact? And consumer, very differently, I think, on the media side than the retail side, but how do we expect this to really change what consumers are doing?
Allison: Yeah, I mean I go back to the stat that I threw out earlier, that 83% of people are willing to hand over their data if it means a better, more personalized experience. You know, I don’t imagine that this is going to change consumer behavior directly, but I do worry about the impact it’s going to have on consumer experiences with our brands, right?
So, there is a reason that personalization exists, of course, right? And there is a reason that we collect data and build segments and try to create profiles of our audience because the more we know about them, the better experience that we can serve them. Like I said earlier, like, I hope the pendulum isn’t swinging too far in the other direction where it makes this type of personalization obsolete and leaves consumers with, you know, generic email experiences. Because that, you know, we know could affect their relationship with our brands, and that’s obviously not what we’re going for here. So, that’s my concern with the update.
Desta: And I’ll say just as a consumer, that isn’t what I want either, because that doesn’t work for my…you know, what I want in an experience. And so, Monica, I would love your take on the retail side.
Monica: Sure. So, I put my consumer hat on and I think about going onto an Instagram and seeing a pop-up that says, you know, “Show my email, hide my email.” It’s always Hide My Email, and it’s default. And I’m a marketer, so that pains me to say, but, you know, it’s kind of autopilot mode. So I don’t think that the consumer is going to be aware of what impacts it’ll have on the marketing and messaging they receive as a result. So I don’t think that their consumer behavior is going to change as a direct result of these Apple updates, but similar to what Allison said, down the line, it’s going to impact the relevancy of what we put in front of our consumers.
I think that as marketers, we need to, you know, sort of shift based on the decisions we can make and what we are able to collect. It may not be a return to analog and “Mad Men” advertising, but it’s going to be a balance, and I think it puts more…I won’t say pressure, but more of a focus on brand authenticity and storytelling. And that’s really something… I know that, you know, on the media side in Allison’s world, the storytelling, that is the product, right?
And on the retail side, email has been such a revenue-generating channel that I think that it’s evolving to be a part of a broader customer experience across many channels, and the metrics of success more focused on engagement. So it’s really shifting so many things that we have to take into consideration as far as like, how are we building relationships with the consumer? And it’ll tell us and show up, hopefully, in immediate KPI and metrics, but ultimately in the customer lifetime value.
Desta: So we’ve touched on metrics a few times. I guess, you know, if we dig into that a little bit more, what are other metrics that you think people can use as a new baseline as we go beyond kind of opens and clicks? And how do we measure that? So Allison, why don’t we go back to you?
Allison: Yeah, you know, it’s hard to say specifically what those metrics are going to be. There are, of course, a number of them. I think we all know what they are. In my mind, I think that the opportunity here is like, we need to focus… Not that we haven’t been focusing on this, but, like, increased focus on how to optimize for a customer experience, right? Like, that’s ultimately the direction that we should be heading in because if we have an optimal user experience, theoretically, all else should follow.
And I think that shifts the focus a little bit, right? It’s not just about opens. It’s about other actions that might be further down the funnel but might actually be more meaningful or, you know, be greater indicators of a brand’s affinity or a likelihood to convert. I mean, I’ve seen this so many times within the industry and the industry’s relationship with outside platforms. We become dependent on a certain way of doing things or measuring things, and then something like this happens where we’re forced to change.
And it feels sort of like, you know, the world might end, but then actually we move past it, and then we just find new ways of operating. And so I think there…you know, some of the other metrics that we might look at, it could be recency of sign up, a purchase, in Monica’s case, in some cases on the media side as well, on-site behavior, and email engagement. I mean, I think that there is plenty of data that will still exist. It’s like a paradigm shift within the industry to get everybody, both the media side and the advertising side, to really shift the way that they view their KPIs.
Monica: Agreed. We’re not getting any new metrics out of this. We’re losing it a little bit. But, you know, at the end of the day, there are top-line KPIs that we hold ourselves to in regards to goals and budgets in a retail organization that are not. So, you know, on the positive side of things, I think it’s going to force us to be a little bit more creative on how we gauge performance, and it may involve some more qualitative ways of looking at how consumers are engaging with the brand. We’re spoiled.
Desta: We can continue that way. We just have to figure out what to be spoiled about, I think. And I think if we look at a specific example, like if I have a newsletter or it’s self-contained, like, what options do I have?
Monica: Yeah, and then, you know, I’ll take this one. And I honestly think this may be the fun part of all of this as a marketer, to be creative. I think there are tools out there that may have been sort of nice to have as that may be a nice layer in regards to our email-like toolkit, something like Liveclicker, for example. There are a lot of tactics that have been used on social programs and out…like Instagram Stories and around, like, live polls.
And it’s a great way to get engagement. You’re getting the user to click. That can be easily translated into an email. And not only that to generate the click, but to then pull back into your ESP and leverage for segmentation purposes and really continue to collect that, you know, zero-party, first-party data to build those relevant messages. And I think that is a really cool thing that could come out of it that we could see changing email campaigns.
Allison: Yeah, I would add this is one of the first things that came to mind for me because particularly in the media space we’ve seen such success with these types of self-contained newsletters where consumers are increasingly becoming accustomed to consuming their content in that way, where they don’t expect having to click to go back to a website to read the full story. The full story’s in the email. I don’t anticipate that that’s going to go away.
I mean, I think sorta like we were saying earlier, you know, if you do right by the consumer and you provide a good experience and you meet their needs, I like to believe, hopefully, not naïvely, but I like to believe that all else follows and falls into place. And so again, like, I think it’s a little bit of…I don’t wanna say smoke and mirrors, but, like, we shouldn’t be changing our email strategies and changing what we deliver to our consumers because the KPIs don’t line up or don’t make sense, or we can’t report back to an advertiser about an open rate.
So I think it’s important to sort of keep our focus on that. I know that that’s easier said than done. But again, it’s like I said before. It’s like the sooner that the industry as a whole adapts, both on the buy side and the sell side, the sooner we can kind of move past this and get back to just focusing on creating great email experiences.
Desta: I think well summarized there. And unfortunately, that’s all the time we have today before we dive in deeper to each of our products. I wanna thank both of you for joining us today. It’s been very insightful just to hear kind of your perspectives coming out of industry, and we really look forward to having you back on some future conversations where we’ll share. As a note to everyone, these entire sessions will be sent out in recording with a transcript within the next week. And so you’ll have an opportunity if you want to go back and listen to something, you think of something that you thought you missed, to do that.
And so we’re not quite done yet. We’re going to pause for five minutes now and give everyone a chance to take a short break. And after that, we’ll be bringing back specific members of our product team who are gonna walk you through best practices and advice for continuing to make the best use of the platform as these changes evolve, as well as answer your specific questions that you submitted. And so we look forward to that. So stay tuned and we’ll talk to you soon. Thank you.
Stephanie: Hello, everyone. In this part of the presentation, we will focus on the anticipated impact of Apple Mail Privacy Protection for Delivra specifically. Thank you for joining us to learn about these important updates. Let’s go ahead and get started. A couple housekeeping items before we begin. This is a group webinar, which means all participants are muted to minimize any background noise. Should you need to ask a question during the presentation, please use GoToWebinar’s chat option.
Please also note that we have collected questions from many of you through the registration process, and we will be addressing them at the end of the webinar. We want to do our best to ensure all of your questions are answered, but any question left outstanding will be followed up on after the webinar. We are recording this webinar, and a copy will be sent to all attendees in the next few days. My name is Stephanie Price-Bell, customer training and engagement manager at Delivra. I have a very special guest with me today, Barbara Berry, Delivra’s general manager and vice president of Product for the CM Group.
Today, we’re going to discuss how you can optimize your email strategies amid Apple’s new privacy tools. Barb will share plans from our product roadmap, and then we have lots of information to share with you in the Q&A section at the end of the presentation. We’ve identified four key points for you to know. The following information is based on our current understanding of the privacy features Apple will release next month. Look beyond open metrics. Opens are vanity metrics. They make you look good to others, but they do not help you understand performance in a way that will inform future strategy.
We encourage you to shift your focus further down the engagement funnel. Think about what additional subscriber behavior can be attributed to campaign performance, take time to consider what your goals are, and define new ways to measure success. Metrics for device and email client will not be reliable. Device tracking and email client reporting will no longer be reliable for subscribers who use Apple Mail. If you’re using this information to segment, the intel will be outdated very quickly after Apple’s release next month.
If this information is critical to your email marketing plan, you should explicitly ask subscribers for it through subscribe forms, preference centers, and surveys. We wouldn’t recommend that you rely on metadata. If location matters, ask for it. Segmenting by location is a very popular method of targeting audiences for campaigns. Some of the privacy features Apple plans to release will impact the accuracy of location detection. If segmentation by location, language, or time zone drives your email strategy, collect this information directly from your subscribers. We would not recommend that you rely on metadata.
And number four, Hide My Email could make conversion tracking tricky. A deep impact for Delivra is not anticipated with the introduction of this privacy tool, but it is important to mention. Apple will allow their users to use ad hoc forwarding email addresses instead of providing their actual email address in sign-up forms and checkout pages if the user desires. Generally speaking, this could impact linking activity back to the actual email address. However, Delivra’s purchase and web tracking integrations are not based on email address, so again, we do not anticipate this affecting our platform in any large way. But you may want to consider tracking other personal identifiers to help link activities back to real email addresses.
Based on what we know currently, Apple Mail Privacy Protection tools will prefetch email images even before a user opens an email, which can provide false open indication. And this is a statement I will repeat many times today. This privacy tool has the largest impact on your Delivra feature set, so let’s talk about how you can optimize your strategies that rely on open tracking.
Segmentation. Example 1, use segment audiences by “open” and “did not open” behavior. As previously mentioned, Apple Mail Privacy Protection is expected to prefetch images even before a user opens an email, which can provide false open indications, resulting in inaccurate detection of Apple Mail user’s open behavior. We recommend that you update “open” and “did not open” segment clauses to use click/did not click, viewed/did not view, or purchased/did not purchase. For click clauses, you can define a specific URL or any URL activity from the campaign. And don’t forget about updating your triggered segmentation too.
We also recommend that you consider adopting lifetime engagement segmentation as a holistic approach to responding to subscriber behavior. And we recommend that you implement Delivra’s clickstream or browse tracking integrations to expand tracked behavior options for segmentation.
Example 2, use segment audiences by lifetime engagement score. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can provide false open indications, resulting in inaccurate detection and scoring of Apple Mail user’s open behavior.
An important note for you to know is that our algorithms for contact and campaign engagement consider additional actions beyond the open, including clicks, clickstreams, purchases, social media shares, and unsubscribes. We recommend that you adjust the points assigned to open behavior in the general account settings of your account and implement Delivra’s clickstream or browse tracking innovations to expand tracked behavior options that contribute to engagement segmentation.
Campaigns. Example 1, the goal of your email is to deliver information, and it includes few click opportunities. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can provide a false open indication, resulting in erroneous open rates and inflated campaign success. We recommend that you use a direct call to action in the subject line and in your message to encourage engagement beyond the open, and reimagine the layout of your email and develop plans to incorporate clicks. For example, consider including less reading material and more interactive call-to-action buttons. So this will reduce the amount of information in the email. It encourages the behavior, which will directly improve your ability to measure success.
Example 2, you use A/B test campaigns to determine the impact of open rates when tweaks to the subject line are introduced. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can provide false open indications, also resulting in erroneous open rates and incorrect identification of a winner. We recommend that you use a direct call to action in the subject line and in your message to encourage engagement beyond open and use this as your measurement for the winner. And we also recommend implementing Delivra’s clickstream tracking integration to expand the tracked behavior options for A/B testing.
Example 3, you rely on sending intelligence to deliver your campaigns at optimized times or in recipient time zones. These features will be affected by both Apple Mail’s prefetching of images, which will produce false opens and timestamps, as well as the expectation that Apple Mail will no longer pass an IP address that can be used to trace location. A few things to note here. Based on what we know right now, we believe that time zone sending can still detect regional location data, which will produce accurate information about a recipient’s time zone.
And while we believe that individual Apple Mail user data will not be accurate or determined in best open time, send time optimization also evaluates collective account-level data to determine the best send time, based on historical open and click tracking of all subscribers. We recommend that you ask for location data from your subscribers. In addition to regional detection that we expect for time zone sending, this functionality also uses stored subscriber data, like ZIP Code, to determine a time zone.
Pro tip. If you’re concerned about sign-up barriers by asking more information, don’t include multiple location fields like city and state and ZIP. Eliminate city and state, and just ask for ZIP. A ZIP Code will inherently tell you the city and state. We also recommend that you use a direct call to action in the subject line and in your message to encourage engagement beyond the open. And remember that send time optimization also evaluates click activities and account level historical behavior data for all of your subscribers.
Automation. You use automation to evaluate open behavior in the automation series and/or you run re-engagement automations. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can produce false open indications, resulting in the inaccurate handling of Apple Mail users in your workflows. We recommend that you update behavior evaluations to use clicks, page views, purchases, category subscriptions, etc., and implement Delivra’s clickstream or browse tracking integration to expand tracked behavior options for automation.
Lead scoring. You use lead scoring to evaluate email open behavior to prioritize leads. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can provide false open indications, resulting in erroneous open scores for Apple Mail users. We recommend that you update scored behaviors to use clicks, page views, purchases, form fills, category subscriptions, and more. And implement Delivra’s clickstream or browse tracking integrations to expand tracked behavior option for lead scoring.
Analytics. You rely on open rates to determine a campaign’s success from standard and custom reporting. Apple Mail’s prefetching of images can provide false open indications, resulting in skewed open rates and inflated success reporting. We recommend that you use a direct call to action in the subject line and in your message to encourage engagement beyond the open and use this as your measurement for success going forward. And implement Delivra’s clickstream or browse tracking integrations to expand tracked behavior options that can be measured in reporting.
The main takeaway today is that we must adapt to Apple’s new privacy tool. While not all of them will impact typical email marketing plans if you have enough impact for our Delivra customers that it should not be ignored. We must reframe our email strategies and goals to define new ways to measure performance. And we can adapt through the adjustment of how we think about success, how we design our emails, and how we expand trackable behaviors that can be linked back to email.
To recap, the recommendations outlined here today are update existing open evaluations in segments, automations, campaigns, and lead scoring to use other metrics that indicate engagement. Use Delivra’s clickstream integrations for purchases and browse tracking to take advantage of new behavior tracking opportunities. These integrations run on deliberate subscriber activities, or raw data, and not IPs or metadata. Amplify your use of call to actions in subject lines and in your messaging to encourage recipient engagement beyond the open
And finally, ask your subscribers for data that is important to your email marketing strategy instead of relying on metadata. Thank you so much for listening. Now, I’m going to hand this over to Barb to share what we’re planning for future releases.
Barbara: Thank you, Stephanie. And thank you to everyone who has joined us today. As you can see from the recommendations that Stephanie highlighted, Delivra already provides you with the tools you need to adjust your strategy as you prepare for, and see, the actual impact of the Apple privacy changes. I’m excited to share some improvements that we will be rolling out over the next six months while we continue to monitor updates from Apple.
First up, our analytics module is receiving an overhaul based on your feedback, and we will be publishing updates periodically over the next few months. Yesterday, we released the first set of changes to make it easier for you to see the overall results of an email campaign that you’ve sent. And for those who still want to see metrics by segment, this is available with a single click that expands the campaign results. We’re now actively focusing on more usability improvements to save you time.
We will be making filter criteria more accessible, and you will be able to see your preferred settings so that the data that’s important to you will be displayed when you initiate your report. For example, you can easily choose which metrics to include in your results. And you may want to add mailing engagement, clicks, clickstream activity, and purchases to your default view if you adopt some of the strategies that Stephanie recommended. We’re also improving the capabilities of our mobile messaging platform to make it easier to send personalized text messages to the right people at the right time.
We will have more data fields available for robust targeting, and you can use automation to deliver content across multiple channels. For example, if your customer has not clicked on your email call to action, whether it’s an appointment confirmation, a re-engagement attempt, or a request for a product review, you can easily send a text message based on the customer’s inaction. We’re also actively evaluating products to integrate with to help you get the information you need into Delivra and to share your Delivra data with other tools. Although this is a longer-term project, we will be updating two of our existing integrations in the next few months.
But first is our Salesforce integration, which will be updated to make it possible for you to reference your Salesforce custom objects in your automation flows. As an example, you can evaluate opportunity stage to determine if the content should remain in the current automation, or be transitioned to the next automation in your series. We will also be updating our Optimizely integration to give you the ability to use Optimizely segments when sending a Delivra campaign.
This time-saving feature will eliminate the need to build complex segments in both platforms and will provide dynamic results based on your Optimizely data. Additionally, since Optimizely recently acquired Zaius, we will be sending mailing and engagement data to Zaius so that your customer data platform has the information you need to make decisions. If you have specific integration needs, please reach out to support or your CSM so that we can include them in our evaluations. Thank you, and now I will pass it back to Stephanie for Q&A.
Stephanie: Thank you, Barb. Of those who registered for this event, essentially five main questions were asked, in a variety of ways, of course. So here they are. “Will Apple’s privacy protection cause open rates to go up or down?” Due to the prefetch function of images, regardless of whether the user ultimately opens the message or deletes it, Apple Mail Privacy Protection will result in increased open rates among email recipients using Apple Mail across their Apple devices.
“Will this affect my use of website analytics or tracking?” Delivra’s tracking integrations for clickstream, purchases, browsing, and Google Analytics use query-string parameters, which are values appended to the end of URLs to identify the user, the campaign, the medium, etc. Industry research and CM Group testing show no indication of query-string parameters being removed from URLs by mail privacy protection or private relay, but that is subject to change at Apple’s will.
“Will this interrupt click tracking?” Email click tracking does not appear to be affected by Apple’s Private Relay or Mail Privacy Protection functionality. Clicks will still be tracked as they legitimately occur. Our testing shows no indication that Apple Mail will affect links in advance of a user clicking or opening an email like they’re expected to do for images.
“Is open rate relevant anymore?” Probably the most frequently asked question that we’ve seen. Open rate is not the only email metric that provides an understanding of audience engagement. And we’ve talked about that earlier today in this presentation. Click rates and other conversion metrics that we’ve talked about today, like views, purchases, etc., are strong indicators of engagement that should be considered.
“Can I segment out my Apple users?” While Delivra does not offer native segmentation by email client, it is feasible that one could use environment tracking available in some of our open reports, or create segment clauses that capture domains at iCloud, Mac, or [inaudible 01:11:30]. This is an attractive first thought, and I totally understand that, how to segment and communicate with Apple users differently. But once those users enable mail privacy protection, we will no longer accurately know who is using Apple Mail.
And further, just because you’ve used reporting or created segments to isolate Apple domains, it doesn’t mean that you’ve captured all Apple Mail users, or that those users are exclusively opening emails using the iOS Mail app. Apple users may also use other ISP accounts like Yahoo or Gmail that access those inboxes via the Apple Mail app. At this time, it is our understanding that these accounts would also be affected by Apple’s changes. Segmenting on device and/or domain will also create a lot of daily overhead for marketing teams, and it’s naturally limited in its accuracy. So, no, this is not an advisable segmentation strategy long term.
And that is a wrap for today’s webinar. Those of you who submitted more specific questions, you will hear from your CSM. And questions submitted in chat today will be followed up on individually. Remember, we will send this recording to you in the next few days. Thank you for joining us today, and please let us know how we can help you going forward. Have a great day. Goodbye.