Over the last 10 years, people have been speculating that email is dead. With the rise of social media and marketplaces such as Amazon, you might be tempted to believe it.
And then, in June 2021, Apple announced that their native mail app would not allow brands to collect email data, such as open rates (a critical metric to gauge the success of an email marketing campaign).
What does this announcement mean for brands? How can email marketers and brands work within these new changes to still gauge success? Let’s dive in.
Apple Privacy Breakdown
Last year, Apple revealed that their native mail app will prevent brands from collecting email data such as open rates and location. As privacy concerns continue to increase among consumers, Apple (among other behemoths such as Facebook) is updating its cookie tracking and privacy policies in order to protect consumers’ data.
Impact on Campaign Success
This change came as a shock to some email marketers, who often rely on open rates and click-to-open rates to gauge their email campaigns’ success.
However, that doesn’t mean your campaigns are any less successful! You just won’t be able to measure success based on the open rate alone.
Now, you’ll have to rely on other metrics to gauge success. When you’re reporting to your manager or leadership, you will need to start conditioning them to see success in a new light. There are plenty of other metrics to look at — so let’s dive into them!
The New Metrics
Historically, open rates and clickthrough rates have been the go-to metrics for email marketers. Now, both of those stats are skewed — so what’s a marketer to do? We have a few metrics you can track instead.
Metrics such as unsubscribes, spam reports, and bounce rate all indicate that something might be off in your campaign — either irrelevant content or poor list management. Paying attention to these metrics will improve your deliverability rates and give you an indication of what content is working and what’s not.
If you have a higher percentage of unsubscribes or spam reports for a specific email, that is likely an indication that your email content was not resonating with your list. Consider editing your content to better connect with your list. A persona workshop or refresher could be helpful here!
A high bounce rate indicates that your list needs additional maintenance and should be cleaned. Most email providers can help you easily remove hard-bounced email addresses with the click of a button! List maintenance is key to your email campaign health.
Ye olde standby — click rate! This metric has been used by email marketers alongside open rates in order to measure engagement once the email has been opened. Apple mail still allows you to track clicks, which is great news for email marketers.
Keep in mind that your click-to-open rate will be skewed due to not being able to correctly track open rates. Unless you segment your lists (more on that later), you should monitor individual clicks instead of the click through rate.
If you’re an ecommerce business, you’re likely already tracking the impact your email sends have on your revenue. This metric will become even more important now that open rates are no longer viable.
Most email platforms, like Klaviyo, can attribute revenue to your individual campaigns so you can understand the impact your emails have on your overall revenue.
Some email marketers have turned to using replies as an indicator of engagement and success. If you ask for a reply, and someone takes this action, that means they have read and digested your email and now want to engage with you.
You might offer a prize incentive for replying — for example, each person who replies gets entered into a drawing for a gift card. While this plan certainly won’t apply to every email, it is a great way to incentivize engagement for your campaigns.
This suggestion certainly isn’t right for every brand. If you are a B2B brand or have a very involved customer service team, this could be the right choice. But the last thing you want is for these replies to go unanswered!
What if I Still Want to Track Open Rates?
We recommend not getting too attached to the idea of tracking open rates — privacy concerns will only continue to increase, so other mail providers might follow Apple’s lead!
With that being said, there are still ways to currently track open rates for non-Apple mail clients. If your provider allows you to distinguish between those who open on Apple devices, you can separate them into their own segment or report and email them separately, so your non-Apple data will not be skewed.
This tactic might help you determine how your open rate is performing overall, but it’s not necessarily something you would want to report on with significance.
Is Email Marketing Dead?
Hopefully, you’ve gathered by now that email marketing is far from dead! The open rate metric might be on its way out, but email marketing is far from being ineffective.
In fact, as privacy concerns across social media increase and brands are unable to track the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns, email marketing becomes increasingly more important.
With email marketing, you have the opportunity to leverage first-party data and directly communicate with your subscriber list. With strategic planning, you can maintain communication with subscribers that care about your brand most and build up this retention channel as a critical pillar of your marketing stack. There are still other metrics that can show the success of your campaigns, so don’t be afraid to lean into those as well!
Need help navigating the world of email marketing? Our email & SMS team are here to help! Reach out via the form below for more information.