The Future of Open Rate Visibility

By: Mari Breedlove Oct 27, 2021

The Future of Open Rate Visibility

On September 20th, Apple released the largely anticipated and, for some, dreaded iOS 15 update. After being announced in June, marketers braced themselves for the changes in open rate visibility brought on by these updates and what they would mean for marketing strategies moving forward. The announcement quickly garnered one of two reactions. On the one hand, there is excitement and support for increased control over consumer privacy. On the other, there are fears that this marks the end to email marketing altogether.

What is Changing

So, what will be different? To put it simply, Apple Mail users will now be able to opt into Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). This new update allows consumers to load remote message content privately. Or in other words, they will now have the ability to turn off open tracking and mask their IP addresses. These changes, in turn, eliminate open rate visibility as a reliable source of data to evaluate user engagement as this essentially anonymizes end-user data.

Marketers who have previously relied heavily on open rates as a conversion metric for user engagement will now have skewed data on their hands as messages containing tracking links will be automatically cached, regardless of actual engagement. Other helpful data points will not be affected by this update, however. Click-through rates, onsite activity, and conversion history are important metrics that can still be used to supplement the loss of open tracking data.

Adjusting and Adapting

The good news: email is not dead! Francis Baker, compliance and deliverability technical specialist at Klaviyo, says, “The email space is constantly evolving…the industry will constantly change, and, as marketers and deliverability folks, we’ll adjust.”  

Email deliverability/best practices will now be more critical than ever. Healthy mailing lists and a responsive user base will be vital in adjusting to open rate data tracking loss. Here are just some examples of best practices to make a priority moving forward:

  • Confirmed opt-in list building
  • List maintenance and hygiene
  • Consistent and reliable sending patterns
  • Taking on opt-outs and user complaints as insights and pivoting where necessary

While MPP does reduce the visibility of open rates, there are some unseen benefits to these changes. Users will now have the added security of opening messages in Apple Mail with more trust and confidence. Those who usually opt into text-only-based messages to safeguard their privacy will now be able to receive the more interactive and information-rich content of the entire message, allowing them to engage in your content thoroughly.

Open Rates and Higher Ed

Email is still the most used tool to communicate between businesses, consumers, and peers, especially in higher education and higher education marketing. The reality is that this will not be the last update that will force institutions and higher ed marketers to evolve and not to be left behind. And with the added security offered to consumers, developing even richer and interactive content that will elevate user experience and drive conversion rather than opens becomes a primary focus.

At EducationDynamics, we are no strangers to the constantly changing marketing landscape. In fact, we pride ourselves on staying ahead of potentially disruptive updates such as these. As a full-service marketing agency we have extensive experience in focusing on the small details that will ultimately make the biggest difference to your marketing strategies. Start a conversation today to see how to use this change to your advantage.