Apple MPP’s Impact on Email Marketing


A guide to managing your new normal

We’ve been hard at work resolving many data implications associated with Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). While Marigold Engage+ customers have a reliable way to differentiate real opens from false data, our mitigation efforts don’t address everything; the available data is more accurate and actionable, but it is still ‘different.’

Persistent complications due to Mail Privacy Protection

Are you having data hygiene problems?
Has your bounce rate crept higher in recent months?
Is your False Open Rate extremely high?
Has your repeat purchase frequency declined as one-and-done discount shopping increases?
Has your email list grown faster than usual without a change in lead generation or acquisition methods?

If your answer to these questions was consistently no, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you answered yes, even just once, you aren’t alone. Marketers at all levels are experiencing significant challenges from MPP, which impacts deliverability, targeting, and the customer experience:

Challenge: Identifying ‘Active’ Users
Risk: Deliverability and Over-sending
List hygiene – or customer data hygiene – is the process of validating data to ensure you send campaigns to the most active and accurate contacts. Mail Privacy Protection has made identifying “Active” customers very difficult. You can’t just rely on “have opened within x days” criteria because a large segment of your audience is “opening” every email. The benefits of regular data hygiene extend to reduced campaign costs, improved personalization, and maintaining a healthy relationship with inbox providers. Neglecting regular list hygiene can result in higher bounce rates and poor sender reputation, leading to worse deliverability problems.

Challenge: Reacting (or not) to Apple ‘False Opens’
Risk: Segmentation & Triggers
Marketing teams may struggle with shrinking segment counts; others have lost visibility into critical segments where Apple has a significant market share. Filtering out ‘False Opens’ will hurt data match rates for targeting and personalization efforts, and may result in declining campaign revenue for those key segments. There is also the potential impact on triggered marketing and marketing automation – many of these campaigns rely on open activity as criteria to deploy specific messages. Some marketing teams continue to send messages in response to a ‘False Open’, often resulting in increased costs and lower engagement. Others have stopped reacting to ‘False Open’ data, resulting in lower revenue from those campaigns.

Complication: Hide My Email Adoption
Risk: Simple Abandonment & Fraud
Hide My Email allows Apple iCloud subscribers to create temporary email addresses to use whenever and however they like. These email addresses are easy to generate and easy to abandon. While temporary email addresses aren’t a new problem, HME temporary addresses always open every message, increasing the risk of skewed segmentations or triggering complications.

As a shopper, it is possible to circumvent personal identity requirements by utilizing technology like HME. Shoppers can use multiple HME addresses with a single vendor to remain anonymous, resulting in vacant points of contact (and hard bounces). They may also exploit a ‘new shopper’ discount by enrolling every time they shop. And it is possible to enter a contest or sweepstakes multiple times (though Apple does limit a user to one temporary address per website or app to mitigate this sort of fraud).

Complication: Overreacting to Generate ‘Clicks’
Risk: Disconnected Customer Experiences
Marketers are getting creative to generate clicks and plug gaps in their campaign strategies. For example, instead of offering content in the email to generate clicks, some have gone back to using more landing pages to deliver content. This means more clicks for customers to achieve their goals, which is not a positive user experience. Others are being less creative, relying on increased sending from promotional blasts to offset the losses occurring in automations. Regardless of your current challenges, be cautious when considering options to generate clicks, and ask: is this change in customer experience adding value for our audience?

How to Proactively Address Apple MPP Challenges

Remember that Mail Privacy Protection is about Customer Privacy

Step 1: Address customer privacy concerns by RESPECTING CUSTOMER PRIVACY

Some customers don’t want to log into web pages or mobile applications to complete an action. Others don’t want personalized emails or push messages and may even go to the extreme of only buying from vendors who allow anonymous digital interactions. As a result, Step 1 is two parts: Part 1 is respecting privacy; Part 2 is concentrating efforts on personalization for customers who want it.

Step 2: Evaluate carefully before overreacting

Because data is deprecating, especially open data, it is essential to carefully evaluate any potential problems or concerns before deciding on a resolution. Identify the root cause leading to your situation, and tackle that to improve value and experience for the customer. If your email deliverability is declining, it may be because of poor list hygiene. It may also be because irrelevant messaging leads to increased churn. If the cost of your triggered campaigns has increased and their revenue has not, there are several factors to examine:

  • Engagement rate – Analyze send volume vs. engagement rate over time (get even better insight when you analyze by campaign type)
  • Retargeting – Assess the efficacy of retargeting efforts, especially if you are seeing better website or app traffic
  • Discounting – Explore the impact of any discounting in your acquisition efforts

If your numbers show a decline in repeat shopping or an increase in one-and-done purchase behavior, your customer may be utilizing temporary contact information disguising repeat purchases.

If you’ve already made adjustments to your campaigns because of MPP but haven’t seen success, you have another opportunity to re-evaluate the situation and find a better solution for your customers. Always keep the customer experience at the forefront as you resolve any challenges.

Step 3: Evaluate HOW you have utilized open data in the past

Find ways to supplement or replace it with segmentation and personalization. Loyalty programs are a fantastic source of zero-party data. Connecting disparate channels will also help mitigate data deprecation issues. Engagement metrics from web and app traffic can also be used to establish recency, frequency, and preferences. An extensible customer data platform helps establish real-time, persistent customer identities that can be activated for cross-channel messaging and engagement. It is also critical to actively monitor deliverability and bounce rates over time. Understand your baseline, and react to deliverability concerns before they lead to ESP blacklisting or other channel restrictions.

Step 4: Prioritize a value exchange for every interaction.

This will impact acquisition tactics and strategy and improve overall messaging and engagement. Offer customers and prospects more transparency, and tell them how you plan to utilize their data to help make their lives easier. Offer customers the same quality of experience, even if they choose not to share data. Utilize the data they do share to personalize interactions while staying faithful to your utilization promises. And, repeat. Ask them to log in by offering value and learning something new. Use the most recent information to develop their customer profile further and then help them solve their next problem.

This is our second article looking at Apple’s MMP. You can check out the first here: How (and Why) We Solved the MPP Data Problem

Do you need help adapting to changing privacy rules? Marigold Engage+ has Deliverability and Global Strategy and Growth experts who can help you make strategic and tactical adjustments in response to privacy changes. We are dedicated professionals ready to help you improve your customer relationships.

Talk to your Marigold Engage+ customer success manager or contact us

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Marigold Engage+ is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. Marigold Engage+ enables marketers to drive revenue, build lasting customer relationships, and deliver a unique value exchange throughout the entire customer lifecycle. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands and have employees across 13 countries.

Picture of Marigold


Marigold Engage+ is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. Marigold Engage+ enables marketers to drive revenue, build lasting customer relationships, and deliver a unique value exchange throughout the entire customer lifecycle. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands and have employees across 13 countries.

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