Email is Dead. Long live Email


Written by Philip Mitchell, Vice President


Scattered across the history of the internet are remains of now-defunct technologies that have promised to revolutionize the way we communicate. Email has outlived them all. For advocacy and political campaigns, an effective email program remains singular in its effectiveness to broaden coalitions and consolidate donations. However – in what has become a recent theme – Apple is poised to roll out their “Mail Privacy Protection” this fall with the upcoming iOS 15 update. With that update, Apple will allow users who interact with emails to remain anonymous throughout the entire engagement with the email. While currently, this is only a feature on Apple’s Mail App, given that Apple devices accounted for over 50% of all email opens in 2021, this change will impact how the entire ecosystem evaluates an effective email campaign. We will likely see other email providers follow suit to some extent in the coming months, so planning and rethinking how successful campaigns are measured will be rewarded as these privacy restrictions become more ubiquitous. Here are some ways to protect your email list amid the uncertainty:

  • Open Rate is Over: Based on how the technology of these changes will be implemented, they are likely to dramatically increase the reported open rate for users on Apple Mail. Meaning in the fall, when open rates start rising, campaigns could misinterpret those results without knowing why those changes have occurred.

  • Scale and Scope: Most Email Service Providers, like Mailchimp, can give you historical data on what percentage of your audience is currently using Apple Mail. It will be imperative to use that to frame additional metrics for success.

  • Maintain List Hygiene: With skewed open rates, you will want to make sure you are actively sending to an engaged audience, and by cleaning bounced, defunct, or old emails from your list, you will be able to maintain oversight into your campaigns if deliverability issues emerge.

  • Click-Through-Rate Rises: CTR (click-through-rate), and the subsequent behaviors captured on landing pages, will be essential as delivered and open rates become imprecise.

  • Show Me the Money (…or Signup): Calculating the ROI for campaigns will remain as a key benchmark, but you will need to take a closer look across campaigns to gain the most insight. Signups, engagements, social media support, and yes, donations, will all need to be factored in to evaluate any successful campaign.

The full impact of this has yet to be seen, but privacy is here to stay, and campaigns that can navigate these changes will maintain a strategic advantage, no matter what comes next.

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