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r.i.p. email open rate



It's been a harried month in the email marketing world with anticipation of Apple’s rollout of Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). Here’s a breakdown of what is going on, starting with a brief description of what is at stake immediately – email open rate.


Email open rate is one of the most widely used and arguably the most important metric to evaluate campaign performance.

simply put, email open rate is:
  • Number of people who open an email

  • Number of people the email was delivered to



an open

An “open” is registered when an invisible image (aka a ‘tracking pixel’) placed in the body of the email is “downloaded” in the inbox as part of all other images within the email. With the iOS15 update, users will be given the choice to “Protect Mail Activity”. Subscribers who select this option (which it’s expected that 95% of users will opt into), will have their emails routed through an external relay prior to hitting their inbox. This step will mask their IP location data and activate the hidden tracking pixel. The result will be inflated campaign email open rates which will also impact subject line testing results as well as any automation campaigns in a workflow that rely on opens as the trigger.


open rate

DRAFTJS_BLOCK_KEY:93avcIt’s been a harried month in the email marketing world with anticipation of Apple’s rollout of Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). Here’s a breakdown of what is going on, starting with a brief description of what is at stake immediately – email open rate.inboxes. And some email clients (Gmail and Yahoo) will at times preload images without any user action to give a better experience. Taking all of this into consideration along with the expectation that eventually MPP will misrepresent campaign open rate as much as 40-50%, it really does render the open rate completely unreliable as a means to gauge email program performance.


Through the glass half full lens, this can be viewed as an opportunity to be a better sender and to focus on real user engagement and richer metrics like clicks, conversion, social shares and even forwards.


If you are currently managing your organization’s email program, now is the time to do the following:

  • Reevaluate engagement segments and workflow automations that use open data to trigger email sends and modify scheduling to be based on clicks instead.

  • Be prepared to dedicate time to data hygiene based on click engagement rather than opens. Meaning the removal of contact records who are not providing a reliable signal of positive engagement.

  • Institute UTM tracking parameters within your emails to better understand what your subscribers are doing apart from simply opening your email.

  • Rethink the content and design of your emails to allow for shorter copy with fewer but more visible and calls to action.

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