Alex Manly, Associate Director of Strategy at Movable Ink, gives an overview of the changes Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will bring about from September.
When Apple announced their new Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) as part of their upcoming iOS 15 and MacOS Monterey releases, it wasn’t just financial services brands that were left wondering how the new privacy tool would affect their email marketing campaigns.
Marketers across the UK and Europe already went through the rigors of adapting to GDPR, the pending sunsetting of third-party cookies, and now Apple is leading the way with more stringent privacy policies, designed to protect customers from unwanted data usage.
That’s quite a bit of change for all sectors – but for financial services, who have been working diligently in the background for years to be mindful of the greater scrutiny they’re under, this evolving privacy narrative presents a strong opportunity to improve the customer experience even more through zero- and first-party data.
But before we get started, if you’re not clear on the changes that will imminently be coming in to play from September, here’s an overview:
The impact of stricter email policies
Mail Privacy Protection isn’t as severe as GDPR, and won’t take nearly the legal or technological wrangling marketers went through when the EU’s largest data regulations took effect in 2018. However, it does mean that certain aspects of your email marketing strategy may be permanently altered.
There’s a lot in the news about what these changes mean in detail – I’ll spend time here looking at three key examples.
One of the ways it will impact your marketing strategy is that measurement of opens will change, as Apple Mail users will register as an open when the email is cached, whether or not your customer actually opened your email. As marketers, we’ll need to look more closely at down-funnel metrics such as clicks and performance.
The change also means that information relating to IP addresses will be masked. The impact here is that contextual marketing through the email channel will limit the personalisation available to the customer. For example, if you’re looking to highlight the closest ATM or branch to a customer, this will now need to be powered through first- and zero-party data such as a postcode or preferred branch you have on file for your customer.
Finally, content on the email channel for financial services marketers is often enhanced by using personalised, immediate rates; whether that’s for mortgages, credit cards or investments. With these changes in mind, the Apple Mail users may find their rate is already cached between send-time and open-time; moving this personalised customer experience from real-time to “recent-time”.
However, we know that many financial services brands operate in a realm of complex data-systems which means latency can often be a real challenge for marketers in the sector. With this in mind, I expect that the transition to recent-time won’t be dramatic. For example, personalised interest rates images may only require an update to the email’s terms and conditions that stipulates the time-stamp when the image was cached; establishing the most up-to-date possible for the customer while also remaining transparent and compliant. It is worth noting that, at Movable Ink, we found 50 per cent of consumers open an email within two hours of send, which means that half of your customers will experience the most up-to-date information whether or not they’re enrolled in MPP.
Embracing a more private future with zero- and first-party data
Internet users have reached a worldwide tipping point. No longer satisfied with an online experience that leaves data unprotected, both regulators and tech brands have been clamping down for years, which has restricted the ways in which marketers can collect and disseminate personal data-driven ads, emails, and mobile messages. Gartner now predicts that 63 per cent of the world’s population will be under some level of data regulation by 2023, up from 10 per cent in 2020.
Brands that embrace the change can publicise their emphasis on privacy, which could ultimately help build trust without eliminating valuable personalisation. We know that financial services brands already rely on zero- and first-party data to build 1:1 communications, and 61 per cent of consumers are likely to buy goods or services when a company creates personalised experiences. Change ultimately means remaining agile and investing in more content that relies on (and can better collect) the zero- and first-party data that create better digital marketing and customer journeys.
Financial services brands are at an advantage here. Many consumers turn to established and start-up organisations for general education and investment tools. Tying valuable information to trusted content can help elevate a brand’s reputation while collecting valuable information for future personalisation.
Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection will not diminish the importance of email personalisation. It is possible that brands will need to rethink their strategy and apply new, innovative methods to already proven digital marketing tactics. It is a time of innovation, led by consumer demand for more privacy and tech brands heeding their call.
For more information about how your marketing team can prepare for the future, download Movable Ink’s eBook The Data Privacy Revolution.