This press release from Apple dealt the killer blow:

The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.

With close to 60% of the email client share, Apple’s bold move will no doubt have repercussions across the industry, and Gmail etc are bound to follow in their footsteps. Plus, with dramatic headlines like Will Apple end the newsletter boom? There seems to be a desire to make more of this than is necessary. The benefits of email marketing (against other digital channels) are still many – ROI, tracking sales and goal conversions etc. This doesn’t change or remove this, it reinforces the need to do it properly and analyse what’s really going on beneath the open rate.

My take on all this

If anyone actually cares, my take is that this is a positive move. When the Cambridge Analytica data scandal broke, and you (the general public) had a heightened awareness of who stores your data, where it’s stored, and how much of it is out there, the clock started ticking – where the consumer goes, brands follow. Recent tighter anti-spam laws and cookie bans (ruling our Facebook retargeting ads) have meant that big brands and social platforms are biting at the bit to show their willingness to be hot on your privacy – be it through gritted teeth!

My personal (and professional) view of all this, is that I welcome these tighter laws. At some point, we’ve all become the victim of a data breach or found that our data has been passed around to ‘third parties’. We’ve had enough. The time for change is now.

So, what are MailNinja doing about all this?

Email open rates are a vanity metric anyway, I mean, so what if someone has opened your email. Has it made you any more money? Surely if you dive a little deeper you want to be looking at what the purpose of your email marketing is, and for most people, it’s a return on investment by making more sales. An open is an important first step towards this, but it’s useless in itself. Really, the metrics that matter most are the click rate and what happens next. From your email, where did they go, what did they do next, did they convert – did they buy a product or download a guide etc?

With cookies being one of the fundamental ways of tracking this web activity, this in itself will also become more challenging, however, Google announced a new way of getting around this problem, it’s call FLoC. The ‘privacy-first future for web advertising’, apparently. There are also privacy-focused web analytics platforms like Fathom (from Paul Jarvis and Jack Ellis) allowing you to track what’s going on but also respect the privacy of the individual. This is the future.

With that in mind, our planned launch for Chimpmetrics (a Mailchimp analytics app) is on hold, and we are reimagining the app as a metrics dashboard that looks beyond the click, allowing you to set goals and track conversions. It’s super smart, and we’ve really excited about this project. Follow us at @clickrates and look out for the new website going live at https://clickmetrics.io.

As far as our core services go, nothing has changed, we will continue to support you by creating awesome email campaigns.

Mailchimp official statement

We’re aware of Apple’s recent announcement of new features currently in beta that may affect the accuracy of email reporting tools in marketing platforms. While we expect these changes won’t be available to most Apple mail users for some time, we’re paying close attention and will be testing to see what impact they’ll have on our email reporting tools. We’ll keep our partners and users updated as we learn more.

Our reporting tools are an important part of how we achieve our mission to democratize powerful marketing technology for small businesses. These tools help our users optimize their marketing campaigns and develop lasting relationships with their audiences.

To sum this up

If you rewind a few years back, it was expected that your data was being sold or passed around, but nowadays we are all more aware of our rights, so brands big and small want to be seen to be doing the right thing.

If you want to follow what’s going on, my fellow Mailchimp partner Simon Harper started a doc and a thread on LinkedIn, head there to read more.