R.I.P. Email Open Rate: Why Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection Update Will Be a Pain in the Butt, But Not a Death Blow for Email Marketers

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Since Apple’s announcement about the introduction of Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), effectively heralding the gradual (but impending) demise of the Open Rate, one of the most widely used metrics by Email Marketers to evaluate campaign performance – the marketing industry has been abuzz with predictions on how this development will impact email as a promotional and revenue-generating channel, with analysis ranging from “it’s not that big of a deal” to “it’s the end of the newsletter industry as we know it”, depending on who you talk to. So, what does it mean and how can email marketers move forward (with gusto!) despite this news feeling a bit like a punch in the gut? Here are some insights from industry experts and practical tips for effective email campaign analysis that don’t rely on the open rate.

Coming up in this post...

(Click on a link in the “contents” list below to jump directly to the relevant section)

First: What is an “open rate” in email marketing, how is it measured and why has its accuracy always been somewhat unreliable?

In Email Marketing, the Open Rate is the number of people who open your email as a percentage of the number of people it was delivered to. An “open” is registered when an invisible image (also known a ‘tracking pixel’) placed in the body of the email is viewed as part of all other viewed images in the email (even though technically it’s invisible). This tracking image is fetched from a server in real time via a unique URL that often contains additional information about the email address it was sent to, like when, where, and how many times it was opened, and on what type of device.

Traditionally the open rate has been considered to be among the most important metrics to track, but there are a few problems in relation to its accuracy that have always rendered it only semi-reliable.
The main problem with its reliability is that since the tracking pixel is actually an image, if images are not automatically enabled in the recipient’s mail client and the recipient still reads the email with the images disabled (in the preview pane, for example) it is not classed as an ‘opened’ email. Conversely, if images are automatically enabled and the recipient spends just a split second viewing the email before deleting it or moving on to something else, it is classed as ‘opened’ even though it wasn’t really viewed. And of course, if it’s a text email with no images in it at all, it can’t be tracked for opens.
So, while the Open Rate does give some indication of how many emails were opened, it has never been completely accurate, with some comparing it to a vanity metric akin to “page views” in relation to websites. For example, when someone clicks on a link that directs them to a website – whether it’s from a search engine, social media post or anywhere else – the website records the arrival of that user on the page as a “page view”. But the page view metric doesn’t indicate whether the user spent any meaningful time actually viewing or interacting with the content on the page, and a high number of page views means nothing if there was also an extremely high bounce rate (usually implying the content was irrelevant or of poor quality) or if it failed to convert (compel the visitor to perform a desired action of some sort). To understand how effective the page ‘view’ actually is, you need to look at engagement metrics like Time on Page, Bounce Rates, Click Rates, Conversion Rates etc.

The same goes for email. Although not all emails are designed to trigger an action (some are intended merely to provide information), in cases where the goal is some sort of action – a high open rate may not necessarily be an indication of campaign “success” because if many people open the email but the clickthrough rate is low, the conversion rate will be lousy too.
Still, although many marketers are aware of the limitations of the open rate and its reputation as a vanity metric since it doesn’t reflect an accurate measure of campaign performance on its own, it can still be highly useful when analyzed in conjunction with other metrics, so it’s understandable that email marketers are viewing its relegation by Apple to ‘Email Metric Purgatory’ as a major pain in the butt that will require both adaptation and resourcefulness to overcome.

How does Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection affect Open Rates and why is this alarming for (some) Email Marketers?

The commitment to data privacy and to protecting users from “spy pixels” has been adopted gradually over many years throughout many aspects of the online world: From the CAN-SPAM Act, to GDPR, CCPA, ad-blockers (now at around 43% worldwide, according to Hootsuite), Google’s plan to follow Firefox and Safari by phasing out third-party cookies by 2022 (now delayed to 2023), and Apple’s ongoing attempts to improve privacy protection options for users, including App Tracking Transparency and the new features in the upcoming iOS15 update. Traditionally, the advertising industry has been the biggest loser as a result of anti spy-pixel technologies and regulations (arguably sped up by its own intrusive practices and lack of transparency resulting in growing distrust from online users), while the email industry has traditionally been consistently challenged by technological hurdles, like limitations to the type of visual content that’s possible for display within email, the introduction of the “Promotions” tab in Gmail, and other challenges.
So, for many, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection update is a welcome step forward towards increased transparency and control for users over their own data privacy. Here’s an excerpt from Apple’s blog post on the iOS15 features, designed to “help users control and monitor apps’ use of their data”:

“In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. 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.”
And in this video, Apple Privacy Engineer, Garrett Reid, also explains that “since mail content may be loaded automatically after delivery, the time of mail viewing will no longer be correct. And since that content is loaded without revealing people’s IP addresses and without detailed headers, the location and type of device reading the Mail aren’t revealed and you’ll see your emails as being opened, regardless of if the user read it or not”, which will result in a falsely inflated (and therefore misleading) open rate.
The new feature – expected to be rolled out some time between September and November 2021 on iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey devices – will apply to any email opened on Apple’s native Mail app, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook emails (etc.) if viewed via the Apple Mail app. If the user uses the Gmail app or another mail app other than Apple Mail, the privacy controls will not apply.
And it won’t be a minor update tucked away obscurely in the deep bowels of the iOS settings either: Users will be prompted when launching their Mail app to either protect or not protect their mail activity. If they choose to go ahead and protect their mail activity (and given that 96% of US users opted out of app tracking in iOS 14.5, it’s highly likely they will choose this option for mail privacy too) – their IP address and location information will be hidden, which will essentially block the ability of senders to track opens. If users don’t bother opting in or out of Mail Privacy Protection, apparently the feature will be activated by default.
Apple Mail Privacy Protection opt-in iPhone screenshot
Source: Ryan Jones

How many people will this new feature apply to? (TL;DR: A lot)

According to Litmus’s email client market share data – Apple iPhone, Apple Mail, and Apple iPad (i.e., the Apple Mail client on the iPhone, Mac, and iPad devices) comprised over 46% of combined email opens in 2020. In July 2021, it was 49%, which is almost half (!) of all email opens:
Top Email Clients for July 2021 (via Litmus)
Email Client Market Share for July 2021 (Source: Litmus. Note: Statistics are automatically updated each month)
While it’s true that email market share data is prone to inaccuracy and discrepancies due to challenges associated with its collection (as per Litmus’s own explanation about these stats), even if you account for a margin of error around these stats, the gist is that Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection update will apply to a portion of email recipients large enough to be classed as a tsunami rather than a ripple.
According to results from Litmus’s 2020 State of Email survey (published in their recent State of Email Analytics report) the Open rate topped the list of “most tracked email metrics”, tracked by 95% of brands. The next most tracked metrics are Click rate (88%), Unsubscribe rate (73%), Click-to-open rate (68%), Bounce rate (56%), Conversion rate (55%) and Deliverability or inbox placement rate (46%). So with such a high rate of reliance by most brands on open rate and such a significant portion of email audiences soon-to-be much harder (if not impossible) to track reliably for opens, most brands using email marketing are going to have to prioritize other metrics for their campaign analysis and optimize their email strategy accordingly.

What are industry experts saying?

Although the open rate may not be regarded as the most accurate of metrics – with some marketers possibly exclaiming ‘good riddance!’ in response Apple’s new update – pixel-based tracking also serves functions that are designed to improve the email experience for recipients, which is why other marketers are bemoaning this new impediment to email analytics and content targeting.

For example, it is used in list-hygiene campaigns to identify and purge inactive or unengaged subscribers, in triggered messaging campaigns where additional messages are tailored specifically based on opens or non-opens, in personalization and dynamic email content and more. So, by disabling pixel-tracking functionality, Apple won’t just be making life harder for marketers to execute and analyze a variety of different types of email campaigns, but also degrading the user experience for email subscribers since it will be more difficult for marketers to tailor content that’s specifically relevant for individual recipients.
The reaction to this development from industry experts so far has ranged (and I’m paraphrasing here) from “we knew this was coming (eventually) and we’re not fazed by it” to “OMG, we’re screwed”. Here’s a selection (with TL;DR highlights in bold):
  • According to CM Group, “This change is like the many that have preceded it in the email industry – like when Outlook stopped loading images by default, the introduction of the Gmail promotions tab, the GDPR, and others. With each of these changes, email marketing has persisted, evolved, and continued to thrive and we know that the same will be true with the Apple update.”
  • Casey Newton, a Verge contributing editor, says “Looking at Apple’s privacy moves, I’m mostly willing to take them at face value – as a necessary counter-balance to the inexorable rise of tracking technologies around the web. But it also seems clear that the value to Apple goes far beyond customer satisfaction – and as its revenues from ads and in-app purchases grow, we’d do well to keep an eye on how its policies are gradually reshaping the economy.
  • Validity’s VP for Customer Engagement, Guy Hanson, saysApple’s changes to protect mail privacy are evolutionary, not revolutionary”: The signal accuracy provided by pixel-based open tracking has been gradually degraded over time”, and as research shows, “Email marketers have been responding for some time already with only a quarter of senders using open rates to measure program relevance, with clicks used twice as widely.”
  • In Litmus’s recently published The Mail Privacy Protection Survival Guide for Marketers, they say, “At the end of the day, it’s all about our subscribers and what they want. If they prefer their privacy, we should respect that. However, privacy comes with a trade-off: personalization. And people want that, too. So while Apple’s intention is to protect subscribers, it may backfire with people ultimately getting even more unwanted emails as marketers will have one less engagement signal to look at.
  • Phrasee’s Perry Malm saysThis does *not* mean that open rates are dead, as several rather misinformed people have decried. However, it *does* mean that open rates as a KPI will become noisier than before. Note: this is not to say that they will become useless. Just noisier.”

    SIDE NOTE: Is the open rate really dead??
    I don’t think that those who have decried that the “open rate is dead” (or at least, it will be once Apple’s MPP has been widely adopted) are “misinformed”. Rather, by becoming “noisier” (and as the Email Client Market Share stats I mentioned above demonstrate, it’s not just a little noisier but significantly noisier) – even with attempts to filter out non-Apple devices from open rate results and other creative mathematical workarounds for deciphering post-MPP “noise”, the open rate will simply become far too unreliable as a KPI, and therefore pointless to track moving forward, let alone inform email campaign analysis and strategy. That’s why I stand by the headline I chose for this post, even if some in the industry are determined to maintain CPR (as in, the life saving procedure, not an email marketing metric) on the open rate for a little while longer.

Even with attempts to filter out non-Apple devices from open rate results and other creative mathematical workarounds for deciphering post-MPP "noise", the open rate will simply become far too unreliable as a KPI, and therefore pointless to track moving forward, let alone inform email campaign analysis and strategy.

  • Kerri Driscoll, VP of marketing strategy at Merkle says “It’s challenging to lose foundational metrics, but opens are considered by many to be a vanity metric in any case. It’s time to move on. Although opens may still be an historical indicator of list hygiene, they will likely no longer work as an indicator of success. Use this opportunity to reach beyond the open and think about the multichannel moments and points of connectivity that will provide that next best message and experience for your customers.”
  • ConvertKit Founder & CEO Nathan Barry tweetedApple is removing creators’ primary tool for maintaining a clean list. This puts creators at an unfair disadvantage to get their work in front of their biggest fans. Inbox providers ask senders to keep their list clean, but then take away the metrics needed to actually do that.” “I’m a huge fan of more privacy controls for consumers, but we need a better solution for ethical creators to maintain clean lists and follow best practices. My hope is that Apple, Google, and others will make these tools available so we can all follow their guidelines.
  • Senior Director of Product Marketing at Cheetah Digital, Nicholas Einstein, says, “Senders are going to need to adjust tactics to accommodate the initiative, for sure, but those who have dubbed it “pixelgeddon” may be making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill.” “Tenured email marketers have seen many more disruptive forces over the years than Apple’s new initiative, and have continued to steward the highest converting, biggest ROI channel for over two decades. Apple’s news will require some adjustments, but should be viewed as a natural evolution in the tech giant’s consumer-first, privacy-positive posture. Senders who preside over customer-centric programs that offer a true value exchange will continue to flourish in this new privacy-as-a-feature era.
  • Will DeKrey, Group Product Manager of Campaigns at HubSpot says that companies will need to “get better and better at building trusted relationships with their audience, earning the right to learn who they are and what they’re interested in.
    “Personalization isn’t going away. Conversion optimization isn’t going away. A/B testing isn’t going away. But each of these will need to be more focused on building deeper relationships and more meaningful actions”.
  • Rachel Cowlishaw, Associate Director of Strategy (Retail) at Movable Ink, says, “While you may hear doomsday bells in the background, don’t heed their call quite yet. Contextual personalization isn’t as popular as it was ten years ago, and most retailers have a wealth of zero and first-party data that they leverage to create sophisticated email marketing campaigns. Retailers may have to rethink some of their tactics, but that could ultimately lead to more personalized, scalable campaigns that drive revenue and build better relationships with customers.”
  • Nieman Lab founder Joshua Benton opines, “I’m sure newsletter publishers will adjust, somehow. If open rates are gone, they’re gone – you’ll have to find some other way to convince advertisers you have an attentive audience, and some other way to see how your email performed and keep your list clean. (Clickthrough rates live on, at least for now. Should we expect stripping URL parameters to be a feature in iOS 17?) But this is another sign that Apple’s war against targeted advertising isn’t just about screwing Facebook – they’re also coming for your Substack.
  • Trendline Interactive SVP of Innovation Alex Williams opines, “Instead of being fearful of changes to privacy rules and regulations or looking for tricky ways to manipulate the system, redirect that energy into embracing the changes. Data privacy and protection laws are designed to protect users, not marketers. More focus on the true signals of intent is a good thing for marketing. My hope is that those great ideas that were killed by metrics that didn’t actually prove anything will unleash a new era of creativity. This earthquake will pass and we will build a new more sustainable future based on the true fundamentals of great marketing.
  • Scott Cohen, Sr. Email Marketing Manager at Purple says, “Marketers need to take a deep breath. The inbox is a place of incredible influence, whether it’s directly via opens and clicks or indirectly through future engagement with your brand. There are two big things that email marketers need to do right now: (1) Make first-party/zero-party data collection an absolute must-have for your program (2) Establish benchmarks for your programs both by direct and indirect influence.
  • Ryan Phelan, Co-founder and CMO at RPEOrigin, says “It’s not that bad. I have written over and over again that opens were a directional metric to begin with. Apple has just pushed us to the stark realization that we depended on it far too often. It’s time to start thinking differently. I think, in a year, this will be just like the aftermath of Google Tabs. Not that big of a deal.
  • Motiva AI CEO, David Gutelius, says “For many email marketers, this may seem like one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Still, if you care about your work and want it to drive actual results and business impact, this can be the catalyst you need to drive organizational change.”
    “While this announcement ushers in broad changes to how we think about, measure, and deliver emails to our customers, we believe it will be a net positive for consumers and email marketers.
  • Head of Research at Oracle Marketing Consulting, Chad S. White, opines, “Hopefully, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection features will cause you to think critically about how you’re using open-based metrics. But to call opens purely a vanity metric is to misunderstand the important role they play in measuring performance, maintaining good deliverability, and crafting efficient email experiences. Identifying and creating an audience segment of real openers now will allow you to continue to use opens to create better emails.

In the absence of the Open Rate as a reliable KPI, how can email marketers gain meaningful insights that inform effective marketing analysis and strategy?

Here are a few ideas to help minimize the disruption caused by the depreciation of the open rate (NOTE: I may update this list as new ideas come to light):
1. CHALLENGE: Email automations, workflows and funnels that rely on Open Rate activity.
If you currently have any automations or workflows that rely on email opens, you should choose a different trigger to activate the automations in order to avoid chaos. One example of ‘chaos’ would be that a huge chunk of your mailing list (comprised of your Apple Mail users) receives a follow-up email that makes no sense to them because they didn’t actually see the preceding email that’s supposed to have triggered it, despite your email platform registering it as having been ‘opened’.
TIP: If you want to send an email to someone based on whether or not they opened another email first, you might want to include a call-to-action link in the original email and use the action of clicking on that link as the trigger for sending the follow-up, rather than the act of opening the email.
2. CHALLENGE: Maintaining List Hygiene.
If you currently run list hygiene or ‘re-engagement’ campaigns, where the idea is to purge people from your list who haven’t opened an email in a very long time, or to reignite their interest with an enticing offer – you will no longer be able to use email opens as a reliable metric for identifying the people in your mailing list who are inactive.
List hygiene is important because since many Email Service Providers (ESPs) charge for their software based on the number of people in your mailing list, keeping people in your list who haven’t opened an email from you in months (or years) – most likely because “they’re just not that into you” – is a waste of money.

Some would argue that since it’s so difficult to get people to subscribe to your mailing list in the first place, it’s better to keep them in the list even if they turn out to be inactive, in the hope that maybe one day they might open an email. But others argue that if those subscribers have demonstrated that they are consistently uninterested in your emails, then what’s the point of sending them emails they don’t want? Furthermore, inactive subscribers adversely skew your open rate giving you a false impression of your email campaign ‘success’, so they are literally dead weight.
TIP: Now that email opens will become virtually useless in identifying ‘true’ inactive subscribers, you’ll have to think of other ways to clean your lists. This may involve sending campaigns that are blunter for this purpose (perhaps indicating that they are time-sensitive in the subject line, to give adequate warning), encouraging people to click on something in the email – or possibly a series of emails (giving them a few chances to reengage rather than just one they might miss for a variety of legitimate reasons) – to indicate their continued interest, and purge them if they don’t. You can still make these campaigns creative rather clinical to maximize their appeal and success.
3. CHALLENGE: A/B Testing of Subject Lines.
Although there is some debate over what makes a subject line successful, with some arguing that the open rate alone is not the only measure of success (meaning that a click inside the email itself is also an indication of subject line efficacy), others argue that the obvious (and only) measure of success of a subject line is the open rate. Although there are other factors that influence someone’s decision to open an email, like brand loyalty (some people open emails from particular senders regardless of the subject line, simply because they love or respect the sender so much) – often the main factor that compels someone to either click on the email or not, is the appeal of the subject line. If it’s compelling or interesting for the recipient, they will click on it. If it isn’t, they won’t. What the subscriber does once inside the email rests on how compelling (or uncompelling) the email content is.
Whichever camp you belong to (“the only measure of subject line efficacy is the open rate” versus “it’s the open rate plus other factors like click-rate etc.”) – A/B Testing of email subject lines – which tests two or more subject lines by sending them to a portion of the mailing list to determine the “winning” option and using the winning subject line for the rest of the mailing list – is going to become impossible (or at the very least seriously challenging) due to the unreliability of the open rate.
TIP #1: Head of Research at Oracle Marketing Consulting, Chad S. White, suggests that despite the challenges posed by Apple’s update, it will still possible to get an idea of open rates by analyzing a sub-section of the mailing list rather than the mailing list as a whole (which would be highly skewed by the Apple Mail recipients’ false opens). The idea is to use device identification analytics (if available) to create a segment of subscribers who are known to be using non-Apple email clients, and then using this segment “as a proxy for overall open rate performance.” Once you have this segment, you could run your subject line A/B testing just on it, and then use the ‘winner’ for the rest of the mailing list. Fresh Inbox’s Justin Khoo also suggests that if you, your email service provider, or analytics provider can “segregate out the Apple pixel requests”, features like A/B testing based on opens “can live to fight another day”.
TIP #2: It remains to be seen how leading ESPs who offer subject line A/B testing as a feature in their platforms will address this conundrum. Some companies whose products are largely reliant on this feature may need to pivot significantly in order to remain relevant, while others seem to have already preempted stricter adherence to data privacy in email and are therefore unfazed by Apple’s update. Phrasee CEO Perry Maim, for example, says, “We’ve spent six years running email multivariate tests with robust methodology. Our prediction models have reached high accuracy, and will be able to compensate for noisier open rate data.” So, using sophisticated third-party software that isn’t solely reliant on open rates for your subject line A/B testing may be a good solution for your email marketing analysis.
Still, if you’re not inclined to use a third-party software for A/B Testing subject lines and your existing ESP hasn’t quite figured out how to continue offering a reliable subject line A/B testing feature once Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection kicks in, you could always try the old-school method of a classic office poll! Send the potential subject lines to your colleagues and ask them to choose the one they would most be likely to click on themselves, and go with the most popular choice.
4. CHALLENGE: Email Advertising and Sponsorships.
If you’re currently using open rates in your media kit when pitching to potential sponsors to monetize your newsletters, this metric will become even less reliable than it was before (even without the hurdle posed by Apple’s update) since the size of your mailing list doesn’t indicate your subscribers’ level of engagement (much like an Instagram follower-count isn’t necessarily indicative of the engagement rate on a sponsored post). For example, a mailing list of 100,000 subscribers would seem more appealing (on the surface) than one of 30,000 subscribers, but if the larger mailing list generates an average open rate of only 1% as opposed to the smaller list which generates an average open rate of 20%, clearly the smaller list would actually be more valuable to an advertiser.
TIP: In the absence of a reliable open rate to indicate how engaged your mailing list is, you’ll need to use other metrics to measure the reach of your email campaigns, like unique CTR, or the average conversion rate of your destination pages. Make your engagement metrics the main attraction, and if you don’t have enough of them (yet), choose a few of your best-performing email campaigns as case studies for your media kit and showcase some of your most impressive conversion rates to entice potential advertisers.
5. CHALLENGE: Dynamic (Real-Time) Email content.
Some content within emails is served dynamically, meaning that the content displayed in the email is tailored specifically for each subscriber and served in real time based on a variety of identifiers like their location, time and device the email is opened on. For example, if you’re walking through a mall, you may receive an email about a promotion in a shop that’s just around the corner. Or if you’re opening an email around dinner time, you might see an ad for a take-away service, and so on. So, if the technology used to serve this content relies on knowing the recipient’s IP address or on other information that has traditionally been provided by a tracking pixel – which will be blocked when Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection kicks in – this will affect the functionality and efficacy of the dynamic content for your Apple Mail users.
TIP: Since dynamically-generated email content will now be compromised as a result of the Apple update, you’ll have to personalize emails using primarily first-party and zero-party data (information that consumers share with brands voluntarily through surveys, questionnaires, polls etc.) instead.
If you haven’t started collecting zero-party data yet, now’s the time to start. Just bear in mind that if you bombard your subscribers with too many requests to share details about their personal preferences too frequently, they will most likely find it tiresome or creepy, so always be strategic, purposeful and most importantly transparent with your audience when you request information that’s designed to improve their experience with your content.
You can also use behavioural data for content targeting. For example, if you can see that some of your subscribers have consistently clicked on links within your last 10 emails (I just made that number up for the sake of the example so obviously choose whatever’s right for you) – you could safely say that those are particularly engaged subscribers you might want to reward by offering them a freebie or a discount (etc.). Or, if you send themed campaigns – for example if you share different types of recipes throughout the week and you can see that certain subscribers consistently click only on the vegetarian recipes – you can send content that’s more specifically targeted to those subscribers based on the interest they’ve demonstrated by engaging with specific emails or topics.

To sum up: Coming to terms with the gradual but inevitable demise of the Open Rate and CTOR (Click-to-open Rate) and looking to the future.

If you’ve skipped right here to the end, here’s a quick re-cap of what you missed: When the iOS15 Mail Privacy Protection update kicks in, images will be cached once they hit Apple’s server, which means that for Apple Mail users, all delivered emails will be recorded as “opened”. If you’re an email marketer, depending on how many of your subscribers use Apple Mail, your open rate will therefore be inflated either by a little or a lot (based on current email client market share data it could potentially be as much as 40% or even higher), making it – and by extension the Click-to-open Rate (CTOR) as well – a highly unreliable KPI metric. One way to gauge the open rate for a campaign would be to try (if possible) to isolate a segment of the audience who opened the email on a device other than an Apple device and calculate the open rate of that segment as an indication of the overall campaign performance, but that seems like a futile attempt to hold on to a metric that’s essentially doomed, rather than looking to a post-open future that prioritizes other, more accurate engagement metrics instead.

The sooner email marketers can accept that we’re entering a new era of email analytics where the open rate is no longer king (or rather, no longer anything, really) and that moving forward it’s going to be “All hail the clickthrough rate!” (as well as a variety of other metrics) – the sooner we can shift our approach to measuring email campaign performance and optimizing email subject lines and content to maximize engagement and conversion.

Improving the deliverability rate – also known as inbox placement – will consequently become more important than ever, to give email campaigns the best chance of getting in front of as many subscribers’ eyeballs as possible. Once in the Inbox, it will be up to sender reputation, subject lines, and the content of the emails themselves to do the heavy lifting required to generate clicks and conversions.
“Email marketing returns (about 36:1 on average) continue to outperform other channels by a long shot”. Source: The State of Email Analytics via Litmus
Permission-based email marketing has long been one of the most (if not THE most) successful marketing channels because it allows brands to communicate with their subscribers like no other channel can, on hallowed ground – their inbox. Email has evolved over 50 years into a highly sophisticated marketing channel even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. The technological hurdles thrown at email marketers over the years have been formidable, but so have the technological advances, and although the open rate may become redundant in the age of privacy protection, the email industry will adapt, innovate and triumph – just as it always has.
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