The Privacy Game is Changing

BBT Digital | 10 June 2021

Apple flexes their privacy muscles… 

At their annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple announced that the upcoming iOS 15 update will give users even more insight and control over their privacy and data. Privacy has been a major focal point for Apple in recent years and with the announcement of Mail Privacy Protection and the App Privacy Report they will be giving their users more control over their security. 

The App Privacy Report will provide users with more detailed intel on how non-Apple apps are tracking their activity. Similar to Safari Privacy Reports, users will be able see a breakdown of which apps are accessing which kind of data, as well as how much of that data is being farmed out to third-party trackers. 

Prior to Mail Privacy Protection, Apple users had no direct control over how their data was exchanged, but now users will be able to decide what information is shared through their mail app. This includes their IP address, location, and when or if an email was opened. 

 

…and Android isn’t far behind 

Apple aren’t the only ones giving users more control over their data, Google are also jumping on the bandwagon to protect their users. Currently Android users can opt out of sharing their ‘Advertising ID’ – a device identifier which allows marketers to track their movements as they move between apps. 

However, it gets a bit tricky for Android when considering following in suit of Apple’s privacy updates. Limiting tracking would put a major dent in Google’s business model, which gathers data from its users across websites, users, and apps to sell targeted ads. 

The upcoming Android 12 update will provide users with access to a privacy dashboard which will show them which apps have accessed things like their location data, camera, and microphone. Nonetheless, it’s likely that Google will also make moves to allow users to protect their data in the future. 

 

Impact on email marketing

Without question, this is going to have an impact on email campaigns. It will prevent companies from tracking how many and which specific subscribers are opening their newsletters, eDMs, and emails. Of course, pixels won’t be immune from these new privacy settings, their data gathering capabilities will be restricted too. 

So, if we can’t track open rates, then how do we know if we’re getting the job done? 

Well, while open rates are important, they can be considered a vanity metric. Of course it’s great for people to open your email but what’s more important is for people to engage with what’s inside. So, instead of depending on your open rate to determine if a campaign is a success try taking your conversion rate, list growth, unsubscribes, and website visitors as indicators because these won’t be impacted by the new updates. 

 

Google has made a commitment to continue to push boundaries and find ways to maintain the highest standards of privacy, security, and safety for its users which one day could include the limiting of tracking. Meanwhile, the new App Privacy Report and Mail Privacy Protection features will be available for Apple users when iOS 15 is rolled out, which based on past releases, should be in September. 

So, while we do have some time until then, we need to be prepared for disruption in tracking as we know it.