Apple Inc. to shield email users from ‘Spy Pixels’ with ‘Mail Privacy Protection’: Marketing companies will not know if receivers opened their messages

Apple Inc. Email Tracking Pixels
Apple Inc. trying to end email tracking. Pic credit: sophie & cie/Flickr

After App Tracking Transparency (ATT), Apple Inc. is now attempting to shield its iPhone and iPad users from being tracked using marketing emails and promotional email campaigns. The “Mail Privacy Protection” will essentially render “Email Open Rates” metrics useless.

Apple Inc. is now taking away the long-held ability of advertisers and publishers to see whether consumers open emails. This would invariably affect email marketing campaigns significantly.

Email Marketing companies know exactly when and how many times their messages were opened:

Marketing companies commonly use sneaky tactics to ensure consumers have read their promotional messages. The most common tactic is inserting tracking pixels.

Called ‘Spy Pixels’, they are tiny images, sometimes even invisible, that marketers embed inside emails. When receivers open emails, the Spy Pixels pingback to servers and confirm the message was opened.

“Open Email Rates” is certainly not a perfect metric for marketing, but it is a good indicator of how many email users have actually opened the promotional messages. If a good number of messages remain unopened, businesses need to alter their strategy.

Irrespective of whether tracking pixels are useful or not, they are tracking email users. And this is where Apple Inc. has a problem.

After proactively taking on apps and internet-based services with ATT, Apple Inc. is now offering system-level protection to its email service users.

In the near future, emails to consumers who use Apple mail products, and opt into “Mail Privacy Protection”, will appear like they read the message as soon they received it. Needless to say, this method would render the gathered information useless as it would be meaningless.

Only Apple Inc. Email Service users to benefit from new protection features:

Besides the Mail Privacy Protection service, Apple Inc. has also thought of a few more features that could render email marketing campaigns a lot less successful.

Apple will give its consumers the option to do away with tracking pixels. Then there’s a feature called “Private Relay” for subscribers to Apple’s iCloud storage service iCloud+ that would hide IP addresses.

Additionally, Apple Inc. is also offering a feature called “Hide My Email”. This feature will let users share “unique, random” email addresses that can forward to their personal inbox. Users can delete these random or “Burner IDs” to completely stop certain contacts from reaching out to them.

It is important to note that not all Email services will benefit from the protection features that Apple Inc. is offering. In other words, only those who use Apple email products will be able to shield themselves from email marketing campaigns.

Goggle offers Gmail, a very popular email service that nearly every Android smartphone user uses. However, there is a sizeable population that religiously uses Apple email products.

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