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Don't panic, it's just the Apple Privacy Policy

Email’s Not Dead: Season 3, Episode 1

Don't panic, it's just the Apple Privacy Policy

Email's Not Dead

About this episode:

Welcome back to Season 3 of Email's Not Dead with your hosts Jonathan Torres and Eric Trinidad. A lot has happened since season 2 and we're here to let you know it's going to be okay! Don't panic! It's just the Apple Privacy Policy update. We're covering what we've seen since the update has been released, how opens fit into your email strategy, and what to expect in the future from the Apple Privacy Policy update. Tune in with your ear buddies at Email's Not Dead.

Meet your presenters

Jonathan Torres

Jonathan Torres

Manager of the TAM team at Sinch Mailgun

Eric Trinidad

Eric Trinidad

Technical Account Manager II at Sinch Mailgun


Email’s Not Dead – S3, E1: Don't panic, it's just the Apple Privacy Policy



Eric Trinidad:  Welcome to Email's Not Dead, my name is Eric, and this is Jonathan.


Jonathan Torres: Hello.


Eric Trinidad: Hello. We're coming to you from silos because we still wanted to bring this show to a head. We're going to be still talking about email, but hopefully still bringing you some good information across the town.


Jonathan Torres: This is exactly what season three is going to look like. I think for a short while, and maybe we can start getting together again. But, new season, we've been through a lot. I think overall everything has been through a lot. So this is what we can do right now. This is where we're going to start off with. But I'm ready to forge ahead, man. I'm excited to talk about some of the stuff. We haven't had a chance to talk about this, I think at length with some of the stuff. But I'm ready to jump in. I know – quick preview – we want to get into more DMARC type stuff. Today we're talking about the Apple privacy things. Life has changed in general. Right, there's a lot of things going on, and I think that's something that we need to talk about, especially when it relates to email-type stuff. So I'm ready and I'm for it. I'm excited and I'm in the seat, apart from you guys and I'm missing that aspect of it. But I think we need to talk about it.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, for sure. I know we used to be your monthly go to then it, turned to bi-monthly. Now, we're your seasonal podcast for all things email, but I think we should definitely talk about this latest thing that happened with Apple, with the privacy policy that was pushed out this year. We got a preview from what was it, WWDC what would developers conference on? About twenty twenty-one? Is that what it was?


Jonathan Torres: Yes. The Worldwide Developers Conference. So Apple's event every year. It's a pretty awesome event. If you're a developer in particular, it's awesome because they go out there and say what's coming up next? What's next on the platforms and then how they can integrate with their own. Everybody, integrating with their own apps and doing their own thing, which is awesome. That's cool that they do that. I appreciate that they do that. But it also gave us a little bit of a heads up from our side of things. What we're doing as far as email sending because they're doing something that will impact our world. And I think we've talked about this at length, I know in real life, I don't think we've talked about it a little bit on the podcast before. Maybe we haven't. I don't know, my jumbled brain of quarantine and everything else that's been going on. But we need to get to a point where we can talk about it, even though it's a little bit of an old set of news, older set of news at this point, we definitely want to talk about how it's impacted, where we're at with it right now, current status to this day. But, the worldwide developer conference. What can you specifically say, what they're doing?


Eric Trinidad: They announced a host of things that we're going to be able to be personalized. But I think the one that we want to get laser-focused on is the Privacy Policy, the mail privacy policy. Apple's MPP, you know? They released this huge, beefy chorizo, vegetable, large, whichever one you want to think of a policy that essentially allows them to block opens from being rendered properly or being able to to see opens properly from your perspective, I guess. Right?


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, that's for sure.


Eric Trinidad: That's one of the big things, right?


Jonathan Torres: It is. As far as what we're concerned, like our landscape, our world within the little email space that we live in, compared to the rest of life, it is one of those things that is going to impact us, and it's because they're doing things to basically mask when openings are happening by remote loading a lot of the information for that message. So it lands for your mailbox, you've set up your mailbox on an Apple device, you enable the privacy policy. And what that does is basically loads your messages on a remote server somewhere so that remote server is the one now doing the open events and really getting things prepared for your email so that when it's delivered to your client, it's going to be loading the remote stuff from their servers and not directly from the location that sent it out. And that's how we all operate. There's a lot of people that do tracking for clicks, tracking for opens. What we do with that space is basically loading a pixel that's a transparent one-by-one pixel just to see when somebody is engaging with it. I understand I get it. At the heart and the core of things. I get that people don't necessarily like that all the time. We live in a world that tracks and seems to over track and over associate things to be able to sell you a bunch of stuff or to do things that are not necessarily on the up and up all the time. And I get that there's a fear of that. People are going to misuse this information. And I think within the landscape for us that are doing the correct things with an email. We definitely are doing those things in the best possible way that we can, and we use that information for good. But when you have bad seeds mixed in, when you have bad actors mixed in with all this stuff, I can see why they're doing this and it makes sense for them to do it. But for those of us that are left out in the cold from this, we still feel the impact. We've also been put out in a different way, even though we're trying to use that information for a legitimate purpose. So that's where it's at, and that's what we've been dealing with for the past couple of months or the last month, really since they released it.


Eric Trinidad:  I know prior to this coming out. I know here with our clients and our overall feeling about the situation was there was a lot of panic from our clients and just people that we spoke about with the industry. There was so much buzz around this. But now that the dust has settled, we've been in it for a little bit of time and it's kind of gone by the wayside a bit.


Jonathan Torres: And I say a little bit with caution because there may be a lot of it that's gone out by the wayside. Just because we haven't really heard too much about it. I think there's a certain universal truth that stayed the same and certain things that did adjust certain things that did change that. I think we were expecting a broader impact. We were expecting something that was going to be a little bit harsher. But because of the way that it was implemented, I think it did help keep the waters in the same state right and shake things up too much. We didn't go crazy with it. But there is definitely some things that have happened. So if you watched the recent webinars and email camp that we put on. Our wonderful host, Thomas doing stuff and keeping that space going. And we love him for it and we thank him for putting stuff like that on and coordinating that with Pathwire and all the different entities within that and doing some really good stuff, putting good information out there. And that's a few the things that they talked about is that, yeah, the landscape has changed. Yes, there are differences. But even with all that, things have very much remained the same. Things are still very much fairly close to the status quo. Things are looking very similar to what it was before.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, we are seeing some increase in open rates, but we're not getting 90 percent open rates now. That's not what we're seeing. What we're seeing is that's looking up. It's just gradually increasing just to just a little bit more. But I think open rates as a whole, that's been something that as far as us, as technical account managers have done is talk about how that's always not the best metric to look at.


Jonathan Torres: Right.


Eric Trinidad: We've had issues with anti-spam or anti-malware, all these types of products that already scan messages and it could set off that open rate. And so we have to kind of talk about that and how that's not really the best metric to go about things. We should be looking at clicks. We should look at sales. We should be looking at other things a little bit further down the pipe. But I think overall, that's going to be the best metric to see in on how well your campaigns are going.


Jonathan Torres: Even further to that point. It's one of those things where you can't look at it in this little microsystem. If you're only paying attention to opens and that's all you've ever done. Cool, but that's not going to give you the best information. It's always about looking at everything holistically. What are your clicks doing? How many opens are you getting? What is that trend? How many people are coming through your website from that? What is the audience that's engaging with this? How are you segmenting that audience then afterwards? So there's a lot to look into. There's a lot of information, and I know opens were easily the or the most, I guess, the easiest thing to implement whenever you're doing that kind of stuff, like if I can click a button and say, Hey, give me the opens whenever they come through, it's fairly simple to do that and I understand why you want to do that and why that's a good place to start. But if you started there and then that's where you ended, that's where now more than ever, you want to start doing more, doing all that stuff they've implemented the change people have started to adapt, adopting, adopting that change. Sorry, how to find the right word, adopting that change. So as they upgrade their iOS software, they set it up, they've put it on there. What we started noticing is that Apple actually prompts them for wanting to do that privacy protection. But then that gives them that piece of information. However, even before all this started, there's definitely some things that equate the same way from before and after. So one of the things that we know for sure is that if your recipient had an Apple device even before all this started going on and they had the push notifications turned on for their email so that they're getting those notifications as soon as an email comes in, hey, it prompts up, downloads it from the server immediately to their device, opens up that message or to give them a little bit of a preview that is actually prompting the opens to happen already, whether they're on the newest version of the Apple devices or Apple software or not, so that in itself remains the same like it stayed from, from then to now remains the same. So, if that's a part of the metric and that's the only metric you're using, you're already getting that information before these changes compared to now. There is good pieces of information. There are things that we can look at and say, Hey, this is great information to have, even with the changes that are in place. So one of those things is if they're getting an open event from the Apple servers and we're seeing that message is opening, hey, that means a couple of things. That means this recipient actually has their email. Setup on their device, whether they check it or not, that's a different story. We may not know. Where before somebody would pop four or five opens after the fact because they got the message, they saved the message. They keep going back to the message or leave it as part of their inbox. That's all good information to have. Right now we don't get that anymore because we only get the one open event that happens when the message first gets there. But that does mean that, hey, they set up this email. They didn't give you some phony email. They didn't give you some email that they don't have set up on any devices that they use for only their junk mail like this is good information still. So we need to take that with a grain of salt. But then again, to your point exactly, start looking at everything else, let's find out what they're doing, how they're interacting, do things that will prompt them to log into the website so that way you have even more data. And that's something I think as a sender, as somebody who's doing things with any mail, we want to make sure that we're encouraging them to do that anyway. And almost not everybody does that. Some people just want to give them a stream of information of things that are coming through. We definitely see that a lot. Newsletters and news organizations are doing stuff like that, but we want to make sure that we are respecting the people that we're sending to. And then do the right opt-ins, confirm opt-in if they stop engaging completely or we see those options drop completely, then we want to look at slowing down the messages or stopping the messages to that person, or even more so, reengage with them, ask them for permission again, give them something to prompt them to interact with that message again, to say, yes please, continue sending emails because that's what it comes down to, right when we're at the end of it and once all is said and done, that's one of the things that we want to make sure is going on.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, give them a call to action make them click on that link, make them opt back in, make them go to your website to get that deal. Or do whatever, just so you can see other points of action and engagement and also another thing to look out for. Are you still getting through? Are you not getting blocked or you're still being able to send there? Awesome. That's another reason to see, okay, your messages are going through. If they're not engaging, then go ahead and remove them from your list. That's still having a good sunset policy and removing those non-engagers because those mailboxes that don't exist won't get those open events, either abandoned mailboxes or users that don't exist.


Jonathan Torres: No, it's good stuff. It hurts in the moment. I think it hurts. And it was one of those things where I think a lot of us were in the initial knee-jerk reaction is to say, they just don't like me anymore. They don't want my stuff anymore, Apple's got a vendetta against all of us doing email or within the email space. But the reality is that users are wanting more of this, more protection, more opacity between the people that are marketing to them, the people that are doing things with them and themselves because I definitely don't like that. I talk about something with a friend and it seems that every company in the world knows all of a sudden that this is my preference of things and then start marketing that kind of stuff toward me immediately. You go and you do a Google search on something and then immediately you get an ad somewhere else for that same thing. And it's one of those things that people have noticed and people, I think, are a lot more protective now of their own information because of that. And, so we have to respect that at the same time we want to make sure we have enough information that we're able to do these kinds of things. And being respectful to all of that is definitely one of those. One of the things we want to try to do is to the best of our ability. And on that same note, I know there's other companies that are doing similar kind of stuff for starting to test out similar features that Apple has been doing as well with this stuff. So one that we know of that has been a thing for quite a while now is the Google Image proxy. It's one of those things. When it happened, people started seeing it, people started reacting. It's a hey, I don't know about this. This seems like a really bad idea, and we're not going to be able to get any good information anymore for our open events and things like that. And that even now still hasn't been the case. We know that the implementation of the Google Image proxy is a little different than what Apple does for the Apple Mail Privacy. But with that being the case, that being out there, they're doing things or it seems like they're doing things right. When we look at the information right, we have a little bit of a different look at things because we're on this side of things. We're on the inside part of the house looking outward, helping customers with their information and being able to see what's happening with the landscape. And it does look like Google Image proxy is testing something like the Apple Mail privacy. Trying to do something where they're prompting more open events, prompting for more of that information. And then it might change that way. It doesn't look like it's changed yet. It seems like they maybe are testing something. Maybe something was just broken on their side, and they're doing more than they had been doing in the past. But it's one of those things where we know there's interest there. We know that people want that same thing from the Gmail addresses specifically. So what can they do? What are they going to do? Is there going to be a change? Are they going to do more of this focused in if they have the Gmail client set up on their phones now? Is that going to be something that then prompts for the same thing, does the same kind of open event, as a reopen, a one-time load on the message, instead of prompting every time something comes up. So we've got to keep an eye out, it's one of those things that landscapes change. The sea of email changes constantly and sometimes there's some rough waters that we've got to navigate through, but we just got to be aware that those are coming up.


Eric Trinidad: But of course, if you have any other questions about that, let us know. Hit us up. We'll be your Magellan's. We'll show you the way, we'll show you the path that is true in these choppy ocean waters. Yeah if you work for Google and that Jonathan's hit it right on the head, then definitely let us know. Come out. If you want to talk, come on our show we'll gladly talk with you about it, and we'll see what we got coming on. I have a few tickets that are out there that would love to get some feedback.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, definitely. But you got to watch out. I think everybody is a sender. There's definitely very specific rules that we all follow, that we have to follow, that we really need to follow. And outside of those rules, there's best practices. And that's what we're here to talk about. Most of the time is get those best practices in, and we'll talk about the rules. We talk about respect. But I mean, the best practices will lead into a lot of those things and will help us get the best results. And I think that's what everyone is after. We want results. We want to be able to use email for what? I guess a little bit of what it's intended for, but a little bit of what we want to use it for. It's a tool. It's one of those things where if you're using it the right way, you're respecting the way to use it, you're doing it with those best practices in mind. And you can make it do some really great stuff, but you have to be able to bend to those things and change with the times. And I know there's always changes, there's always things happening. And I feel that if we're caught blindsided, then it creates that little bit of, an unexpected time and a real fear of what could happen. We saw, we prepared. We became informed. And I think it's landing in a good spot. I know that there's certain things that we found out. There's things that we've understood. We know where these opens are coming from now. When you see the Apple servers and you can see that trend on there, what device it identifies itself as, we know that you even have an option as a user to say that you want messages within your region or even closer to say just within your time zone. You have an opportunity to still give back certain pieces of information. As a recipient of those emails you're not leaving the sender out completely and without it, and there's certain things that are those truths. We know that things are going to the spam folder. It's not going to prompt the same way. So, it's those things we've got to watch out for. There's one more that I want to hit on, and that's the open events that are happening every three days if I'm still remembering things correctly. So when you look at the information.


Eric Trinidad: It is after three days?


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, if it's still in the mailbox, if you're still engaging with it. If it's still in a place where they're loading it after three days it prompts for another open event. So there's little pieces of information that we can pick up on and man that's good stuff, that's really, really good stuff. So the region is there opens after three days and the fact that it's set up on a mailbox. Those are the key takeaways and what we've learned. You know how we've navigated through this. And yes, you're going to get some elevated open rates, but really good information that still exists within there. And that's what we have to remember. So keep an eye out.


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, those are all great little bits and it makes you work a little bit more diligently with your list. Be more engaged on the metrics that you're receiving and really spend more time with this, it's not something you can just kind of spray and pray. That this kind of makes it out there and you get that open rate. You have to really, pay attention to a lot of this. And, it kind of reminds me of, Jonathan, we've talked about it in the past about, this is totally off subject, but R-rated movies. Sometimes you get a good R-rated movie and then other theaters are just, "Oh, that's what people want. They want this bloody, gory thing." But that's not it at all. We really enjoy the characters and they need to pay attention to all this other stuff, but they're like, "no, no, no, no. It's just R-rated blood and guts. That's what people want." But you need to take it all in, man.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, you do. Exactly. Such a good analogy, and it's sad that it works, but it works. If you're only paying attention to the fact that people really like this R-rated movie, and that's all you see is that the R-rating is what worked, and that's going to be wrong. And instead, you really got to know that, hey, it's about the score and the cinematography and the writing and the characters. And there's so many other things that go into that and why people liked it. But we've definitely seen that in the past where that's not the case. Oh yeah, we're movie buffs. What can you do?


Eric Trinidad: Yeah. We just got past the spooky days. So no more scary stuff.


Jonathan Torres: At least for a little while, right?


Eric Trinidad: Yeah, I already started putting up Christmas lights, so I'm excited. Well right on. Anything else man? I think we covered a good portion of this.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, I think so, I don't know if there's anything in particular left to talk about within this time frame. But I really think we encourage people to do this kind of stuff. We want to make sure that people are aware, also know, the way to react and how, what to be expecting right when things happen. And the fact that if you remain informed, there's no need to panic through a lot of this stuff. Don't panic, it's okay. You'll be all right. But there's definitely those times where, hey, it's come in. Be ready. Be prepared. Talk to your deliverability advisor if you have one. If not, you can come and look at our stuff. We have a great blog post. We've got a great team of people that does this kind of stuff here. Not to pitch too much, but we're definitely here to help. And even putting stuff out like this into the internet as a whole. We want people to be informed and to be aware. And sometimes people just need a little bit more information and we'd love to talk to people about that. But we just need to be a community about this stuff and do it with respect.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah, with all these changes and all these things happening, of course. That's a really great point to leave off on. But especially because all these things are changing with email, with privacy, that email is definitely not dead and it's only going to be changing and advancing with the landscape as well. So might as well do the same, hop on this bandwagon.


Jonathan Torres: Yeah.


Eric Trinidad: Got to get out there. Well right on, folks until next time. Jonathan, thank you. It was good. I'm excited for the season.


Jonathan Torres: Yes! Season three!


Eric Trinidad: Season three in effect. Thanks, guys. Have a great day.

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