by Adam Kościelak Aug 12, 2021

Email open rate tracking is essentially dead, or is it? Apple's introduction of iOS 15’s new Privacy Protection policy that will tag any email arriving in your inbox as opened, regardless of whether your audience actually opened them is at the heart of the matter. Apple has a significant market share of inboxes in some countries and will certainly affect open rates especially for those who have a lot of apple mail recipients.

Suggestions that open rates are dead and that this change effectively kills email marketing, have been far exaggerated. Unless you’ve based your entire strategy on getting opens, you should be fine, however, there are some adjustments you may have to make to make the most out of your email metrics.

In this article, we’ll explore the issues that might arise with the new changes to open rates and how to deal with the outcome.

How important are open rates anyway?

If you read up on open rates, you might see some marketers treating it as a vanity metric, to begin with. We’d have to agree to a limited extent. If your business is primarily online, of course, you’ll want to track clicks and that should be your primary metric, but for in-person businesses, open rate might still be a good indicator for how successful your campaign is.

That’s why, before panicking about this change, think about how much it actually affects you. If you’re sending out newsletters to recipients who are not on using Apple products, open rates are still an important metric. Even if you have Apple users in your audience, this change will mostly affect your metrics in the transitional period. Once most users apply the update, there should be ways to filter your stats for those instances.

So, our first thing to do to figure out your next step is to decide how much you actually need open rate in the first place. If you’re mostly tracking click rate, nothing really changes for you. If you were tracking open rate, let’s discuss some possible solutions.

Get those clicks! Count your replies.

Even if your business isn’t based on clicks, you can still track them - oftentimes without irritating your customers by forcing them to click out of an email. Creating interactive emails may be a way for you to find out whether your customers are interacting with your communication, while also providing them a more subtle incentive to actually click on your email.

Even something as simple as a clickable gallery or an embedded video should let you track clicks and gained more detailed metrics than before. This solution can work virtually in any context. Even if your newsletter is mostly about reading, adding even a short looped video can be a great hack to generate those clicks and get a good measure of your audience’s interaction with your content.

How are we responding to these changes?

We’re introducing a powerful clickmapping tool that should help you optimize your email designs to get the most clicks possible. Over the coming months, we’ll also be looking at the new email landscape to see what other solutions we can introduce to help you analyze your email metrics without using Open Rates.

If you need any help with the new features, be sure to contact our support team. We’re sure they’ll help you find the solutions you need to optimize your delivery and analysis.

Should you panic?

If you based your metrics on click rates, you have nothing to worry about, you should be way ahead of the pack anyway. If you’re focused on open rates… Don’t panic, you’re still fine. You might have to rework your designs to include more CTAs and clickables, but the reduced effectiveness of open rate tracking shouldn’t impact your business in the long term.

Don’t listen to the doomsayers and keep on rolling with your email marketing. This change might make analyzing your results a bit more difficult, but it won’t make your emails convert any less.

Adam Kościelak

Adam Kościelak is an experienced writer and video content creator. After 4 years of honing his craft in the video game industry, he joined Elastic Email to grow our content library, both on the blog and on social media. Whenever he’s not creating content for us, Adam’s either gaming, binging Netflix, or hooping at a local basketball court.

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