The Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature from Apple has ushered in new changes for email marketers. These changes, ranging from data acquisition to general user privacy, force marketers to adapt and evolve their best practices. One of the latest updates is the Hide My Email (HME) feature, which will certainly affect marketing email collection and deliverability practices. Read on for more about how Hide My Email will affect marketers.
What is Hide My Email?
The Hide My Email (HME) feature creates randomly-generated and unique email addresses for Apple users. These email addresses can be used wherever an email address is required, including marketing forms, creating online accounts, or website downloads. Apple allows its users to generate as many HME email addresses as they’d like via iCloud or Sign In With Apple. Apple devices can also auto-fill generated emails on forms.
Users of HME addresses can turn the email forwarding either on or off at any time, which means messages may or may not be forwarded to their primary inbox. And, since HME addresses can be used instead of the primary email, marketers may never know the user’s real email.
How Will Hide My Email Affect Marketers?
Currently, Apple iPhone continues to rank as the top email client in the world. With over 47% of email opens coming from iPhones, HME could have significant implications for lead generation. In some ways, the impact will be similar to temporary or disposable email addresses.
Apple HME allows users to choose if they want to forward emails from these randomly-generated email addresses to their primary email inboxes or to deactivate them. If the user decides to deactivate, that means they are effectively blocking your messages. Further, if users turn off the ability to forward emails, messages sent to the HME address will hard bounce. And, marketers are paying close attention, because this has a huge impact on email deliverability metrics.
What Can Email Marketers Do to Adjust to Apple’s HME?
First, get inside the mind of the consumer. Consumers who use temporary/disposable email addresses typically want to take advantage of special offers or access a website’s content without wanting additional communication from the company. The underlying issue comes down to consumers who want to protect their email addresses while still being able to access content. One question to think about is whether you want those people in your database in the first place.
To ensure you’re attracting the best possible leads (who will hopefully use their real email address to sign up for your offer), continue to focus on the value of receiving future marketing communications from your business. Create campaigns that serialize messaging over time to build a relationship and establish an expectation of ongoing content. Provide value early in the customer’s journey.
To adapt, marketers should:
- Focus on the benefits of receiving your emails during the sign-up process.
- Set expectations on the type and frequency of messages with your welcome message.
The most important thing a company can do to maintain email deliverability in the face of Apple’s HME feature is provide value. By segmenting and maintaining clean lists, and sending resources each segment finds useful or inspiring, you can start to build trust with your audience.
Communicate with your leads and customers about the topics they prefer on the channels they prefer. Allow them to set preferences, react to the patterns you see in their behavior and keep their success top of mind. In the end, creating a valuable, impactful customer experience is the most important thing you can do to entice people to stay on your list.
Filter Certain Email Domains
If you are not currently reviewing your email bounce rates, it will be important to add this to your key metrics if you want to understand and combat the impacts of Hide My Email. If you see a jump in bounces, examine what percentage of email addresses end with @icloud.com, @me.com, @mac.com, or @privaterelay.appleid.com. If deliverability is becoming a problem, you can filter these domains from your reporting, or even refuse submissions on your forms when emails end with these domains. If you are a B2B marketer, you can also try accepting only business or corporate domains, and no longer accept domains like @gmail.com or @icloud.com at all.
Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection Will Prompt Marketing Improvements
Overall, Apple’s continued privacy protection updates serve as good reminders to use best practices to communicate to your contact list. It is important to set expectations when consumers opt-in, regularly review key metrics (like hard bounce increases), and allow consumers to set preferences to help your overall email strategy. Features like Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email are meeting consumer demand for more privacy and greater control over the types of content they receive. Businesses of all types now have an opportunity to continue improving their strategies for providing value, and continuing to meet demand for content and information while respecting privacy.