Case Study: Mail Privacy Protection Fix In Adobe Campaign

Apple’s iOS 15 and Mail Privacy Protection affected marketers worldwide. Here’s how TAP CXM’s Adobe Campaign consultants created a fix for a UK charity.

The Project

Improving Adobe Campaign Standard reporting data after Apple’s iOS15 rollout

There’s no denying that the privacy enhancements baked into iOS 15 are good for users. But when the new features launched in September 2021, Shelter UK – like most brands – noticed some alarming issues.

In particular, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature was causing havoc with email marketing data in Adobe Campaign. Open rates doubled from ~25% to nearly 50%, distorting data and diluting reporting quality.

What happened

  • MPP hides a recipient’s IP address
  • Apple now routes incoming emails through a proxy server
  • The proxy server “opens” all emails

What it meant for email marketers

  • Tracking the real open rate became impossible almost overnight
  • Senders can’t determine the recipient’s device information
  • Any iOS 15 (or macOS 12) user opening emails in the Apple Mail app is affected

According to Statista, only 1 in 4 iOS users has opted into tracking. Seventy-five per cent are still hidden from senders.

Can Adobe Campaign fix the MPP open rate issue?

In a word? No.

MPP hides the recipient’s IP address using proxy servers that are inaccessible to mere mortals. We’re not even sure if Apple can access the data. There’s also no out-of-the-box way to access individual user data in Adobe Campaign Standard.

But TAP CXM Technical Consultant Jack Willis saw past the symptom to the underlying issue.

Adobe Campaign Logo

The Process

Diving into delivery data in Adobe Campaign 

Jack, with support from TAP CXM’s Adobe Campaign consultants, came up with a solution to flag and exclude individual accounts that were likely to generate a false open. These records are subsequently excluded from open rate reporting in Adobe Campaign.

Crucially, our MPP false open fix does not deteriorate Shelter’s data quality.

On the contrary. Flagging and filtering false opens improves the quality of Shelter’s email marketing campaigns:

  • Encourages Shelter to focus on more personalised metrics, behaviours and triggers
  • Improves open rate accuracy among non-iOS 15 users
  • Identifies engagement on an individual level rather than aggregating

Rather than simply cutting off a segment of Shelter’s audience, we could create new rules that only apply to flagged accounts.

Our exact methodology for overcoming the MPP false open issue is a trade secret, but we’re happy to discuss it with marketers in the same boat as Shelter.

The Result

What this fix means for Shelter UK and other Adobe Campaign Standard users 

We understand that email open rates are a valuable metric for most marketers. However, our work with Shelter has generated several flow-on benefits for personalisation, engagement and reporting.

For example, instead of designing a campaign to follow up with recipients who opened a single email, we now look at richer metrics like clicks and cross-channel engagement. 

Adobe Campaign played a pivotal role in enabling this fix. Jack and TAP CXM’s Adobe Campaign consultants could dig into individual user data, creating sophisticated rules to manage the issue. 

All without compromising user privacy.

We’d say that’s a pretty good result – and our friends at Shelter agree.

Contact TAP CXM for advice on Adobe Campaign consulting, training, or customer experience management

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The development of auto open detection has helped in monitoring engagement rates and testing factors that impact open rates. It has also enabled the use of audience segmentation without drastically changing the contact approach, making it very helpful for successful campaign strategies.

Pip Raven, Head of CRM - Shelter UK

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