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How B2B Marketers and Sales Must Adapt to Apple’s New Privacy Updates



INFLUENCER: Organisations will need to work together to effectively react to the impacts of these changes, says Digitas' Jamie Langan

How B2B Marketers and Sales Must Adapt to Apple’s New Privacy Updates

Apple’s announcement of Mail Privacy Protection has been the talk of the marketing industry this summer. On September 20th, it was released into market, with iOS 15 being made available for download. Much of the chatter has been B2C focused, but here we’ll get into what those in B2B marketing or sales need to know, and how to navigate the changes that others may not be talking about. 

Apple now offers Mail Privacy Protection and enhancements to the Hide My Email feature. These features are independent of each other and each must be enabled by the user, but both are predicted to have an impact on B2B marketing and sales. Let’s take a high-level look at each:

Mail Privacy Protection will give users of the Apple Mail Native App the ability to block certain information from senders. Apple will cache all images, including tracking pixels, when the recipient opens their Mail App, resulting in the email being reported as opened even if the recipient did not engage. Apple will also hide the user’s IP address. This will make open rates, time of open and the user’s location unreliable.

Mail Privacy Protection is enabled through a pop up, making it very easy for the user to opt in. With people being sensitive to any information they share with companies, it is predicted most will opt in. For reference, users opt out of app tracking 96% of the time following the release of iOS 14.5 in April

In addition, Apple enhanced the features for paid iCloud+ accounts to include Hide My Emails and Private Relay. Hide My Email allows users to easily generate randomized iCloud email addresses when signing up for a website or when filling out an online form. Emails will be forwarded by Apple to the user’s real email address (this process will result in an email open). The Private Relay will keep users’ IP address and browsing activity private. Between these two features, there will be no way for the sender to match back the alias to the contact or have any visibility to match form submissions, email engagement, and website engagement.


Your first step: Assess the potential impact

It's estimated that 25-35% of B2B contacts use Apple Mail, but not every organization will be impacted equally.  Before acting, take steps to determine how this might impact you:   

• Run a report to see how many contacts are using Apple Mail to engage with emails. This can include: Apple iPhone (iOS Mail), Apple Mail (macOS Mail), and Apple iPad (iPadOS Mail), regardless of their email domain. This can be determined at a granular level if your organization is tracking using an email analytics tool such as Litmus or Email on Acid. Some Marketing Automation tools also offer this or a higher level of reporting to show device and browser-level metrics.

• Determining the impact of Hide My Email and Private Relay will be more challenging since it requires a paid iCloud+ account and adoption is difficult to forecast. Look for reports from industry publications that research digital behavior or do some data mining in your own database to look for new patterns in domain or IP data.

Areas of greatest impact for B2B Marketers 

These changes will have an impact on lead/ account-based scoring models, identifying MQLs, sales processes and the marketing strategy associated in each area. If organizations do not align on the right measures to take and/or change, it could lead to inefficient processes, resulting in decreased revenue.

Leads are the bread and butter for most B2B companies — sales teams depend on quality leads. The data attached to the lead directly as well as engagement data make a quality lead. We know that iOS will impact both areas, but let’s go deeper.

• If a contact uses the Hide My Email feature, it may result in a new lead that will not be connected to that same lead’s previously created record and engagement. Hide My Email forwards the “alias” email to the recipient’s primary email address. If that primary email is already in the marketer’s database and the marketer sends to two different email addresses, the email may appear in the recipient’s inbox twice, giving the user two different opportunities to engage and resulting in disparate data across two contacts, while really belonging to one.

• Lead Scoring Programs/ABM marketing: The impact of reporting false opens may impact Lead Scoring programs that leverage opens as an engagement metric, resulting in inaccurate lead information and a possible increased risk of false MQLs. If your organization is using an advanced ABM program that is using aggregated lead scores from individual contacts, these programs will also be impacted. Poor lead quality could cause loss of revenue if the sales team is focused on the wrong leads. 

Actions to take

- Review lead and account-based scoring programs and any score that is given for email opens. Consider reallocating scoring to clicks or other more reliable indicators.

- Identify any triggered campaigns or journeys that accelerate a lead that includes conditional logic around opens. Assess level of impact of removing opens from logic and run counts to decide next steps.

- Review sales processes and integrations with CRM that are based on opens and that flag a sales rep to act.  

- Educate your sales team on these changes and create a feedback loop between sales and marketing. 

- Develop content that provides value for leads and customers in exchange for their information. This will discourage them from using the Hide My Email feature with your brand.

- Review progressive profiling opportunities that capture data and build known profiles.

- Be creative – consider leveraging other channels to communicate with your audience i.e. SMS, App messaging, and Social. 

- Monitor your database health for trends of increased new email addresses, unsubscribes, and deliverability issues. 

Try to see this as a positive and take the opportunity to reevaluate and revamp outdated practices. Some actions noted here can be made proactively and some may be reactive to the impact over time, but with this knowledge, you will know why it is happening and how to pivot quickly. Take the time to educate the organization of the change so everyone is aware. Create feedback loops across capabilities, especially with sales and marketing. Organisations will need to work together to effectively react to the impacts of these changes.

Jamie Langan is associate director, marketing operations at Digitas

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Digitas USA, Fri, 24 Sep 2021 08:59:00 GMT