Privacy-First Platform and Built-In Safeguards Will Protect RevTrax Clients from Potentially Costly Negative Affects
On June 7th, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection at their Worldwide Developers Conference. With the release of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 this September, Mail Privacy Protection will route emails via a proxy server to pre-load message content, effectively disabling services that utilize real-time information to personalize email content. It also masks IP addresses and prevents usage of invisible pixels to collect information. By utilizing the proxy server to pre-load message content, Apple will mark every email as read (100% open rate) and break any kind of real-time feedback loop used by email marketers to personalize around open rates, IP or other signals. Additionally, Apple will be offering a new Hide My Email feature to enable consumers to set up random, disposable email addresses that forward to their actual email address as part of a paid iCloud+ plan. Sounds like a difficult challenge for emailing marketers? It is.
For clarity, Mail Privacy Protection won’t be turned on by default. However, with over 40% market share for Apple Mail on iOS and iPad (US & UK) and only a 4% opt-in to ad tracking on Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Tool, it’s a good bet that this will have a massive impact for marketers. The most consequential email marketing tactics affected will include optimizing subject lines based on open rates, nurture campaigns that have rules based on opens, deliverability monitoring, geographic updates based on current location, and other items that can improve email marketing efficiency and relevance.
The good news for RevTrax clients is that the advanced solutions we offer for email marketers don’t rely on any of the email signals Apple is obscuring. From our perspective, Gmail was the first to block information about user agents and other information from being delivered back to the email marketer. Our solution has always been designed with privacy at its core and was built in a manner in which these signals hidden by Apple Mail’s Privacy Protection don’t affect our platform’s features and functionality.
We offer three core types of personalization for email marketers:
1. Personalization before the email is sent: This is where RevTrax can determine the appropriate offer value for a new consumer when they hit a registration form and subsequently ensure that the corresponding welcome email reflects the same discount offer.
2. Personalization within campaign emails: This is where RevTrax scores a client’s file pre-send and then renders the optimal offer within the email once deployed all based on an export ID that is passed to RevTrax.
3. Personalization when the user clicks on the email: This is where RevTrax determines the appropriate offer value on the landing page the consumer sees after clicking on the email. These are often gamified experiences within the email that don’t specify the optimized offer to the consumer until the user clicks through the email.
Let’s drill down on use case #2 – Personalization within campaign emails. The reason this use case isn’t impacted is that RevTrax will score a client’s file in advance of deployment and the email itself simply uses an image tag that passes the client’s export ID. We use the information to retrieve a score for the consumer from our system and use that score to surface the right offer value in real-time. In summary, the information we use is surfaced when the user sees the email, whenever that might be, but is based on a score we already have and used to determine the email’s content, so it isn’t impacted by Apple’s’ Mail Privacy Protection.
As for “Hide My Email”, RevTrax has always offered a variety of security features that protect offers from intentional abuse. Sophisticated fraudsters have been using “burner” email addresses for years and RevTrax has successfully utilized proprietary capabilities for over a decade to prevent bad actors from abusing client offers.
The good news for existing RevTrax clients is that they are well protected against these and future changes in the consumer privacy landscape. The more clients “lean into” our product offering, the better we can future-proof their business against more changes in the privacy landscape.
Non-clients should be cognizant of their exposure and risk related to discounts and coupons with these privacy changes. As we have seen, these risks fall into two major buckets:
1. If your organization is concerned about “viral offers” or consumer abuse of coupons and discounts, especially via the email channel, the privacy changes enabling “burner emails” will make it easier for most of your subscribers to easily request multiple discounts and offers. The risk is that the average subscriber with basic tech savviness (read: pretty much every Millennial and Gen Z-er) can circumvent any “one offer per customer” or strategies aimed at curbing offer distribution, thereby increasing your exposure to budgetary overruns and decreases in AOV and LTV. RevTrax’s clients meanwhile are 100% protected from this massive new vulnerability.
2. If your organization is prioritizing personalization of acquisition offers and loyalty/retention offers, you need to pivot quickly to utilize more bullet-proof metrics, such as “activation rates” and “redemption rates” at a customer level. These metrics need to be captured accurately at a customer level at scale and tied into existing marketing systems to ensure continuity and enhancement of personalization efforts with new behavioral triggers that survive any privacy updates by large tech companies.
The privacy landscape is shifting. Embracing this change thoughtfully by leveraging new and existing technologies differently will be paramount. The imperative grows for marketers to focus on first-party and zero-party data as the solution to further privacy changes. Since our inception, RevTrax has worked to help our clients invest in these data assets to build consumer relationships via our Offer Management Platform, with privacy as a central theme in everything we do. We’re here to help guide our clients through these uncertainties.
Please reach out to us for help.