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Why Email Open Rates are a Thing of the Past

Here's What you Should Pay Attention to Instead

Every email marketer knows that open rates have long been the gold standard for measuring an email’s success. We build lists around them, adjust our content based on them, and can gauge the results of a fundraising campaign on them. We’re here to tell you that all of this has changed. But fortunately, there are other ways to measure success and have a strong email program without them.

In the fall of 2021, Apple implemented a Mail Privacy Protection program across their operating systems. In short, their system may tell your platform that an email was opened — even if in reality it wasn’t. A recent report by Litmus showed that 58.4% of desktop email opens happen through Apple Mail, and 90.5% of mobile opens happen on an iPhone. We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but this change will affect your organization. So what does this mean?

Your open rates are likely inflated.

Any of your supporters who use Apple Mail and opted in will appear as “opens” on your recent emails, regardless of whether they’ve seen them or not. 

Your deliverability shouldn’t change.

If you didn’t have issues with bouncing emails in the past, this program won’t create new problems. But should these challenges arise in the future, they’ll be harder to identify.

The impact on other trackable metrics will be small.

Your click-through rate and other conversion metrics won’t be affected by this change (in fact, these metrics have become even more important!)

You need to rethink the way you build your lists.

Most email fundraisers (ourselves included) tend to use recent openers to build an “active list”. This won’t be effective anymore. Instead, consider building your list around new contacts (through our Honor Your Caregiver℠ platform).

There are still quite a few unknowns when it comes to the impact of this change. But it’s important to remember that this is a barrier you can overcome. Email marketing and fundraising is a dynamic industry because it has to be. We’ve maintained our success in non-profit hospital digital fundraising by sticking to the Four Pillars of Successful Email Campaigns and identifying innovative new ways to connect with our audiences. 

And remember, we’re here to help.

If you need a team of dedicated experts by your side to help you navigate this change and build a digital fundraising program that you can count on, drop us a line and connect directly to a member of our team. We can’t wait to hear from you!