Time to Rethink your Email Playbooks

Apple's "Mail Privacy Protection" is now widely adopted. The time is now to rethink your email playbooks.

This past week I had the rare opportunity for face-to-face interaction with recipients of an ice cold email.  We were together as the recipients, myself, and my team were onsite at an industry event for 2 days in Houston, TX.  In the days leading up to the event, I delivered an intro + invite email that explained what we were doing, where we were, and the value that we would deliver for the attendees -> all pretty standard fare.

What was NOT standard, though, was that the primary send of this email invite achieved a zero percent open rate.  Over the next 24 hours I went through the technical set up of our email delivery tool (this time Salesforce Sales Cloud) to ensure that SPF, DKIM, and other parameters were appropriately in place.  Everything checked out, so instead of sending a slightly altered messaged to those on the list who hadn’t opened message 1, I chose to resend to the whole list and got the exact same result:  0% opens.  Ouch.

Time to Rethink Your Email Playbooks

Rethinking your send framework

Since it launched in September of 2021, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature has been in the back of every marketer’s mind but I assumed that only a privacy-minded subset of iOS users would activate it and that wouldn’t be quite as bad (for marketers) as it was made out to be.  Evidently, it’s a much more popular feature than anticipated…

The previously mentioned 0% open rate sends were a huge surprise and not something I’d ever seen before.  Until this point, running well-established playbooks around subscribers who opened (or not), clicked (or not), and giving the messaging the best chance of being effective still worked great.

What crystalized the need to rethink send frameworks, playbooks, and automations was that the majority of interactions we had with attendees included them mentioning that they got the email!


Whether you’re thinking of a one-off send, an automation, or any type of journey that relies on a subscriber’s open status for routing, the time to upgrade your email playbook and strategy is now.

This will ultimately be a good thing for marketer’s and inboxes, alike, too.  It’s going to result in more precise messaging, less utilization of recycled copy and creative to the same audience, and the production of new and better messaging.

Most interesting to me is the eventual total loss of Open Rate as a metric.  It was always a guidepost and never the north star but it was still an excellent way to judge the quality of a subject line.  Time will tell.

Written by Erik Sunset

Written by Erik Sunset

Erik is the owner and operator of Sunset Marketing Works. Click to learn more about the author.

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