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Apple’s New Privacy Features: What to Expect and How Pardot Customers Can Adapt

At Salesforce Pardot, we go out of our way to be a privacy champion, providing you the marketing tools you need to be compliant and putting ethics and trust at the forefront of our values. For example:

  • Pardot doesn’t build individual profiles across unrelated internet properties.
  • We avoid “creepy” tracking practices like browser fingerprinting.
  • We develop resources like our consent framework to help you communicate in ways that respect your audience’s privacy.

We do all of this to provide transparency into how Pardot enables you to personalize your marketing.

Apple is also well-positioned as a privacy advocate, and it’s rolling out new technologies to make email more private.

What is Mail Privacy Protection from Apple?

At its June Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple unveiled Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), which is expected to deploy this fall. Historically, marketing automation software like Pardot uses email content like tracking pixels to determine when someone opens an email. Marketers create automations based on email opens, since they typically signal, among other things, whether or not a customer is interested in your content. Marketers use data around email opens to tailor their campaign approach — engaging interested prospects with more content and dialing back send frequency to disinterested prospects. MPP will remove this capability by causing all email content to automatically load when it’s delivered to the Apple Mail client — making it appear as if the subscriber opened every email. MPP also includes other privacy protections, such as the proxying of content fetches.

The Pardot product and engineering teams are actively working to understand how Apple will implement MPP and how this change will impact our customers. But we know enough to help you understand what to expect and how to adapt.

Preparing Your Pardot Instance

While it’s uncertain how MPP will affect email marketing as a whole, it’s already clear that email opens will become a less reliable engagement signal. We also know that it will impact email features like Einstein’s send time optimization algorithms. Our Einstein team is already adapting to the changes by updating algorithms so that they remain effective. We’re also making sure that Metrics Guard continues to perform correctly.

In other words, we’re not waiting to take action, and you don’t have to, either! Here are several meaningful ways to prepare:

  • Follow the news around MPP so you can understand, explain, and react to the changes as they’re revealed by Apple.
  • Review your Pardot automations, dynamic lists, completion actions, and scoring to understand where you’re using email opens to inform campaign decisions. Consider using link clicks, external activity such as webinar registrations, and other engagement signals instead of opens as more accurate indicators of interest.
  • Explore more direct ways to understand the sentiment of an email message. For example, including a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down” action within an email is a great way to gauge a prospect’s interest in your campaign. Focus on outcomes over impressions.
  • Watch for changes in engagement metrics when the new Apple features deploy. Noting the difference between engagement data now and in the future can give you a feel for how the changes affect you based on the way you use Pardot. For example: Monitoring click-through rates before and after the MPP launch can give you an idea of how reliable email opens are as an engagement metric for your audience. Pardot’s Advanced Email Analytics add-on feature can break down engagement by email client, so you can study Apple users separately.

Understanding the Big Picture

As regulations and technology changes continue to raise the bar on privacy, marketing will have to change. All marketing automation software, including Pardot, will be forced to use fewer individualized metrics and shift to using aggregate data, external activity, and more direct consumer interactions. Pardot is ready for this shift.

In the coming months, you’ll start to see new features appearing on our roadmap that position Pardot to lead the way in engaging audiences in a privacy-friendly manner. Stay up to date on release notes for Winter ’22 and subsequent releases. Our teams are planning functionality that will help you pull in activity data from external sources to leverage in automations and in Engagement Studio. All of these changes will help you stay effective in the short term and position you ahead of the changes yet to come.

Learn how the June 2021 Salesforce Marketing Cloud release — which includes two Pardot enhancements — can help you get more from your data.

This blog post is part of our security, privacy, and technology series.