Hide My Email: What does it mean for marketers?

What is Hide My Email, and how does it impact your customer marketing
strategy?

Amanda Groth, 

27 April 2022



If you read our blog on Apple’s Privacy Policy changes, you’ll be aware of their Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) and what it means for marketers. Taking us one step closer towards the death of the third-party cookie, MPP has become a trending topic for marketeers as it’s forcing brands to rethink their data marketing strategy. However, amongst Apple’s September 2021 privacy updates was another new feature, Hide My Email. It’s possible it got swept up in the hysteria over MPP, but marketers don’t really seem to be talking about it. Should they be?

What is Hide My Email?

Hide My Email does exactly what it says. As part of Apple’s wider initiative to give consumers greater control over their data, Hide My Email allows users to sign up and log in to digital services using a unique and random email address generated by Apple. Customers can therefore receive the marketing communications they want whilst keeping their personal email address private.

How does it work in practice?

There are two ways people can use the Hide My Email feature:

  1. Sign in with Apple: Apple’s version of single sign on (SSO) gives you the option to use a random email when signing up to any site which supports SSO.
  2. iCloud+ Subscription: If you have the latest OS update and an iCloud+ subscription, you can select the ‘Hide My Email’ option when signing up to receive communications.

So, what does this really mean?

To clarify, customers using Hide My Email are still receiving your emails. Emails sent to the random email address are automatically forwarded to the recipient’s real inbox. However, there are some important points to consider that can make things a bit tricky.

Customers have the option to delete or deactivate the fake email address for the same outcome as hitting ‘unsubscribe’. For senders, this results in a hard bounce. Bounce rates above 2% harm your sender reputation, meaning your future email is more likely to end up in the consumer’s junk folder, affecting your email deliverability, and ultimately, your engagement rates.

Also, as a different email can be generated at each sign-up point, it becomes more difficult to map a customer’s journey to obtain an accurate single customer view (SCV). For example, you may not be able to tie email behaviour to purchases if different email addresses have been used. The less accurate your SCV, the less effective your segmentation and personalisation may become.

Should you be worried?

The good news for businesses is that, so far, the adoption rates of Hide My Email appear to be very low.

From a utilisation perspective, users must have a paid subscription to a premium iCloud+ account (which is yet to see major uptake amongst their users), or alternatively use the SSO approach, which is still not supported by all apps and websites.

Further, as users still receive communications when using Hide My Email, the benefit of the feature is not always clear to the less tech-savvy consumer. If a customer is willing to receive emails from a brand, then it’s likely they trust the brand enough to share their personal email address. If they don’t want to engage with your brand, they would likely hit the unsubscribe button anyway.

What can you do?

Although the implications of Hide My Email are proving to be less significant than MPP, it’s important to be mindful of its potential impact on your customer engagement. Pay attention to both your campaign bounce rates and icloud.com accounts. An upward trend in either could indicate increased adoption of Hide My Email and could be a sign of poor customer experience or general lack of confidence in your brand amongst consumers.

It all boils down to trust…

Promoted together with MPP, Apple’s Hide My Email feature signifies the ever-tightening privacy landscape and emphasises the need to build customer relationships based on trust. You can encourage consumers to share their personal address with you by improving your sign-up experience. For example, you can surface your preference centre to allow the customer to feel in control and reassuring them that you are not using their information against their consent. You can demonstrate further empathy by making your privacy policy easily accessible and creating a hassle-free unsubscribe process.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, customers didn’t need Apple’s Hide My Email feature to disengage with brands. The unsubscribe button has long been the way out of receiving irrelevant, repetitious, or unwanted communications. Whether the customer wishes to hide their email or not, successful engagement relies on effective segmentation and personalisation informed by real-time insight from all of your first-party data sources. If you embrace a transparent, data-driven approach to deliver compelling and relevant email communications, your customer will want to keep engaging with you.

If you read our blog on Apple’s Privacy Policy changes, you’ll be aware of their Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) and what it means for marketers. Taking us one step closer towards the death of the third-party cookie, MPP has become a trending topic for marketeers as it’s forcing brands to rethink their data marketing strategy. However, amongst Apple’s September 2021 privacy updates was another new feature, Hide My Email. It’s possible it got swept up in the hysteria over MPP, but marketers don’t really seem to be talking about it. Should they be?

Get in touch to learn how you can leverage your first-party data for more successful customer engagement.

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