Eloqua Alert: Apple privacy update kills open rate

Jun 23, 2021

Eloqua Alert:  Apple’s email privacy announcement means you need to rethink your email strategy


What is Apple’s latest privacy announcement?

Apple have just announced that they are going to be introducing a number of new privacy features and for Eloqua users this means trouble!

Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection for their Mail app on iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey devices. It’s set to launch this year sometime between September and November. According to Apple, “Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. [It prevents] senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

This fall, senders will lose open, IP and location tracking for all Apple Mail users – regardless of the email service provider the app is connected to, including enterprise email.


For those of you that want to get right into it and see real results from testing please go ahead and watch the video

Eloqua Apple privacy announcement

Is this really going to happen? – Yes

The Mail app now has Mail Privacy Protection that stops sender from using tracking pixels that collect information as a user – which you currently use with Eloqua. The new feature will prevent email sent from Eloqua transmitting things like when a contact opens an Eloqua email and it masks their IP address so they cannot be linked to other online activities that use IP address or determine their location.

Do I have your attention yet? If I don’t check out what Litmus has to say about the use of Apple Mail accounts… 46% of global opens according to Litmus.

Since apple have done this, email privacy will no doubt be on the radar of many other email service providers and email clients so this means that you need to take a more effective route with Eloqua to your marketing approach.


Will users adopt this feature? – Yes

Apple already showed that users will when they gave users the option to block unique ad identifiers for cross-app tracking in iOS 14.5.  96% of users in the US have declined to let apps track them in the click of a button.

What are the implications of Apple Privacy for sending Eloqua email?

Sending email from Eloqua will mean that you will lose the ability to track contacts opening emails using Apple Mail and in all probability other providers too on both mobile and desk top.

Simon Harper released an article on his blog that goes into great detail on the changes mean for Eloqua users:

  • Tracking pixels will get fired upon email delivery, along with all other remote images (tainting opens and forwards)
  • IP addresses will be blocked
  • Location will be blocked
  • Real email addresses may be obfuscated behind an Apple proxy email address.
  • Header information will be limited
  • Client and device type will be obfuscated

This will affect all your Eloqua contacts that use Apple and probably in the future all the other email clients.  It could get even worse for you…  Email defence systems like Barracuda, Mimecast, etc might do the same.  I think it is fair to say this problem is going nowhere.


How will this affect my email marketing?

All your Eloqua email opens and when they opened will be lost moving forward.  The five major things that will change are:

Open rates cannot be used for Eloqua reporting as a measurement
This has been happening for years with email providers for years, have you changed your settings yet on outlook or do you still download images every time?

Automated programs, campaigns and functions segments that Eloqua uses open in a decision as filter will not work correctly
You will need to re-think many aspects of your Eloqua campaigns that utilize opens, namely:

  • Re-engagement campaigns
  • Automated nurture flows
  • Real-time personalization

Eloqua send to time optimization will not work
Eloqua send time optimization will not work unless it is updated to revolve around clicks, not opens, that goes for all send time optimization modules and providers.

Simple email send A/B split testing based on open rate will not work
Since you can no longer track opens and even worse, as Simon Harper eluded to, if the racking pixel fires when the email hits the user’s server then you metric will be based on Apple recipients.

Deliverability monitoring could be affected


Does this mean email marketing is dead? – No

You are just going to need to rethink your strategy a little bit.  The email industry is big, it is not going anywhere and companies that are providing services that could be affected by will already be thinking about ways to get around this.


What you need to do before the iOS 15 release.

  1. Size up the potential impact to your Eloqua campaigns by seeing just how much of your contacts use Apple devices for email
  2. Start a testing program on your templates so you can make the best use of the time you have left to monitor open rates
  3. Start tracking click-through rate over delivered and opened – it’s all about conversions isn’t it?
  4. Clean up your lead quality, list hygiene, and sender reputation
  5. Create audience segments based on device, get creative here, look at your referrer links, Apple will leave a little breadcrumb in the query string of a URL



Saying that the new apple privacy feature will kill email marketing is the same as say “email marketing is dead horse weighs the same as a whales tongue”.  It makes no sense – use the stats below to diffuse their argument.


  • Consumers willing to share data for a more personalized experience (Accenture) 83% 83%
  • Buyers expect more personalized attention from marketers (Demend Gen Report 2020) 76% 76%
  • Customers are more likely to purchase from a brand that uses personalization (Epsilon) 80% 80%
  • Marketers report that boosting personalization in email is priority (Litmus 2020 state of email) 60% 60%

If you need help on getting ready for this please don’t hesitate to get contact me.

Greg Staunton

Eloqua Feature: Eloqua form spam protection

Eloqua Feature: Eloqua form spam protection

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