How to Manage Email Engagement in Today’s World of Privacy Protection

As a nonprofit professional, you probably rely quite a bit on email marketing to engage with donors, prospective donors, volunteers, and other constituents. And, while you might have typically relied on the number of email opens and open rates to help measure email engagement, those days are behind us.

In late September, Apple released iOS 15, which includes a privacy feature called Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). While that’s great for Apple users, it introduces some challenges for your email engagement and reporting.

How MPP will affect your email engagement
MPP automatically opens and downloads the email content (including images and pixels) sent to Apple Mail users through proxy servers. This prevents email senders from seeing if/when those recipients open emails in Apple Mail because it always looks as if those emails have been opened. It also hides recipients’ location data.

This means you can no longer use opens and open rates to accurately measure email engagement for Apple Mail users (which are probably a considerable chunk of your audience). Plus, it means that the data (such as location data) that you might be getting from using pixels in your emails will no longer be accurate.

How your nonprofit can manage and track email engagement
So, how can your nonprofit manage and track email engagement after these changes? The key is to look to other data (such as conversions of those who received an email and then took action) to determine engagement levels of your supporters. This can help you not only measure overall email engagement, but also segment your audience based on how much (or how little) they interact with your emails and your website.

Using Engagement Factors in Blackbaud Luminate
Email marketing tools have various ways of helping you measure and use engagement data to target your audience. For instance, Blackbaud Luminate offers Engagement Factors functionality, which includes 10 different fields that you can update for each constituent. This allows you to store calculations for each type of involvement (or combinations of involvement) that you would like to measure for individuals.

For example, you could give constituents “1” point for clicking through on an email, “4” points for registering for an event, and “5” points for making a donation.  Then, you could use the cumulative points for each constituent to determine how engaged they are, and then set up a different engagement journey depending on their level of engagement.

I recommend tracking “email click-through” at a minimum. You can give it a weight of “1” so that that constituents’ click-through count will go up by one point each time they click through on an email.

There are a variety of different email and web site Engagement Factors that you can set up. At Cathexis Partners, we recommend using all 10 of the available fields. How you use them depends on your strategic goals.  

If you have questions or would like to talk about how to measure and manage email engagement data, contact Cathexis Partners

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