Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection: What does it mean for Oracle Eloqua email marketers & what to do now.

How recent Mail Privacy changes are impacting the way Oracle Eloqua users understand engagement and Digital Body Language

Originally posted May 2022

We’ve had a recent increase in enquiries as the changes made by Oracle in the February 2022 Release 22A of Oracle Eloqua have flowed through to campaign results, and the impact of what they could now see in Insight as a new metric “Auto-Open”.

It was clear from those enquiries that clients were unclear about the impact of Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection. 

The primary questions related to apparent decreases in their email open rates when compared to their historical performance. Perfectly valid questions from a marketer focussed on their campaign performance, or is it?

If you perceive that you engagement in your campaigns has recently diminished, we would recommend reviewing the numerous Insight reports. You will then be in a much better position to understand not just your open rates, but also click-throughs and form conversions etc.

If senior, non-marketing executives, are only focused on the email open rates, it’s time they started looking at engagement more holistically. It’s time to adjust their focus and look more towards the metrics that matter.

Long before Apple’s changes, we’ve encouraged clients to focus their attention on more meaningful campaign metrics like unique clickthrough rates, form submissions and website and/or Eloqua landing page visits to get a more comprehensive understanding of Digital Body Language.

Each of these metrics is a much better indicator of engagement. Email opens have always been at best, a soft indicator and at worst, a vanity metric.

Good to know

Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection enables users to obscure whether or not their emails have been opened, as well as their IP address and location. It effectively automatically opens all emails, and in the absence of any further information, makes it impossible to determine whether the email was actually opened.

Mail Privacy Protection was offered as an option to all Apple Mail users upgrading to iOS 15. Remember, it’s an option for Apple Mail users, they have to opt-in. If they don’t opt-in, their email opens will be recorded as they were prior to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection.

To mitigate the impacts of these changes for Oracle Eloqua customers, Oracle has classified any identifiable automatically opened emails as Auto Opens, and excluded them from standard Open metrics and actions. 

What you need to know about Apple’s Privacy Protection (APP), Email Opens & Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation.

Q: Are Auto-Opens only applicable to Apple Mail?

A: No, an Auto-Open is applicable to any email open that is attributed to scanning tools, including Apple Mail.


Q: How does Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection impact my existing Insight reports and dashboards?

A: Oracle Eloqua automatically removes Auto-Opens behind the scenes from Open rates. Users who opt to create or customise reports can pull in the new metric (Auto-Open) if they are working with the Email Open subject area. Keep in mind that existing open metrics will have Auto-Opens removed, the Auto-Open metric itself should not be used to measure email performance, but rather to understand the changes occurring to existing open rates due to the Apple mail privacy changes. The Auto-Open metric will not be natively added as a separate metric column in Insight dashboards or reports. Users who opt to create or customise reports can pull in the new metric (Auto-Open) if they are working with the Email Open subject area. Keep in mind that existing open metrics will have Auto-Opens removed, the Auto-Open metric itself should not be used to measure email performance, but rather to understand the changes occurring to existing open rates due to the Apple mail privacy changes.


Q: Does Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection affect emails opened in other email applications?

A: No. 


Q: Can I view “Auto-Opens” in Eloqua?

A: Yes you can. Auto-Open is a metric you can access in Insight and add to Email related reports. At this stage, Auto-Open is not built into the standard, out-of-the-box Insight Email reports.


Q: Will Auto-Open be available as a separate Activity Type when exporting through the Eloqua Bulk API?

A: Auto-Opens will not be returned via Bulk API.


Q: Will there be an Auto-Open filter in the Eloqua Segment builder, or just in Insight?

A: Oracle is automatically segregating auto-opens/clickthroughs. Segments built on an open or clickthrough will not include those auto-open/clickthroughs.


Q: Will Auto-Opens apply retroactively? 

A: Auto-Opens will only be captured after the February 2022 Eloqua 22A release. 

How did we get here? Some background information for you about Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

  • 7 June 2021

    Apple announces Mail Privacy Protection

    “Mail Privacy Protection helps protect your privacy by preventing email senders from learning information about your Mail activity. When you turn it on, it hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. It also prevents senders from seeing if you’ve opened the email they sent you..”

    SOURCE: Apple Inc.

  • 12 August 2021

    14 ways email marketers should adapt to Apple's Mail Privacy Protection

    “To serve subscribers well and maintain email marketing performance, marketers will need to adjust email marketing activities. Before we discuss those adaptations, let’s talk about exactly what changes Apple is making, keeping in mind that the following descriptions and our recommendations are based on our current knowledge and understanding and may change based on what Apple ultimately releases.”

    SOURCE: Chad S. White | Head of Strategic Research | Oracle

A summary analysis of the impact and changes to Oracle Eloqua due to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection policy

Apple released their new Apple Mail Privacy Protection policy in mid-September 2021. The change affects various email marketing activities.

In an effort to mitigate the impacts of this change for Oracle Eloqua customers, Oracle has provided solutions to the potential impacts within the document, Impacts of Apple Mail Privacy Changes on Oracle Eloqua.

What Is Mail Privacy Protection?

Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) is a new privacy protection for the Apple Mail app in Apple’s newest operating systems that provides recipients with the choice not to share their email activity with senders.

These changes impact the following operating systems: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, WatchOS 8, and macOS Monterey.

  • 24 September 2021

    Apple's "Hide My Email" elevates risks of temporary email addresses in email marketing

    “The impact of temporary email addresses is now more pressing because of newly released updates to Hide My Email, a privacy feature Apple is promoting alongside Mail Privacy Protection

    Hide My Email allows users to easily input a unique, randomly generated icloud.com email address into the email field of any form—be it a checkout form, promotional email signup form, or lead-gen form. That email address can only be used for the specific app or website for which the user created it. Any email sent to that address is redirected to the email account of the user’s choosing.”

    SOURCE: Chad S. White | Head of Strategic Research | Oracle

  • Mid February 2022

    Oracle Eloqua Announces new Insight metric "Auto Open"

    “The Email Open subject area now has a new metric: Auto Open. Auto Opens capture emails detected as being opened by scanning or privacy tools. Auto Opens are not included in Total Opens or any associated open rates.”*

    This new Insight metric meant that Eloqua users now had an idea about the size of Apple’s “auto-open” relating to their Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection. The key takeaway for Eloqua clients was the clarity around how Eloqua Insight, Segment Filters and Campaign Canvas elements would treat an “auto-open”. 

    *SOURCE: New Feature Summary | Oracle Eloqua Marketing Automation Cloud

Oracle CX Marketing Agency Services

The team at Marketing Cube has been supporting Oracle CX Marketing customers since 2007. We’ve been using Eloqua ourselves for that period and provided agency services as well as traditional application support for close to 100 customers across a wide range of industries & geographies.

If you’ve been using Oracle CX Marketing for some time and are looking for agency services e.g. strategic services, end-user coaching/training, campaign support and more, contact us today to talk further about how we can help you.

What to do now

At the end of the day, Eloqua ensures you’re working with real email opens. When you use Segment filters to return all Contacts who have opened a specific email or multiple emails, auto-opens are not included.

It’s safest to think of an “auto-open” as a “did not open”. It’s really that simple. 

In early 2022 Oracle advised they are working on being able to update a person’s contact as a “real” open if they are at first flagged as an auto-open but later click on a link in an email they were previously flagged as being an “auto-open”. The logic is that if they’ve clicked on a link in the email, they clearly opened the email.

Our suggestion is to drive forward as you’ve always done, delivering extraordinary experiences for your audiences safe in the knowledge that Oracle Eloqua has you back and is managing the data for you and delivering you the best possible insight into the engagement of your various audiences.

How does the Campaign Canvas manage Auto-Opens?

In this example, 57 segment members will enter the campaign, be sent email 001 and then hit the "Opened Email?" (FIGURE A) canvas element step. An evaluation period has been set for 1 week. Only real opens will progress to the "Clicked Email?" (FIGURE B) canvas element step. At the end of the 1 week evaluation period, all auto-opens will progress to the 4-day WAIT element.
In this example, 57 segment members will enter the campaign, be sent email 001 and then hit the “Opened Email?” (FIGURE A) canvas element step. An evaluation period has been set for 1 week. Only real opens will progress to the “Clicked Email?” (FIGURE B) canvas element step. At the end of the 1 week evaluation period, all auto-opens will progress to the 4-day WAIT element.

How do Eloqua Segments manage Auto-Opens?

The Segment filters shown above reference two of the emails on the multi-step campaign canvas above. The result of these two filters EXCLUDES auto-opens. Beginning with Eloqua Release 22B (May 2022) auto-clicks will be treated the same way as auto-opens are treated today. Auto-clicks will also be excluded. The end result is that you can have confidence that the 4 contacts identified in this Segment really did open the email and really did click on a link in the email.
The Segment filters shown above reference two of the emails on the multi-step campaign canvas above. The result of these two filters EXCLUDES auto-opens. Beginning with Eloqua Release 22B (May 2022) auto-clicks will be treated the same way as auto-opens are treated today. Auto-clicks will also be excluded. The end result is that you can have confidence that the 4 contacts identified in this Segment really did open the email and really did click on a link in the email.

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