Your ActiveCampaign open rates are about to go up, but it’s nothing to celebrate. Instead, it’s time to start prioritizing other email metrics.

ActiveCampaign, the ESP that powers BlueLena’s email and marketing automations, announced a change on August 10 in the way it calculates open rates in regards to Apple iOS 15’s Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) feature. 

We wrote about MPP back in September. In short, for users of iOS15 and later, Apple’s default mail client encourages users to enable MPP, which supposedly increases privacy for users by masking open rates and reporting 100% opens to email service providers.

At the time, ActiveCampaign defied the industry by becoming one of the only email service providers to filter out MPP-enabled inboxes from open rate calculations. That meant that, unlike other ESPs, ActiveCampaign’s open rates were not inflated and were more accurate.

However, in an update yesterday to its help article on the topic, ActiveCampaign said the following: “After listening to customer feedback and evaluating market responses to this, as of August 9, 2022, we are introducing a change to include MPP Opens in our normal open reporting.”

What it means: your open rates are going to go up, and the more readers you have with Apple iOS15 and MPP-enabled, the more it will go up. It’s unlikely to be an accurate representation of your actual open rate.

Is this bad? Not exactly. We liked ActiveCampaign’s conservative approach because it gave you a more accurate sense of reader behavior. But in the long term, open rates will still be a suitable metric to determine subject line success and deliverability. Just don’t try to compare open rates from before August 9 to after August 9.

Another positive: it brings ActiveCampaign in line with the rest of the industry. While I don’t think the entire industry inflating open rates is anything positive, the uniformity allows for benchmarking across platforms.

Fortunately, ActiveCampaign isn’t abandoning the idea that you should have more accurate open rates. The announcement adds: “In the coming days, we will release an update to our Open Reporting that will include the ability to filter your Open Reports to include or exclude MPP opens as you see fit.” We look forward to seeing how that works.

Finally, our recommendation — as it has been even before MPP — is to deprioritize open rates. Their primary use is for judging subject line success. More important metrics we recommend you follow are tied to the health of your list and the sustainability of your business. They include:

  • The absolute number, and growth rate, of engaged users on your list. Opens from MPP-enabled inboxes are still removed from engaged user counts.
  • Clicks, replies, forwards and other high quality indicators of engagement
  • Traffic from your newsletters
  • Conversions from your marketing

Reach out to if you need help surfacing these metrics so you can track them over time.