Email Marketing in Flux: The Biggest Changes Impacting the Channel

September 14, 2022 | 3 minute read
Chad S. White
Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency
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The email marketing channel has evolved considerably over the past decade, but the pace of change has accelerated going into 2022. The three biggest changes rocking the email marketing channel right now are:

  1. Pandemic-fueled consumer behavior changes
  2. Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection re-defining what an active subscriber is
  3. The sunsetting of third-party cookies driving the need to build and understand first-party audiences

Let’s look at each of those…

1. Pandemic-driven consumer changes

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted consumer behaviors in a few notable ways. First, it changed consumers’ buying habits and priorities, spurring them to buy more online and to try low-touch shopping options, such as curbside pickup and buy online pickup in store (BOPIS). 

Second, it caused supply chain shortages globally that are still being worked out. These shortages drove consumers to switch product brands and retail outlets at record levels, shaking up the brand loyalty landscape.

Third, a byproduct of the product shortages, the pandemic sparked the worst spike in inflation in more than a generation. This spike has sapped consumers’ buying power and started to put more focus back on pricing.

2. Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection

MPP has caused a wide range of problems for email marketers, but the most challenging one has been Apple obscuring opens by creating a flood of auto-generated opens. This is a major issue because opens have traditionally been key to how marketers qualify subscribers as active and therefore safe to mail.

As a result, marketers have been put in the uncomfortable position of either losing subscribers because they can’t qualify them or mailing subscribers who will likely cause deliverability problems for their brand. That has brands looking for alternative approaches.

Read our most comprehensive advice on MPP by getting our Definitive Guide to Adapting to Mail Privacy Protection via a free, no-form download.

3. Sunsetting of third-party cookies

The ongoing phaseout of third-party cookies will deprive marketers a key consumer identifier that they use across touchpoints. That will put even more focus on the No. 1 consumer identifier: email addresses.

In addition to needing to capture more email addresses, brands are also finding that they need more zero- and first-party data as third-party cookies wane. Again, email marketing can help, along with loyalty programs. Through preference centers, progressive profiling, and engagement data, both permission-based channels are great sources of actionable zero- and first-party data.

Want ideas for growing your email list? Get our Audience Acquisition Source checklist via a free, no-form download.

Ready for solutions?

Email marketing is more powerful than ever, but the strategies and tactics needed to succeed are changing. In the on-demand webinar below, we discuss all three of those changes in more detail and recommend how to respond, including the 3 key priorities that our 3 mega-trends are driving for marketers.

We hope you enjoyed “Email Marketing in Flux: The Biggest Changes Impacting the Channel.” Some of our other on-demand webinars include:


Need help adapting to these changes? Oracle Digital Experience Agency has hundreds of marketing and communication experts ready to help Oracle customers create stronger connections with their customers and employees, even if they’re not using an Oracle platform as the foundation of that experience. Our award-winning specialists can handle everything from creative and strategy to content planning and project management. For example, our full-service email marketing clients generate 24% higher open rates, 30% higher click rates, and 9% lower unsubscribe rates than Oracle Responsys customers who aren’t.

For help overcoming your challenges or seizing your opportunities, talk to your Oracle account manager, visit us online, or email us at

Want to better understand your email marketing risks and opportunities, take advantage of our free Email Marketing Assessment. Our experts will check your deliverability, review your email creative, audit your signup process, do a partial competitive analysis, and more. If interested in this free assessment, reach out to us at

Chad S. White

Head of Research, Oracle Digital Experience Agency

Chad S. White is the Head of Research at Oracle Digital Experience Agency and the author of four editions of Email Marketing Rules and nearly 4,000 posts about digital and email marketing. A former journalist, he’s been featured in more than 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Advertising Age. Chad was named the ANA's 2018 Email Marketer Thought Leader of the Year. Follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Mastodon.

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