The last few years have seen a crackdown on tracking activity across platforms, mostly with Apple leading the charge (eg their private relay release as well as IP blocking and email open rate blocking).
We’ve seen services like Hey focus on this for years, and block any tracking pixels.
To date, email open tracking has been the focus.
This is all expanding though, with Apple’s upcoming iOS17 release stripping utm parameters from emails, so that all tracking is now effectively removed (ie can’t even track link clicks).
Others, including Proton have also implemented this (it went live with Proton in July).
Expect this to be the norm in the coming years – and any insight you gathered from email open rates and link clicks will quickly head towards zero.
Of course, marketers will be working on other methods of tracking (eg coupon codes only included in emails, sending to specific page URLs, etc) so it’ll be a continual game of privacy whack-a-mole.
But the golden years of email marketing tracking are definitely in the rear view mirror.