It seems that it’s not that long since we were discussing iOS 14 updates. Since then, Apple launched iOS 14.5. However, we’re here to discuss iOS 15 because it comes with changes that may pose hurdles for eCommerce and in fact all online businesses.
Specifically, it will affect email marketing. While the iOS 14.5 update focused on limiting third party cookies, iOS 15 is focused on anonymising end-user data. So what are these updates and what does it mean for your email marketing strategy?
With the iOS 15, Apple launched the Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). This feature allows people that use Apple devices to manage privacy control within the mail app. This particular feature will limit what marketers do with the consumer email data. The following are the major features that will affect marketers when MPP is enabled in an Apple device.
- It will prevent email trackers (e.g. Mailchimp, Klaviyo, Active Campaign) from knowing when an email is opened. This will affect your open rates data. It won’t impact open rates – you just won’t be able to track it as effectively anymore!
- It can mask consumers’ IP addresses. Meaning, it can reroute IP Addresses to a general location so location and online activity can’t be tracked. This will compromise the basic data user collection specifically the IP identifiers that track and match emails .
- It has the Hide My Email feature. The new update has a feature that can create random and unique email addresses that can hide a user’s true email address. When used, the real email address will not be registered when completing an event through email (i.e, purchasing a product). However, they will still receive emails from marketers in their inbox using their fake email addresses.
The MPP on the iOs 15 update will directly affect these four key areas in data gathering and reporting:
Open Optimisation. The data gathered about open rates will be compromised. This means marketers will not have reliable data when testing new subject lines. It may also affect your automation or sequences if you use open rates as a trigger to determine the next action in the sequence. If you use lead scoring based on open rates, this will also need to be adjusted.
Time Optimisation. The data collected on the time emails are opened will also be unreliable since online and location tracking will be disabled.
Engagement Targeting/Segmentation. If you are retargeting your email through segmentation based on open activity, it will not be as effective as before. Click engagements need to be redefined as emails delivered instead of emails opened which is less useful.
Purchase Data Attribution. If many Apple users allow the Hide My Email feature, the email addresses that will be gathered will be fake. It will create an inconsistency within the record of the customers.
So, Is Email Marketing Dead?
With the iOs 15 updates and changes, will email marketing still be a great, arguably the most effective, digital marketing strategy? The good news is, yes it is. There are ways to get around these changes by adjusting the way data is collected.
Use segments. Instead of segmenting your audiences on open rates, build an engaged subscriber segment instead. Try a combination of email engagement (clicks), sign-ups, on-site behaviour and purchase. You can also see non-open rate data such as “Has Received Email Within X Days.” Of course, if you are an eCommerce store, you should also have segments based on purchase frequency, last purchase and total revenue. You might also want to consider increasing the use of coupons or discount codes in emails.
You can also try SMS (text) marketing strategy. SMS is a great example of a marketing strategy that doesn’t require open rates. It only provides data such as replies and clicks but it’s still an effective strategy.
Consider other digital channels. This might be time to test other channels such as Facebook, Google Ads or LinkedIn Ads. Make more use of Messenger and Chatbots for promotions and customer engagement.
If you focus your data gathering on click rates, you can get more specific data compared to open rates. Marketers will be able to track signal engagements, like add to cart and browse buttons. These events don’t require pixels in order to track. You will need to be more creative with your emails and use images and links to encourage readers to click through.
And finally, since your marketing will be focused on clicks more than open rates, it is important to optimise your clickable assets. Make sure you have good images, email templates, working buttons, content and links all throughout your site and emails. You need to be careful though because too many images or links can affect delivery. It might be better to send more regular emails rather than just a super long email with a lot of links or images.
Now is also the time to clean up your list. Be mindful of lead quality, sender reputation and list hygiene. Maybe it’s time to start adding a phone number field to your opt-in forms?
5 Things To Do Before iOS 15 is Released
- Audit Your Email Marketing Process – work out what you need to change
- Check your Email Automations – revise any that rely on open rates
- Clean up your list – to improve your email reputation and maximise deliverability
- Review your reporting and KPIs – you may need to adjust these if open rates is a key measure of success – which it shouldn’t be since it’s really just a vanity metric!
- Think about more creative ways to get people to interact with your emails
At the end of the day, the iOs 15 updates are just another obstacle that marketers need to overcome and we are all used to dealing with the ever-changing world of digital marketing.
If you have been doing your email marketing and have no idea how to cope with these updates or if you’d like us to do a review for you to help work out the best strategy for your business, contact us! We can discuss your next steps to optimise your new email marketing strategies.
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