What’s the main iOS 15 update impact on email marketing?
The iOS 15 update in 2021 is changing email marketing forever. When users update their iOS 15 technology, they’re given an option to turn off email tracking, and that means it’s going to automatically show an email as opened in email marketing software reporting.
In the past, the email open rate was one of the key metrics of success in email marketing. A high open rate indicated that your subject line was performing well in encouraging your readers to engage with your email. It meant it was enticing, potentially sent on the right day of the week, the right time of the day, and meeting the needs and anticipation of your subscribers. On the other hand, a low open rate indicates the exact opposite and at worst, your audience may not have seen any of your content at all.
The iOS 15 updates’s most relative update to email is concerned with the free Mail Privacy Protection feature – where Apple Mail will give users the ability to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.
Apple said: “The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”
Privacy and Personalisation
Yes, the majority of people want control over their data and information security. Yes, this update provides a level of control, however in my opinion, it’s sent us backwards. Email marketing is one of the most personalised and sophisticated uses of data to build on profiles based on need and purpose. Can we really offer personalisation and privacy control at the same time?
Customers still want personalised experiences. They still want truly targeted messaging.
This update ultimately puts the marketer at the centre of creating valuable content to encourage the reader to engage with purpose.
It’s not just a subject line, it’s about customer behaviour
What’s seemingly overlooked in all of this noise around the update, is that subject lines are still the primary way audiences cull their inboxes. Regardless of whether the customer clicks to open a promotional email, the decision to keep that communication in their inbox for consideration comes from the curiosity, value and expectation of the subject line.
To use the open rate as your core metric for email marketing is entirely flawed, and marketers need to dig a little deeper and be brave enough to see how their content is performing. The subject line maximises a reader’s intent, however, the value of the communication lies in the actions performed – and we’re all going to be chasing the elusive click-for-conversion more than ever.
Apple Mail isn’t the only email provider
Although Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices have over 35% of the global email provider market share, Google, Outlook, and other email providers aren’t yet following suit with their privacy updates. For the time being, this means you might still access open rates and IP data tracking results as a measurement of your performance.
Re-assess your email marketing performance goals and metrics
With a large proportion of email marketing open rates affected, it’s a good idea to reassess your goals and metrics for performance. Reducing these goals in alignment with the proportion of your database that are using the Apple Mail platform is a good place to start. This way you can assess the impact as other service providers may alter their privacy controls in due course.
Something to consider in review is your automated processes and triggers that are reliant on open-actions. This might include invitations for events, registrations for webinars and conferences, or subscription-renewal notices.
There are many other tracking measurements you should have by your side that provide valuable insights into your content and user-intent.
- Click through rates from your shared content, blogs, podcasts, links, offers, downloads etc will tell you how engaging and useful your content is. No clicks? Sounds like your content was being skimmed and not enough of a hook to encourage your reader to do something about it.
- Website traffic spikes on days you send your email campaigns are a good indicator that your email generated an action. Most ‘conversions’ for a business happen on a website, such as downloading a piece of content, completing a purchase or watching a video. Keep an eye on your website content to see what content drives the click, and what happens once the customer arrives on your site.
- Unsubscribe rates are an indicator if you’re maintaining your relationship with your audience. Customers speak with their feet, so if you see an unusual spike in unsubscribe activity, it would be worthwhile reviewing your content, day of week and time of the day you send to identify an insight or trend. It may be as simple as frequency is too often, or the customer has met a natural churn in their relationship with you.
It’s not the end of the world, however, the iOS 15 update means marketers have to try a little bit harder to impress the reader with useful and relevant content that encourages action.
Our team of content writers and creative design team are ready to make your email communication plans as effective as possible.