Like many other marketers, Apple’s recent announcement immediately got us thinking about how the changes to iOS 15 impact email marketing for our clients and our next steps.
According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering, “This year’s updates include innovative features that give users deeper insights and more granular control than ever before.”
One of the new iOS 15 features is the Mail Privacy Protection (MPP), an opt-in feature that stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. 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.
MPP affects any email opened from the Apple Mail app on any device — no matter the email service used — but it doesn’t affect other email apps used on Apple devices like the Gmail app on an iPhone.
How Does the Mail Privacy Feature in iOS 15 Impact Email Marketing?
Email marketers have historically relied on open rates to measure the success of an email campaign. A high open rate suggests your subject line was compelling, or you sent it at the optimal time of day. With the new iOS 15 feature, if a user chooses to “Protect Mail activity,” Apple will automatically load images and CSS, so it looks like the email has been opened — effectively inflating email rates.
Yes, Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices make up over 35% of the email provider market share globally. But while Apple’s announcement is huge, this is not the first privacy feature that marketers have faced and had to navigate. Remember the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which gives people the right to remove their personal data, therefore anonymizing it to marketers? Or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)? And, of course, Google’s announcement to stop supporting third-party cookies?
Email is still an effective and essential marketing strategy, especially if you keep these five tips in mind when creating a successful email marketing campaign. Perhaps we just need to adjust how we measure success.
Four Tips to Navigate the iOS 15 Email Marketing Change
Our team at Arlington Strategy took a deep dive into the email marketing campaigns of all our clients and compiled our best tips for addressing how the changes to iOS 15 impact email marketing. Below we share our top four tips to have your team embracing the iOS 15 impact on email marketing:
- Focus on Clicks: Whether a reader is hitting the “Buy Now” button to grab the newest leggings or pressing play on a video of your team at work — the action of clicking shows the reader is highly engaged in your content. Click-through rate (CTR) is a great metric to benchmark and measure.
- Know Your Audience: Take a step back and assess your audience. Are they highly price sensitive and likely to click on a special offer email? Or are they going to pass on that deal and instead view a funny video of your office dog? Finding out who they are will help you develop more engaging and successful email marketing campaigns.
- Value: Deliver high-quality, value-added content to your audience. Give them what they want, and they will reward you with clicks and, above all, brand loyalty.
- Define Your Campaign Goals: Unless you are in direct sales, your email campaigns are probably not explicitly designed for high volume clicks. In fact, not all campaign goals will be quantifiable — some are more aligned with customer retention, community building, and brand awareness. So, while you may not have the clicks, your email communications keep your brand top of mind. Don’t make the mistake of throwing out an email campaign because it did not have a “high” CTR. If that is not your audience and campaign goal, you need to adjust your expectations. The changes to iOS 15 impact email marketing objectives for all companies but can be an opportunity to implement measurement tactics more aligned with the campaign’s goals.
Where Do We Go Next with Email Marketing?
Will the changes to iOS 15 impact email marketing for your company? If you are a heavy user of email marketing, you will most certainly be affected by these changes. This will also not be the last privacy hurdle companies will need to navigate. Consumers are demanding more control over their information, and technology companies are simply responding to the needs of their consumers with increased privacy protections.
Change is scary. But don’t be afraid of embracing it! Changes to the marketing landscape, and especially to iOS 15, can be an opportunity to demonstrate your creativity and reinvigorate stale campaigns. We need to be nimble and innovative to grow and adapt to the changing landscape around us.