What the iOS 15 update will mean for email marketing

Worried about the Mail Privacy Protection update? It has been written about as the “death of emails”, but that is not the case at all. We call it a new beginning – a beginning of you being forced to segment, be relevant, and personal in your emails to increase the metrics you will be able to continue to measure. Curious to see how you can work with this? Keep reading!

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What is this iOS 15 update about?

On June 7, 2021, Apple announced that users will get the option to turn off email tracking and hide IP addresses to restrict senders from measuring email activity on Apple devices. This comes along with the upcoming iOS 15 update that will go live in late 2021.

Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from learning whether an email has been opened, and hides IP addresses so senders can’t learn a user’s location or use it to build a profile on them” – Apple

This might sound scary since email marketing is an important channel to build relations, retain active customers and drive conversion in a cost-efficient way. But instead of seeing this as a big and heavy bump in the road – let´s find new ways of working with email marketing! Smarter ways to work with it, even. But before we get into that, these are the two components from Apple’s iOS 15 update that will affect email marketing, that we will focus on in this text:

  • The ability to turn off open tracking
  • The ability to block your IP address
Now, what does the iOS 15 update mean?

As we already know, Apple has limited third-party cookies in an earlier update. With this update and the option for further anonymizing, we can clearly see that increased privacy for the end consumer continuously grows stronger. And this update is not only about how the user acts in browsers but also what they choose to share in Apple’s email client.

The way to measure opens is by downloading an image with a tracking pixel as you open an email. This will no longer be a safe way of measuring opens since Apple now preloads images before it’s even opened. And if we add the fact that recipients will get the choice to turn off tracking, we do know that you can no longer trust the open rate events and that you will need to re-think how you define your “active customers” in the future.

Let’s focus on the future

So, you are used to measuring opens to find your active customers who have an interest in your brand. But what does an open actually say? Just that someone opened an email – simple as that. Luckily, there are other ways of measuring activity that says more about what the customer is interested in, such as clicks, activity on-site, and of course – purchase behavior. It is time to take the opportunity to focus on how your content performs rather than how your subject line and pre-header perform!

Here are three examples of ways you can work from now on:

Measure clicks or purchases

Switch from only measuring subject lines in A/B tests to measuring clicks or actual purchases. And remember that A/B testing for subject lines might still work since Android users also open emails. Get started with control groups for all your send-outs to learn about what works and focus on personalization to drive conversion.

This is where product recommendations might help you to further drive clicks and conversion. Product recommendations in Voyado will take clicks in emails, clicks on site, abandoned carts, and historical purchase behavior into consideration when recommending products. You see, no opens are needed here!

Smarter segmenting

A classic way of building active customer segments is to segment on “Opened email the last x months”, “Made a purchase the last x months”, “Reachable by email”.  But opened email can easily be exchanged with “Clicked a link in the email the last x months” or “Received an email the last x months” – if email activity is the main criteria to measure. And click says more about interest than opens!

This is also a great time to put some effort into your deliverability work – since you cannot measure opens, let’s at least make sure that you reach the end-consumers inbox.

Cross channel marketing

One channel that is known for driving fast decisions leading to great conversion is text messages, and you will never see this kind of restriction for that channel. And as of now, there is no way of measuring opens for text messages either. But working with this channel in a smart way might get you far!

And speaking of getting far – you have the perfect opportunity to use first-party data in cross-channel marketing, working with segmented and synchronized owned data for ads in Google and Facebook channels. Perfect for cross-selling, up-sell, bid optimizing, and new customer acquisition.

Summary

Yes, you will notice this update when you are used to measuring the KPI of open rate in emails. But you are still able to measure more crucial numbers – the numbers that actually show you if your content leads to clicks and purchases! You will need to focus on creating engaging content, and you will only be able to do that if you know your customers. And to know them you are dependent on customer data.

With a CXP like Voyado that handles first-party data, you will get far! Because then you will be able to utilize your owned data to create engaging and personalized content. In these times, when Apple removes third-party data, and the privacy restrictions are getting stricter – you will be dependent on your first-party data.

If you want to learn more about Voyado and how you best can use your first-party data – book a demo

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