Why iOS15 will have a big impact on e-mail marketing and why we’re looking forward to it

Most marketing systems we work with have received access to the iOS15 beta. The content of this article is therefore based upon the details of the new software that Apple has revealed thus far.

It hasn’t even been a year since the arrival of iOS 14 brought a shiver of unease to all working with paid advertising. As anyone with an Apple device is (likely) aware of, the 2020 update was the first of its kind to prompt users with the option to opt-out of activity tracking on their device. This addition not only made it more difficult to run target advertisements for anyone with an Apple device, but it also made it tougher to measure and report the effect of social media marketing efforts. Considering the speed bumps presented by iOS 14, the roadblocks planned in Apple’s latest update have many advertisers understandably stressed out!

iOS 15 is set to debut any day now, bringing with it a new era of data privacy. The update includes a variety of features to bolster user privacy, but the most potent of the new safeguards may well be the Mail Privacy Protection. This new feature will allow users to prevent e-mail senders from seeing when and where they open an e-mail, as well as concealing their other online activity on Apple devices.

As such, the stage is set for paid advertisers to encounter major challenges in how to effectively generate leads and attract customers.

2 important focus points for those working with e-mail marketing

Say goodbye to IP tracking
Long used to track e-mail open rates, iOS 15’s masking of users’ IP addresses will have a massive impact on the ability to measure the effectiveness of e-mail marketing campaigns.

In addition to eliminating open rate visibility, the removal of IP tracking also removes the possibility of geo-tracking. This means marketers will no longer be able to see where in the world their e-mails are being opened.

Hide and seek with customer e-mails
iOS 15 includes a feature that allows customers to sign up for an autogenerated iCloud e-mail. The autogenerated e-mail is different from the customer’s actual e-mail, but it still forwards mail to their actual inbox. This means customers can use the autogenerated e-mail to subscribe to newsletters, fill out lead ads, download whitepapers, sign up for webinars and receive access to other gated content without providing their actual e-mail. The customer can then simply delete the random e-mail after accessing the gated content, therefore cutting off any communication with marketers without having to make the effort to unsubscribe from an e-mail list.

Why iOS 15 is actually a good thing...

Users of unified CRM platforms will be rewarded
It’s difficult to measure customer data across various sources if you do not use a unified CRM platform like Hubspot. Rather than relying on a single source, unified CRM platforms can gather leads from social media channels, the company website, and other traffic sources, while also being able to execute e-mail marketing campaigns. Additionally, a unified CRM platform allows companies to see how many customers they drive to their site and other channels via e-mail marketing.

Given the new challenges set to face e-mail marketing, companies that have worked for a long time with these kinds of platforms to gather consent and data will be better suited for the update than companies that have not.

More creative e-mails and better interaction with customers
With iOS 15 making it almost effortless for users to avoid marketing e-mails, the success of your e-mail strategy depends more than ever on the quality of the content in every e-mail. Whether it’s a more creative copy, engaging visuals, or attractive incentives, the content must capture interest like never before for e-mail marketing to flourish.

Keep in mind that the underlying purpose of all your e-mails is to help your customers with something, even though the endgame is still to sell them your product or service. It is, therefore, crucial to create e-mails your customers perceive as beneficial – e-mails your customers want to read. Crafting e-mails your customers can’t wait to open will offset any challenges presented by iOS 15, leading to more sales and a leg up on your competition.

Finally forced to use meaningful metrics
With iOS 15 masking IP addresses, we can at long last retire “e-mail open rate” as a metric worthy of any attention. Yes, open rate is a good way to track the health of e-mail lists – but given how far away it is from an actual sale and how difficult it will be to calculate under iOS 15, its elimination from the list of important metrics is a welcome occurrence.

No longer judging a campaign’s success based on open rate will be a major shift for many, but it opens the door to focus on meaningful metrics – metrics that occur closer to a sale and provide more valuable information about the customer journey.

These metrics include:

Click-through rate
Reply rate
Submission rate
Conversion rate (from e-mail to a conversion on the website)

How you should already be preparing
With the roll-out date fast approaching, there are several things you should be doing right now to lay a foundation for e-mail marketing success in the world of iOS 15.

  1. Pull data from your past e-mails and thoroughly analyze to understand which were successful, which were not, and why.
  2. If you are still using open rate as a metric, consider whether it is delivering value (beyond boosting confidence) and if the work to continue reporting on it is worth it.
  3. Adjust all flows that use open rate and geo-tagging
  4. Make sure to clean up your e-mail lists while you still have all your current metrics available

What to do after the update

  1. Keep a steady eye on your unsubscribe rates. With open rates no longer available, unsubscribe rates are essential to tracking the health of your e-mail lists.
  2. Tests are your best friend. The best way forward is to test how your e-mails are performing, gather insights, and repeat.
  3. Have a set structure for how often you clean up your e-mail lists. You may have a higher bounce rate than before the update, as customers can simply delete their temporary iCloud e-mails instead of having to unsubscribe.
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Do you want to hear more?
Contact Head of CRM & Sales enablement
Jonathan Riis Gilmartin

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