As you well know, Apple continues to prioritize user privacy in each new update to its software by changing what information third-party companies can access. While these updates benefit the individual user, marketing companies have had to adjust to an ever-changing landscape and rethink how they quantify their results.
So why is this newest update such a big deal? iOS users account for 65% of the market share in the U.S. alone and account for around 1 billion users worldwide. As we have seen with previous updates, any sweeping changes made to the iOS platform can reshape the marketing industry.
Move over iOS 14, there’s a new update in town
iOS 15 is the next big update that has marketers talking. You may have seen concern over this latest change but may not fully understand why the update is important. Markentum created a simple breakdown of what the update entails and what you can do to prepare for this latest change from Apple.
When is it Happening?
This update was made available at the end of September, so you will start seeing the effects of these changes in the next few months. An important thing to keep in mind is this update will affect all email marketing platforms. All email marketing software companies and marketers alike will be adjusting to this new industry standard.
What is Changing?
Unlike the previous update, iOS 15 is focused on how emails are tracked in your inbox. The update makes numerous changes, but the main ones that will affect email marketing are Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email.
Mail Privacy Protection
This feature prevents senders from seeing when an email has been opened. It also masks the user’s IP address, which will prevent senders from knowing the user’s location.
Hide My Email
Allows users to share a unique email address that forwards to their inbox anytime they want to keep their email address private.
Impact on Open Rates
The most significant impact of these two changes will be on open rates. To protect whether an email has been opened, Apple will take the tracking pixel for that email and open it before the email is seen in the inbox. Because of this, there will be a spike in open rates for these users. With all emails on iOS being opened, open rates will be inflated and will not be a reliable metric.
Open rates were previously an important metric because they gave email marketers a sense of how many of their emails got to the inbox and whether their subject line was compelling enough for users to open the email. Open rate, coupled with other metrics, helped email marketers to know if an email was successful.
For platforms like HubSpot, open rates are also used to gauge whether or not a contact is engaged with your email and lead nurturing campaigns. As the update progresses, companies like HubSpot will have to adjust how it defines email engagement metrics.
Impact on Segmentation
Removing the ability to see a user’s IP address could cause concern for some marketers if they use IP addresses to segment their audience. However, there are many other ways to segment an audience. For example, instead of using an IP address, you could segment your audience by persona, community of interest, or service that they are interested in. Because senior living providers typically ask for this information up front, this change should not affect your ability to send meaningful information to your database.
What Can We Do About It?
But all is not lost! Although open rates will not be as accurate as previously, it is not the only metric used to track engagement. For example, the change in tracking pixels will not change our ability to see click-through rates. Click-through rate is the percentage of users that click at least one link in your email. For event emails or lead nurturing emails, the link is found in the form of a CTA or call to action that will lead the user to an RSVP page or another resource. Click-through rates represent the action that you want the user to take and is a more significant metric for engagement. It lets you know that the content of your email or offer was compelling enough for users to take the next step.
And, at the end of the day, the good news is this update will not affect android users. By segmenting your database, you will still be able to see whether a subject line was successful by looking at open rates for android users.
As these changes continue to unfold, marketers will adjust their strategies and how they gauge email success. iOS 15 is not a major blow to email marketing, but it will call for adjustments to how emails are tracked and quantified. If you have any questions about this update or email marketing in general, please feel free to reach out to Markentum for a free evaluation!