How iOS 15 affects email marketing

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iOS 15 was released on September 20th and here is a brief overview of how it affects our email marketing for B2B and B2C alike.

The email privacy measures described only relate to Apple’s “Mail” app, and do not relate to other iOS mail apps.

How iOS 15 “hide my email” affect email marketing

There are two reasons why iOS 15 will affect our email marketing

1 – Both private and business emails can be set up in iOS “Mail” app.

I myself have my business emails set up in my iPhone “Mail” app, and most people have, unless they use a separate APP for business emails.

2 – Visitors use private and public email addresses interchangeably

Visitors use private and public email addresses interchangeably when downloading or accessing content online, including guides, eBooks, and templates. As the users know they will receive a string of follow up emails, they often shy away from using their business email when they are not sure of the relevance for their job and business.

Features that affect email marketing:

It stops “senders” from using pixels in emails

Pixels can be used to track “open rates”, “time” email was opened, “location”.

By preventing pixels in marketing, and any other email, to iOS “Mail” users, it impacts the metrics that a lot of email marketers have been using for ages.

  • Email open rate
  • Date and time
  • Location
  • Disposable email addresses

Email open rate

This is a metric often used to gauge open rates and whether the email “subject” is attractive enough to open the email.

Date & Time

Time and date of email opens is used in all email marketing reporting

Location

For email marketers that only collect name and email addresses on sign up or other opt-ins, IP addresses can be used to gauge what country, region or city a user lives in for various purposes such as best time to send emails for optimizing open rates.

In many cases this is less relevant for B2B as the country is often collected in forms at opt-in, as B2B often prefers a bit of “friction” to avoid too many irrelevant leads.

Disposable Email Addresses

iOS 15 users can now create random email addresses to hide their “real” email address. 

These email addresses can be deleted and a new created, so the user is more in control of who can contact them. So if you used an email to opt-in for several newsletters and you now see a flooding inbox, it’s fantastic to be able to delete the email and solve the flooding inbox in one go. Unfortunately, you may not receive the €100.000 lottery winner email notification, the irresistible offer for the software you have been eyeballing over the last month, and now you will never know.

What it means for our email marketing is that we risk losing email connection with current leads or email subscribers, and instead receive a “hard bounce”.

Safari browser privacy protection is getting stronger

Apple’s browser Safari, will prevent any third party from accessing the users IP address.

Intelligent Tracking Prevention used by Safari will now be hiding the users IP address, which means that IP addresses can not be used as a unique identifier for tracking and identifying “returning visitors” to our website.

Considerations for email marketing

For now “only” 30-35% of the email provider market share, so emails via Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc. will remain the same.

So until Google and Microsoft may implement data privacy measures in their email clients, then we still have 65-70% of users where our ability for email tracking is unchanged. Assume that users of Apple “Mail” client is reacting to email subjects and email content like others, when you optimize.

Email reporting will be inaccurate

Monitor changes in Open Rates

Going forward, email pixels for “30-35%” of your emails will be removed. Open rates for that share of emails will be inflated, and pollute your analytics data, for reporting purposes.

For optimization purposes, use data for all “devices” except  iOS 15.

Click-through rates

We don’t know exactly what will happen with click-through rates and it depends on the tracking.

Pixels will be removed, so this may mean tracking click-through for a given email may disappear, unless UTM parameters are used in email links.

UTM tracking, which is not a pixel, nor a third-party cookie, but a URL parameter, will still work, but this “meta data”, and can not be attributed to a unique user.

So keep using UTM parameters in your email marketing, preferably a different parameter for each link in the email, in order to attribute conversions and sales to emails.Hubspot and marketing automation systems at large, is now considering the impact and changes that need to happen for their platform, to provide a meaningful solution to the current tracking metrics for marketing emails. Learn more on Hubspot.

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Other cool iOS 15 features, not marketing relevant

  • Android and Windows PC users can now join Apple Facetime calls, which before was only working between Apple devices.
  • See connected Apple devices on “Find My” even if the device is not connected to wifi, or shut off (using another nearby Apple device connection).
  • Siri speech recognition requests, related to “set alarm”, “open app”, “music requests” etc. will be processed on our iOS device, and not require an internet connection … and not be transmitted over the internet to “big brother” 🙂

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