Has the IOS15 updates killed email marketing?

katie Oconnell | 3 August 2021

We know these privacy updates generate a lot of questions when it comes to email marketing, and we want to help you to feel confident in understanding how to drive email success.

What are the Apple updates?

In its push for privacy, Apple’s upcoming iOS 15 update will introduce Mail Privacy Protection, which will make it harder for marketers to get data related to Apple users’ email behaviours. It stops senders from using invisible pixels that collect information about the users; if, when and where the users are opening an email – which is expected to be rolled out in September 2021.

This is a significant update affecting a very high number of users and unfortunately, there is little to no way around this. The only strategic move is to work with the new Apple update and not against it.

Before this is rolled out, it’s important to understand the effects and opportunities other key metrics can offer in strategizing, delivering, and analysing for a successful email marketing campaign.

Here are some key considerations that will need to form part of your email strategy, for both the pre and post iOS 15 update.

Pre opened email

Potential effects on email marketing:

  • Unreliable open rates
  • Open times will no longer be reliable
  • Send time optimisation will need adjustments
  • Automations will potentially break
  • Device types will be unreliable

Users will be presented with a pop up straight after updating to the iOS 15 and opening the Mail app.

Hide my email

Only available for Icloud + subscribers as a free part of the iOS15 updates

This will allow users to generate unique, random email addresses for opt-ins and any communications will be automatically forwarded onto the user’s real email address from Apple.

Potential effects:

  • With the ability to delete these random generated emails after use, this will more than likely increase bounce rates. Ever heard of “burner” phones? Think of these email addresses in the same way.
  • Automation could potentially break

How many use Mail on an Apple Device?

According to the most recent stats from Litmus, 38% open their emails on the native app on the Apple iPhone and 1% on an iPad.

With that being said, it will not affect users who open their email using other apps, such as Gmail on an iPhone or any other device.

How to adapt?

  • Accelerate your email marketing plans

Make good use of this time before the updates come into effect to document open rates and have your open benchmarks in place. A good way to do this is through A/B testing.

  • Lock in place your audience data

In this interim period create your audience segments based on user’s engagement – this will help to get you through the transition period before your numbers become inflated.

  • Use other key metrics

Overall clicks and calculated percentages of clicks to delivered and are going to become a primary metric, along with conversions, to establish the success of your campaigns.

  • Purge your data

Identify your inactive subscribers who are using iOS Mail and either; get rid or mark them in your database as unengaged. This will help to make your metrics less inflated against your current benchmark.

  • Maintain your email marketing best practises

Rely on your current metrics and still send at your optimised times and still opt for reengagement campaigns every couple of months.