Apple is often at the bleeding edge of mobile technology, and iOS has been, and remains the most advanced mobile platform on the planet. With each iOS iteration, changes are often made to the operating system to improve functionality for users, as well increasing security and privacy to protect identities of their users while online.
The latest iOS operating system, iOS 15 unveiled at the Apple Event on September 15 (and released on September 20, 2021) had a large focus on security and privacy, and this has affected email marketing techniques around the world. How much will it impact your email marketing, and are their options available for you?
Increased Privacy in iOS 15
With the increase in privacy a focus of iOS 15, suddenly metrics that were very important to marketers are no longer available. One example is that map history is no longer recorded or associated with Apple IDs, which some marketers would use for geo-location metrics to discover where their consumer targets were located, to better serve location specific advertising. While this only affects one of the mobile platforms, and although Android is installed on more devices worldwide, generally the top email client out of all clients is the Apple iPhone mail app.
Important Privacy Changes:
Hide My Email
A new option for Apple users to opt into can hide their real emails when signing into websites using their Apple accounts. With hide my email for Apple ID accounts, the website or app will get a randomly generated email that can be gotten rid of at any time by the user. This makes it harder to purge fake emails from your email marketing lists. Those with iCloud+, a premium service, can take it a step further and are allowed to generate any number of random addresses, while the sign in with Apple is only for sign-up purposes.
Mail Privacy Protection
One technique used by many email marketers is to track whether an email has been opened using an image load in the email, known as a web beacon, sometimes only 1px x 1px. The new privacy features in iOS15 allows those that open emails to block automatic image loading, so they can read the email without loading images, and thus disabling the web beacon. Other mail privacy protections include hiding IP addresses to avoid linking web beacons to online activities to determine user location.
What You Can Do About Your Email Marketing
With all these privacy changes, it will become harder to track consumers that are using Apple devices, and can even result in you receiving a lot of fake metrics that are not useful at all. Your mailing lists will be harder to clean out, A/B testing subject lines harder, and finding the location of your consumers. But there are some solutions to the problem that are fairly easy to implement.
First of all, you should start focusing your efforts on other metrics, such as click rates, bounces, and unsubscribes. Since you won’t have access to accurate open rates anymore, just change your focus, and in the long run, they are better and more accurate metrics to begin with when it comes to consumer interaction.
If you want to get your consumers to fully load emails, and even share their real emails more often, then you should also focus on creating trust with consumers through developing creative and valuable content that they will consider worthwhile to use their real email addresses.
Lastly you could consider a campaign where you send out surveys for consumer engagement purposes, asking about what kind of devices they are doing. This will get you more information about how to target your email marketing, and also help encourage unsubscribes for those no longer interested in your products.
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