Earlier this June, Apple released the iOS 15 update that brought an avalanche of fret among marketers.
This is because emails have been a significant channel for marketing to drive more revenue which is a by-product of personalization made possible through data crunching.
From September 2021 (the update is likely to roll out), there will be a limitation on the amount of data collected from a recipient.
This is how Apple describes it:
“In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”
The impact of this would be on email applications in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey.
This is likely to be the opt-in an Apple user would be introduced to when they update.
Source: Tweet by Ryan Jones
How exactly will Apple’s iOS 15 update affect email marketing?
The update gives its users an option to control their information, that is:
- Recipients can turn off email open tracking
- Keep their IP addresses hidden and
The immediate impact of this update can be three-fold:
- A/B testing the subject lines would be affected. As marketers closely monitor how well their subject lines resonated with their audiences based on the open rates
- Optimal send time is another area that would be impacted as marketers gauge the right time based on the open rates.
- Masking the IP addresses would now take a hit on emails that are served based on location
For obvious reasons, email marketing will be affected by these updates.
But, the good news is that the repercussions of this need not necessarily be as humongous as one might expect.
Simply put, this is not the first time marketers are going to be facing something like this.
Does the whole GDPR fiasco ring a bell?
Every marketing channel evolves over time.
There are some interesting stances to take with the roll-out of the ios update masking the IP addresses, email addresses, and the open rates.
Keep reading to know how.
How significant are open rates: Let’s be honest
It’s not fair to completely brush aside the significance of open rates or masking the IP addresses for that matter.
They are still important.
But, it’s not the end of the world if marketers are deprived of the open rates metrics.
Now, before we set out to argue about whether or not it is essential, let’s first understand the meaning of open rates and their implications.
Open rate is an email marketing metric that gives a fair idea of the percentage of emails that were opened against the total number of emails that you sent.
What does a good open rate imply?
- Your subject line and preview text are intriguing, relevant, and personalized.
- The timing of your emails hitting the recipients’ inbox is perfect.
These two are the result of good segmentation.
Now, on the contrary, look at this image to understand the significance of click rates:
As the image clearly implies, clicks cover the insights that open rates would give you. Of course, opens would be good to have, but you could now instead focus on segmentation, page views, quality content, and let go of pixel tracking; more on this in the following sections.
Verdict: Open rates are important, but we can live without them.
Hyperbolic headlines instilling the idea of the end of email marketing: Why this is not true.
Email marketing is not dead. Period.
As a reflex to this announcement, there was a swarm of articles buzzing around the internet that simply said the opposite ????
The truth is, one component of email marketing (open rates) that can be disabled (or not) by one pie of the recipients (there are non-apple users too!) that becomes irrelevant does not necessarily mean the entire channel is at stake.
Email is a vast channel that can do wonders for your business.
What email metrics matter the most and how to track
- Spam complaints
- Link clicks
- Purchase rate
- Revenue per subscriber
A typical email campaign loop looks like this:
You send an email, track the open rates, click rates, unsubscribes, and conversions.
You group the open rates and trigger a follow-up email to further nudge the recipient to take action.
Now, without this data, your email journey would have to take a different approach by simply giving more weightage to the clicks and conversions.
Won’t this help you weed out the laggers, unsubscribers, and the whole clan of recipients who would never be essentially interested in what you have to offer?
This could open up avenues for focusing on what really matters the most rather than clinging onto vanity metrics.
The Paradigm Shift is here. How to stay ahead of the curve
1. Back up your existing data
With certain data points likely to become untraceable in close to three months from now, dive into your existing data to gauge any important takeaways.
Notes to make:
- The average open rates of your existing campaigns
- Effectiveness of campaigns based on geo-targeting
- Device tracking and understanding of the mass of Apple users
2. Create a group of non-apple audience
As we know, open rates cannot be completely neglected, always. So, when a particular campaign demands the understanding of open rates, you can create a group of non-apple users and use that open rates as a hint to your overall open rate performance.
Things to keep in mind:
- Do this exercise for all your campaigns if your email campaign success heavily relies upon open rate metrics.
- Don’t be conclusive of the insight that this could give you, be open to exploring other performance metrics (of the apple users) for decision making.
3. Tweak your engagement strategy
Pivot your re-engagement strategy. The opens are a signal that there is some interest in what you have to offer. But, with that slipping away in the near future, re-engage with your contacts (opened and unopened) strategically in terms of messaging and timing.
Also, focus on email deliverability.
How is BayEngage going to combat this?
First things first:
1. There are a bunch of other metrics on BayEngage that you can track and measure your campaign performance
2. BayEngage’s powerful segmentation will enable you to plan well-targeted campaigns that can ensure better click rates
Here’s some good news!
BayEngage is going to launch an SMS marketing automation soon. In addition to email campaigns, you can also be using SMS to drive conversions.
This iOS 15 update by Apple is slightly a dicey situation for marketers.
But, anticipating such updates and cultivating the quality of preparedness can help us all.
Hone your skills, think beyond, and accept the change.
We hope this article has helped BayEngage users and others who are looking to explore our tool a fair idea of how this can be managed.
If you have any questions, drop them in the comments. We’ll be hanging out in the thread and would love to answer them!