How Apple iOS15 impacts email marketers
If you’re wondering if your online business will be impacted by the changes Apple is introducing, the short answer is: yes.
According to Litmus, Apple making up a significant swath of the e-commerce market, making up 58% of the email client market, and iPhone users commanding over 90% of mobile email opens. With 782 million iCloud users, the changes are set to affect more than half of all e-commerce merchant’s customer base.
What’s changing with iOS15 Privacy Protection?
New privacy protection functions by Apple are throwing a spanner in the works of traditional email marketing strategies. There are four big changes that are of concern to the e-commerce world.
Mail Privacy Protection (Free Feature)
- The Mail Privacy Protection feature offered in the new iOS update is available to all Apple Mail users who update to iOS15.
- This optional feature will trigger the pixel that indicates to marketers that an email has been opened by a recipient, meaning that all emails [regardless of whether the recipient has actually opened it or not] will be flagged as opened.
- With this feature active, it will be almost impossible to use open rates as an accurate metric to gauge email engagement, which many e-commerce merchants rely on to measure the success of retention and re-engagement marketing strategy.
- Beyond this, tracking open rates gives merchants an idea about the deliverability of their emails, and is a straightforward way to maintain good list hygiene.
Paid iCloud subscribers will have access to additional features that can have a big impact on email marketing as we know it. These features include:
Hidden IP Address (Paid iCloud Users)
- This feature will block cross-traffic, and prevent marketers from tracking user activity across multiple platforms using third-party cookies.
Private Relay (Paid iCloud Users)
- This privacy protection feature will prevent marketers from viewing the exact locations of a customer/subscriber which carries a few implications with it.
- The first implication is that your user will be blocked into a ‘proximate’ location which will affect any strategies that depend on timezone, segmentations based on regional location, and geographically targeted messaging.
- While this is less of a problem for users who have previously purchased from your site, and therefore willingly provided location details, this could be a problem when targeting users who haven’t made a purchase yet.
What does iOS15 mean for e-commerce?
Is this the death of email marketing?
Email marketing is more powerful than ever before, and it’s great that Apple is making changes in order to protect user privacy. Feeling like they are secure in their online activity can only build trust between the browser and you, the marketer.
Reframing the way we measure engagement, and getting creative when it comes to communicating with customers will be the key to navigating this new e-commerce terrain. The Growth Gurus are embracing these changes and have the strategies in place to prepare your business. Here’s what we’re looking at.
Open Tracking: What marketers use it for and what its removal will mean
- Open tracking has functioned as a metric for email marketing for years and ties into retention and re-engagement marketing, and deliverability tracking – both of which depend on open rates. Some e-commerce merchants also rely on open email tracking to trigger an email flow.
- It is worth mentioning that some corners of the e-commerce world already consider open rates to be a ‘vanity’ metric for the success of a campaign, and look at a much broader scope of behaviors to gauge email performance. Metrics like clicks and conversions are great ways to see the tangible impact that your emails had on their intended audience.
- At Growth Gurus, we think that redirecting to other measurements of engagement and finding new triggers for flows could offer a handy solution to the iOS15 update.
- Engaging an integrated email and SMS marketing strategy can also help since SMS is not tracked using pixels.
Hidden IPs: What marketers use IP for and what will happen without it.
- Some marketers use our browsing history to build a profile that draws on information from across multiple platforms using third-party cookies. The ability to do this kind of tracking relies on being able to access your unique address.
- Fortunately, Klaviyo only uses first-party cookies to gather information about the user.
Private Relay: How marketers use location and will they be lost without it?
- Marketers use location to tailor their marketing towards particular groups or target messages to relevant consumers in that area (e.g. within a certain range of a brick-and-mortar-store, seasonal marketing, or sales relevant to a location).
- Hidden IPs will impact segmentation based on location. If a recipient isn’t showing their real IP address, then location-based emails will be made redundant.
- There are some ways that we can tackle this problem. We recommend using purchase data on their profile if they are an existing customer and adapting your data capture strategies to get more information about potential customers.
Proxy Emails (Paid iCloud Users)
- Email is used to create a profile of users and their purchase behavior and used by marketers to attach important insights.
- It creates a relationship with the user and your business and is important for segmentation and targeting.
- The good news with proxy emails is that your email is going to land in the subscriber’s inbox – you just won’t know what their real email address is.
- There are ways to combat people putting in a fake email address, and they center around incentivizing loyalty.
- Long-term customers need to be encouraged to return and need to see value in the brands they interact with, Loyalty programs and VIP offers can help to encourage people to use their real contact information so they can collect on rewards.
How to start getting your e-commerce business prepared for iOS15
Don’t wait around for iOS15 privacy protections to hit you. There is plenty that you can be doing to prepare yourself before and after the launch in Q4 this year.
- Take advantage of the data while you still have it.
- A/B testing of which email subject lines, content, and copy NOW. Start creating your own little black book of what works [and what doesn’t] so that your email strategy is optimized for your clients by the time the change rolls over.
- Clean up lists of inactive contacts so that they are as accurate as possible when the change rolls in.
- Gear segmentation to comply with changes, and test them out.
- Start changing over your tracking metrics. Clicks, conversions, email list growth, unsubscribes, active-on-site, viewed product, added to cart, and started checkout are all great indicators of email performance.
- Start incorporating Google Analytics data in your existing Klaviyo revenue and conversion reports. Clicks, site visits, conversions, sign-up, and more are already captured by Klaviyo. Supplement these vital stats with Google Analytics to get a holistic insight into your email marketing performance as users start making the change over to iOS15 privacy protections.
- Double down on your SMS strategy, and synchronize your email and SMS marketing strategies. SMS does not use pixels to track behavior, so won’t be affected by the iOS15 update. With features like A/B testing available, You can take your SMS strategy to the next level with the help of the Growth Gurus.