The Apple iOS 15 update is coming. Here’s what it means for email marketing at Labroots.

17 Sep, 2021 | Labroots

A new Apple iOS update is coming September 20th, and with it comes changes to email privacy settings that will have a profound effect on email marketing and how marketers collect data.

According to an Apple press release from June, Apple device users will be able to adjust their email privacy settings to do the following with the iOS 15 update:

  • Prevent a sender from knowing if an email has been opened 
  • Hide their IP and email addresses from a sender 

These changes affect two key sources of marketing data: open rates (how often people open your emails) and where users are located (which helps create geo-targeted messaging). 

Figure 1: Where users are opening their emails by type of environment, showing mobile opens as the most popular option by a large margin. Figure and data adapted from Litmus.
Figure 2: The percentage of Apple iPhone opens vs. other types of devices/opens, showing the dominance of Apple with regards to email marketing. Figure and data adapted from Litmus.

Keep reading to learn more about these two key iOS updates and the ways Labroots is addressing them to ensure you still get the most from your campaigns.

Open rates and new data sources

As part of the iOS 15 update, users can change email privacy settings so that a sender does not know if they’ve opened an email (open rates). This data has been a key metric for measuring engagement with an email marketing campaign. Normally, when a user opens an email the data within it loads, letting you know it’s been opened. With this update, this data will now be automatically pre-loaded when the email is received, not when it is opened. Resulting in skewed open rates and leaving you in the dark about who is engaging with your campaign.

To address the likelihood that open rate data will be less meaningful, Labroots intends to use equally effective metrics to measure similar types of engagement. Some of these metrics include the following:

  • Clickthrough rates (e.g., how often people click on links in an email)
  • Visits to your website
  • Email list size
  • Event sign ups (e.g., Webinars and Virtual Events)
  • Content sharing on social media

Geographical data and IP addresses 

The ability to see where your recipients are helps create personalized, location-based messaging. After the iOS 15 update, users will have the option to block access to this information. 

Users will also have the option to “hide” their real email address. Your emails still go through to their real email address, but you see a fake one. However, you’re still left seeing the fake one on your email lists, not the real one.

Fortunately, Labroots already has mechanisms in place to gather similar data and ensure it’s up to date. Users are prompted regularly to update their profile settings (email, location, etc.) and make sure information is accurate (e.g., every time they register for a new webinar or event on the Labroots side). As a result, Labroots can still ensure geographically-targeted messaging based on the information in our databases.

While providing this information does require a bit more user engagement, we know users who regularly update their information are engaged and are likely to provide a better return on value. 

Changing how we think about email marketing

These iOS privacy changes create new challenges for email marketing campaigns, as well as new opportunities to rethink user engagement. Labroots will continue searching for effective solutions to help you get the most from your email marketing campaigns.

For any questions regarding this update and how it may impact your digital marketing strategy with Labroots, please contact our experts at:

-Article by Labroots Science Writer Ryan Vingum

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