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What does iOS 15 mean for email marketing?

Email Tracking

Following the announcement of the next iOS release from Apple, we have been considering what this means for email marketing, especially when it comes to our client programmes.

ios screenshot-1

Put simply, with iOS15 and those using the Apple Mail application, tracking whether or when someone has opened an email will become more difficult than it ever has been before.

As we know, marketers can only track an open if the recipient has downloaded the images within the email, so we already have an unknown number of recipients who are reading the emails we send.

Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection feature, available only in the Apple Mail application, will look like the image shown to the right. We expect the opt-in rate will be high for this one. After all, why would someone NOT select the top option if they don’t know the ins and out of email tracking?

But why does iOS15 matter?

For the Apple device users using Apple Mail (this accounts for around 50% of all email opens!) who have opted into this new feature, Apple will preload all the content and therefore the open tracking will show as ALL emails having been opened. The reality is that the sender of the email won’t know whether it has been opened or not, and if it has, when.

What are TwentyCi doing about this?

Sadly, we are unable to do anything about the software update, however, we are taking the following action: -

  • Reviewing campaign KPI metrics
    • We are lucky in that a lot of the programmes we run, we can measure through to a lead or a transaction. This will be our focal point going forwards
    • Continuing to use open rates as a benchmark indicator, but knowing that the increase is likely due to iOS15
    • Historically we have measured our click-through rates from unique opens, going forwards we will change this to be measured against delivered as neither of those tracking elements are affected
  • Reviewing programme elements
    • For campaigns that target non-openers, we will, where we can change this, target non-purchasers instead, otherwise we’ll be missing a large proportion of our non-engaged audience
    • Being careful with any “clever stuff” like countdown timers or location-based content – we don’t believe that things like this will work in the same way, and therefore requires careful testing before any deployments are planned
  • Reviewing measures of success from testing programmes
    • Usually, when conducting subject line testing, we would always look at open rates, click rates AND conversion (lead or transaction). Going forward we will focus on the conversion element of this measurement as open rates will be unreliable

What about deliverability, how will this be impacted?

Email providers like Microsoft and Yahoo have long been using recipient engagement as a deciding factor as to whether your email is delivered into their inbox, their spam folder, or if at all.

We don’t yet know how inbox delivery will be affected or how quick or even how they will adapt to this new iOS feature.

Is it possible that we will get a short term gain? This is one that we will be carefully watching.

If you would like to know more about our marketing programmes or about changes to email marketing, please contact our email expert Susan Corless at