Email Marketing Versus iOS 15 Privacy Updates

by | Oct 21, 2021 | Marketing, Website Maintenance

How Apple’s New Privacy will Affect Email Marketing Efforts

Apple’s recent software update has been a hot topic of conversation in the email marketing world. iOS 15 was released on September 20th, 2021 and the lead-up had email marketing platforms priming users for the changes and challenges to come.

press release in June started the buzz with the following statement:

“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.”

Naturally, dramatic article titles followed with some variation of the sentiment “Is this the end of email marketing?” Though to be fair, this is pretty much the response after any type of restriction is put in place on email marketing.

Email Marketing Complications

Email marketing tracking is used to monitor the actions taken by recipients from a given campaign. It actually does benefit the recipient in many cases. For instance, at BCS we run email campaigns for our communications as well as many clients. If an important announcement goes out, we’re able to use information to resend to those who didn’t open emails.

For ecommerce, information about email opens is used to incentivize customers based on activities. Most customers receive and or click on ecommerce emails with some level of interest in the product or service. Email marketers use this information to categorize recipients by information, and make sure to send them campaigns which are relevant to their interests. It’s just another way of making email marketing more of a service than an invasive advertisement.

While the update has a benefit in terms of misdirecting spam emails, it can also make email campaigns more general, less helpful and less relatable in the process.

Open Rates are Dead

An “open rate” refers to the percentage of opens relative to the total number of subscribers/recipients in a given email campaign audience or segment. Luckily, attention was already being shifted away from email open rates in general. From an email marketing perspective, they really only highlight interest in the subject and provide another metric for tracking general interest. However, engagement and conversions are what really matter.

Engagement and Conversions

Engagement can be tracked by examining which links users clicked, and conversions relate to sales (or even “almost sales”) as a direct result of the email campaign.

What is Next for Email Marketing?

While email marketers may pivot for alternative ways to analyze campaigns, more privacy is generally a comforting notion for web users. There is still value in email marketing for any product or service. It serves as an affordable and effective way to spread awareness to targeted audiences. Ultimately, email open rate metrics alone don’t determine successful campaigns. Engagement and actual sales achieved through campaigns show the value. In a way, the changes will allow marketers to refocus their efforts on better content and incentives to get results.