If you hadn’t heard, Apple has announced a new update for its iOS operating system which is set to shake up the world of email marketing. The company made the announcement in early June and we can expect to see the update come anywhere from September through November.
So, how will the new updates impact eCommerce marketers? Some of the notable updates to the operating system will allow users to:
- Turn off open tracking
- Hide their IP address
- Hide their email address
After the ad tracking changes that came with iOS14.5, email marketing, a medium that is all too often underutilized, looked set to have a pivotal role in the future of marketing. But now, the updates to iOS15 will take some key metrics away from marketers. And since we saw 96% of people adopt the privacy features introduced with iOS 14.5, it’s no stretch to assume that the changes to come will also be heavily adopted.
But! Never fear, where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you’re worried about how you can prepare for the changes here's a few suggestions from us at Socialike.
How Will iOS15 Impact Email Marketing?
First, let’s cover off just exactly what you’re going to need to rethink with your email marketing.
The biggest impact of the change comes from the ability for users to turn off open tracking. Put simply, any campaign or workflow that relies on open rate as a success metric is going to need to be rethought. So, if you’re an eCommerce business and your retention and reengagement marketing relies on open rate, get ready to get a bit creative.
The same goes if you’re using your recipient's IP addresses to geo-segment emails or if you’re measuring your delivery rate. Without the ability to track email addresses and open rates there will be no clear way to know if emails have reached the person you’re wanting them to reach.
How Can You Prepare for iOS15?
So, now you know what’s going to be changing, how can you pivot to still get some success from your email marketing?
Understand the impact on your subscribers:
First, make sure you understand your email marketing data. Remember, Google, Outlook, and other email providers haven't announced similar privacy moves. If most of your recipients use providers other than Apple, the impact on your marketing might be minimal. Alternatively, you might still be able to use the data from Google and Outlook recipients to make guesses about what your Apple using recipients are doing. Best to be proactive and assess your situation!
Adjust your open rate goals:
Once you understand the impact on your subscribers, if you’re savvy and proactive, you should also be able to adjust your open rate goals before the changes.
Rethink and set benchmarks now for open rates that take into account the subscribers that are opening email on iOS devices. For example, you might have your benchmarks reset to include subscribers from other providers only. You can also record your open rates before and after the update to see the impact of the change and then make an informed guess about how your Apple users are responding.
Leverage other email marketing data:
Open rate is great, but there are also other data you can use to understand how people are interacting with your emails. Here are a few that we commonly use:
- Focus on clicks and click-through: With email, you can see how engaged readers are by taking a look at the number of clicks and your click-through rate. A high number of clicks or more viewers engaging with links to content like product pages or blog posts could mean that they enjoyed what they saw in your emails while low numbers might suggest skimming through without clicking on anything much.
- Traffic to your site: Email is the most powerful way to get traffic to your website. Seems like a no-brainer, right? But using software that tracks email opens up new possibilities of understanding where all those clicks and visits are coming from. Using UTM tracking in your emails helps tools like Google Analytics show you which emails send visitors back to your site - allowing you to maximize engagement with every piece of content!
- Unsubscribe rates: When an unsubscribe rate spikes, it could be a sign that something hasn’t hit right - maybe there are too many emails or maybe the content isn’t resonating. Monitoring unsubscribe rates as well as asking for feedback when people unsubscribe can help you create emails that resonate better with your audience.
Cleanse your list of inactive contacts
Now that you’ve got a few ideas on how you might adjust your metrics, consider what else might be impacted by not being able to accurately see open rates - such as how many of your contacts are inactive.
Clean your list of inactive contacts now while you can see who is and isn’t opening your emails. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for new solutions down the line that will allow open rate data to be used in managing deliverability again.
Expand your engagement based segments
Your engagement-based segments can no longer solely depend on open rates. You should include clicks and purchase activity as criteria to find highly targeted contacts who are interested in engaging with you. The number of people that meet these new criteria will be smaller after the update, but it’s a good way to continue finding your targeted audience so they stay engaged from afar!
Look to new channels
To be honest, if you haven’t already started adding new channels to your marketing strategy then it's time for a major change. Consider SMS, push notifications, and other avenues that don’t solely rely on open rate alone.
Use other metrics for re-engagement
The key to re-engaging with your audience is through personalized touchpoints. Use other metrics for email campaign success like order value and frequency in the last 30 days, or recency of emails sent this week versus those from two weeks ago.
The Take Home
Apple’s iOS15 will impact email marketing, but if you’re proactive and savvy, the impact it will have on your ability to measure the success of your email can be minimized by finding new metrics and benchmarks to understand if you’re providing the right message to the right people at the right time.
But, understanding how to reach people at the right time isn’t always easy - even with open rates. If you’re wanting to get the most out of your email marketing, focussing on click-through rates, website traffic, and unsubscribe rates are all pieces of the marketing puzzle you shouldn’t ignore.
Want to chat with someone who can point you in the right direction? Socialike can help! We’re experienced marketers who help eCommerce businesses grow without the smoke and mirrors. Get in touch today.