Apple has been increasing the privacy and data protection of its products, especially during the last few years. For example, the tech giant announced in June 2021 that it would begin implementing security upgrades with iOS 14.5. However, these changes will also reduce the user information available to businesses for their email marketing campaigns.
These changes generally reduce the information on user behavior that Apple’s mobile apps provide to third parties, especially Apple’s own Mail app. Mail users will now be able to choose their own settings regarding the protection of email activity. For example, users can configure these settings to prevent email apps from using invisible pixels. This capability can hide a user’s IP address, geographic location and whether the user has opened a particular e-mail message.
Effects on Your Business
The changes make it more difficult for businesses to analyze the behavior of their prospective customers. iOS 14.5 users receive a prompt advising them of the changes to Mail privacy protection when they first open affected apps, but iOS 15 users must enable these protections themselves. This difference in the activation process will greatly affect the impact of the security changes on advertisers.
Apple will roll out the “Hide My Email” feature as part of its new iCloud+ subscription service. This feature allows iCloud+ users to use a random email address when signing up for mailing lists on websites. As a result, website owners will no longer be able to access much of the data on their visitors that was previously available to them.
What You Need To Do
Businesses should begin preparing for the iOS 15 update now, so they can compare the differences in user data that will be available to them. The primary purpose of this process should be to compare metrics on user behavior such as engagement and deliverability. Advertisers should also start looking at conversion rates and actual sales to assess the impact of Apple’s security updates.
Observers currently expect the full release of iOS 15 to begin in the fall of 2021, most likely in late September or early October. Advertisers should therefore have four to five months to implement their new marketing strategies. Specific steps to take during this period include A/B testing to determine the most effective subject lines for their email advertisements. Opening rate will no longer be available for iOS users who select the appropriate setting, so advertisers should start looking at click-through rates to determine the best subject line.
A/B testing is also vital for email content, which should use click-through rates to measure the engagement of recipients. Advertisers should remove inactive contacts from their mailing lists, since current solutions rely on opening speed to manage delivery capacity. Delivery management solutions that don’t require this metric will eventually be implemented, but they aren’t available at this time.
The iOS security updates will greatly affect businesses that include email in their digital marketing strategy. These changes generally require marketers to begin measuring other metrics that they haven’t been using until later in the customer journey. Implementing a new marketing strategy takes time, but this process should be completed before the release of iOS 15.