The New iOS 15 Apple Mail Updates And How Email Marketers Can Adapt

Apple just announced their iOS 15 update with some changes to the Mail app and their privacy protection features. Though these may seem like big and scary updates, they simply reinforce the email marketing best practices you likely already leverage in your strategy.

To be fully prepared for Apple’s iOS 15 launch in September, here are a few simple tips to help you stay ahead of this update. From how to best measure your email marketing performance to SMS and automation strategies to setup, let’s dive in!

What does this mean for email marketers?

To summarize, with the iOS 15 update, Apple has implemented these new privacy features to protect those using their Apple Mail app:  

You can’t see opens from Apple mail

Email marketer’s will no longer have access to open rates for those subscribers that use apple mail to view their emails, and all emails sent will appear opened. 90% of all emails are viewed through the Mail app on iPhone and iPad, so Apple removing access to open rate data will affect the way you measure the success of your campaigns. Luckily, you still have other metrics like CTA clicks, that gives you an even better idea about your email’s performance. More on that later!

Hidden email addresses

While this feature isn’t new, Apple will make hiding your email even easier for subscribers with the iOS 15 update. When a new customer signs up to your list, they can choose to hide their email by using one of Apple’s unique, random email addresses, so their email isn’t shared with you during sign up.

Subscribers IP addresses are masked

The new privacy features masks subscribers’ IP addresses, so that activity within the Apple Mail app can’t be linked to other online activities or linked to their location. Instead, when an email’s opened, email marketer’s will see the location of one of Apple’s proxy servers and not the location of their subscriber. This will affect the way you use location data to send your next campaigns, and the way you segment your list based on location.

How to get ahead of Apple’s iOS 15 updates

These seem like big changes, but if you’ve been focusing on converting subscribers, building hyper-targeted campaigns, and sending the right emails to the right people at the right time, you have nothing to worry about!

While open rates have always been a popular indicator of how your email’s doing, it doesn't always translate to higher clicks, conversions or revenue. Remember, the goal of your email is not to get an open. It’s to get an open that leads to a conversion.

Focus on email conversions, not opens

This is a reminder to continue focusing on creating hyper-targeted content that will convert, and increase your ROI. At the end of the day, your conversion rate which is based off of your CTA clicks, and how much revenue you’re making off your emails are much better indicators that your emails are successfully engaging your subscribers. When you track your email clicks instead of opens, you get a more accurate picture of what emails are bringing in the most amount of revenue for your brand.

Your click rates (aka conversions) tell you who’s clicking on your CTA’s , if your email copy, placement of images and CTA’s are engaging, who opened your email, and whether your subject line and timing of the send worked. By tracking your clicks, you’re getting all the information you would from open rates, and more!

Depending on your ESP, revenue will be attributed based on your subscriber's last tracked email engagement. So good conversion is usually a result of good email strategies like proper segmenting, good deliverability, and a good email design that gets subscribers to click your CTAs and drive revenue. If you aren’t already, start tracking your clicks and your email revenue attribution now, so you have a baseline to compare too later.

Adding email and SMS campaigns that consistently convert

Use what you already know about email to build campaigns that you know convert! For example, abandoned cart automation has a conversion rate of more than 10%, so for every 1200 abandoned carts, you’ll be making at least 120 more sales.

Your ultimate goal is to increase conversions and drive ROI, and nothing does that better than adding SMS as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy. SMS conversions have increased 100% within the last year, and gets instant engagement from subscribers. Use SMS to send a reminder text to those subscribers that haven’t clicked on your email to get immediate conversions.

It’s time to stop worrying about opens, and instead focus on what can be done to get subscribers to respond to your CTA’s and drive conversions with your email!

Pivot how you think about engagement segments by adding clicks and purchase data to drive conversions

You shouldn’t be relying solely on open rates to measure the success of your campaigns, but if you have been, this is your sign to start using other indicators. Start looking at clicks and purchase data to identify your most engaged subscribers. While these segments will naturally be smaller than segments based on open rate engagement, you’ll also be able to identify and cater to those subscribers that are the most likely to convert and make a purchase.

Wrap up

Apple’s iOS 15 update means changing the way email marketers are currently thinking about email for the better. You have all the tools to create creative, hyper targeted, and personalized emails you know will increase conversions without having to look at open rates. With Apple moving in this direction with their privacy features, you’ll start seeing other ISPs following their lead in the future, so it’s time to start preparing for this shift now!

Use this as a chance to get creative, and to challenge the way you think about engagement. Remember, the goal of an email campaign is not about getting high opens, it's to get higher conversions and drive ROI!