Email Marketing and iOS15: Adapting to Skewed Email Open Rates

Jan 4, 2022

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As iOS15 is growing in popularity, marketers should be aware of the new Mail Privacy Protection feature. Ultimately, this feature blocks user data from being tracked through iOS’s Mail app, obscuring open rates, location data, and the user’s IP address. While this has been in effect since September 2021, Apple has been pushing more and more users to adopt iOS15, thus disrupting email open rates even more. 

What does this mean for your marketing team?

Instead of seeing a decline in open rates, your team should expect your email open rates to be higher than usual. Every email sent to an iOS 15 user with Mail Privacy Protection enabled will register as “opened”, regardless of whether or not the user actually looked at the email. The app will specifically disrupt any tracking pixels embedded in your email, making it impossible to get accurate data from iPhone and iOS users. This could signal that the time of open rate metrics is on its way out, but that transition could take a while. 

In the meantime, there are a few ways marketers can adapt to the new situation. Firstly, and most obviously, is to adjust your expectations for email open rates moving forward. Anticipate inflated open rates, especially if a large part of your demographic is iPhone users. If possible, consider filtering iPhone users out of your results, so that you can see a more accurate open rate.

Additionally, it may be time to prioritize metrics like click-through rates over the open rate. Often, registering clicks is more valuable than registering if someone skimmed the first paragraph of your email. Prioritizing click-through rates gives you concrete data on what is and isn’t working in your digital marketing campaign. Likewise, clicks will generate more traffic to your website and have the potential to convert to sales. Take some time to tweak your email strategy and discover methods of incentivizing readers to click.

So, what comes next?

Email isn’t going anywhere. It’s unlikely that Apple’s new privacy options will render email marketing obsolete—so, spam inboxes with thousands of unread emails will keep growing. This change is just another signal that the role of email marketing is changing, and marketers will need to adapt. Email data is devalued and obscured, so it’s time to find alternative communication methods with your audience. The cutting-edge technology in text marketing will fill the gap made by iOS15, while email will play support in the omnichannel strategy.

Text marketing gives marketers a more direct line to their audience members. Everyone knows about text’s 99% open rate, but remember the value customers place in direct communication. Up to 80% of customers expect some form of direct interaction with brands, whether that’s on social media or directly to their text messages. The personable and casual nature of text messaging makes it a clear front-runner in marketing trends while also providing marketers with all the essential data email is losing. Likewise, consumers are beginning to see the benefits of text message marketing, with 63% of customers saying they would switch to a competing brand that offered text messaging.

Email and text have a lot in common, and content made for email can be easily repurposed for SMS and MMS. The primary difference between the two is that, well, people actually read their texts.