Apple’s iOS 15 will change email marketing

Apple recently revealed its iOS 15 software, which will be released this fall. Most of the new features focus on privacy, data tracking, and user security. Two features, Mail Privacy Protection and Email Hide, will have a huge impact on email marketing. I will cover both in this post.

Express Mail Privacy Protection

This feature will give iOS 15 Mail users the ability to privately upload remote content and not reveal their IP addresses. The result will obscure the sender’s ability to track openings and forwards and mask the recipient’s IP address, which determines the actual location.

Mail Privacy Protection in iOS 15 will give users the option to privately upload remote content and not give out their IP addresses. Photo: Apple.

Email service providers — Mailchimp, MailUp, Constant Contact, and more — insert an invisible 1 pixel image into outbound posts. The image tracks whether and how often the recipient opens an email, allowing for unique and initial open rates to be reported. This is valuable long-term information for email marketers, reflecting the impact of subject lines, pre-headers, and overall subscriber engagement.

With the privacy of mail in iOS 15, marketers will now be unable to open the email of users who have opted for this protection. Other users, on desktop and Android devices, are still trackable.

Emails in 2021 are mostly opened on smartphones. iOS is a big part of this market. If Android adopted similar privacy options, 98% of smartphone users would have the option of not disclosing their email logins.

Mail privacy protection is not enabled in iOS 15 by default. Users must register. However, it is safe to say that once shippers are released, they can expect a decrease in mentioned open rates. The effect extends beyond subject lines and pre-titles. User engagement over time often affects marketers’ segmentation tactics. Subscribers who open relatively fewer messages may receive fewer messages with different builds, for example.

In addition, marketers often purge inactive subscribers. This database cleanup is essential because it improves overall deliverability. Posts with a high percentage of inactive recipients can end up in junk or junk email folders because ISPs assume these emails are of little value. Apple’s new privacy update makes it difficult to remove inactive subscribers.

Finally, analyzing open rates by domain (gmail, yahoo, hotmail) helps determine which ISPs are blocking emails or impairing delivery. With the new email privacy option for iOS, marketers are losing this ability.

Hide my email

“Hide My Email” is another new feature from Apple, available on iOS 15, macOS Monterey (revealed this month), and iCloud settings. This feature allows users to sign up for email offers using a random Apple-generated address instead of the real email address. Apple then forwards the emails to the user’s primary email account. Users can easily remove the new email address thus preventing it from spreading across the web.

Hide My Email poses several problems for marketers. First, there is no easy way to tell if a new email registration is a legitimate account or a ‘copy’. This can potentially lead to delivery issues, as subscribers may quickly delete their email, leading to more bounces and thus concerns for ISPs that can impair delivery. (However, reputable email service providers automatically weed out “hard” bounces, eliminating their impact on ISPs.)

Get ready now

Get ready now to protect message privacy in iOS 15. Test open rates extensively before they launch this fall. Create before and after criteria:

  • topic lines,
  • Pre-heads
  • time of the day
  • day of the week,
  • lines “from”.

“Hide my email” is likely to affect deliverability. Monitor these rates and make sure the ESP removes tough bounces quickly.

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