The new iOs15 update and what it means for email marketers and eCommerce owners

It’s everywhere in the news and e-commerce owners and marketers are panicking about the new Apple update. But what does it really mean and what can we do about it?

Let’s clear the mist and bring some clarity to our minds.

Apple iOS15 Update for email marketing

Beginning around Sept-Nov this year, your users will be able to hide their IP address as the emails will load emails privately.

What does this mean?

Emails sent would now first be re-routed to proxy, pre-loaded and then delivered to the Mail app. This obviously applies to Apple Mail users.

So, even if they are using Gmail or Outlook on top of the Apple Mail app, it’s still going to apply.

Though, if they haven’t yet updated their devices/apps, it’s not going to apply.

Based on the overall experience of agencies and marketers, half of all the users will be affected, which is significant enough for everyone to take notice.

Currently, most of us have stats and data on email opens. But with this update, we will not be able to accurately measure whether a user has opened their emails or not.

Why is that?

Because all emails are now going to be opened by proxy first before being opened by the users.

Important stuff for us to take notice of.

With this update, your email softwares might also return a generic IP address belonging to a broader region or even different states but within the same country.

Which means that location data will also be inaccurate.

Segmentation data within email tools like Klaviyo, that rely upon open rate data or location based geo data might not work anymore. This will impact your business especially if a major chunk of your users are using the Mail app.

It will also be difficult to determine and segment your audiences based on the email application they are using.

The reason for this is that the segmentation criteria that we all currently rely on within our email softwares will be limited by user behaviour and email domain.

So, you might be able to segment your audience by email address domain (gmail.com, yahoo.com) but not based on the email app they are using.

This clearly means that you won’t be able to identify and segment Apple Mail users accurately like before.

If you rely and segment your users based on open rate data, it won’t be as effective anymore.

All your campaigns, flows, automations that previously relied on email opens, like re-engagement campaigns, automated nurture flows, send-time optimizations, real time personalization, subject line testing to maximize email opens won’t work or be as effective anymore.

Just like SMS campaigns, where we are only able to track clicks and conversions and not opens, we’ll see a similar shift with email campaigns relying mostly on clicks, Inbox locations and Inbox for performance and measurement.

As mentioned above, Location based strategies are going to be a thing of the past. It has already been the case with Gmail, Yahoo etc and with this final nail in the coffin, it is going to be uniform across all email platforms.

With the proxy re-routing in place now, we will also not be able to get reliable data and metrics around whether the user is a desktop or a mobile user.

So the percentage of desktop vs mobile users will be completely wiped off and unavailable for segmentation.

Can you still do something about it?

Yes. With this segmentation not available anymore, you need to make sure that all our emails are compatible and responsive for both desktop as well as mobile.

But does this mean email marketing is going to be dead? Nah, that’s not going to be the case.

Here are some ways you can tackle this.

  • Fix your existing segmentation. Figure out audience segments and cohorts that rely on open rates and open rate data to create new audiences that you can still market to in the near future and even past the iOS update.
  • Use the tool called Litmus.com to get an approximate gauge of impact of this update on your product on Apple Mail users.
  • Test more aggressively. Creatives, angles, ideas to find what’s most impactful for your audiences. A/B testing without any data is not going to work.

What else can be done?

  • Make use of the data you already have. Go back to your past email campaigns and analyze the data you already have. Did long subject lines or short subject lines work in the past? Did emails with or without emojis work for you. Compile a personal playbook for email marketing.
  • Every brand is going to perform differently based on the particular audience demographics and behavior, a “one-size fits all” playbook won’t work for everyone in the email marketing niche.
  • Get accustomed to building and testing segments that rely on clicks and delivery and not just open rates alone.

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