What if your best marketing channel stopped working overnight?
This is a reality for many businesses that rely on email marketing. While email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to boost your brand and increase sales, things like software changes can change how you do business overnight.
One such change is the recent iOS 15 Apple update. This update adds Mail Privacy Protection for users. And while this is very convenient for consumers, it can create major obstacles for your own email marketing efforts.
Fortunately, it’s possible to transform those obstacles into opportunities. Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about the iOS 15 update and how to optimize your email marketing accordingly!
HOW DOES THE APPLE UPDATE WORK?
Our guide is going to walk you through how to market with the Apple update. Before we go any further, though, we need to explore what this update is all about.
For marketing purposes, the big deal is that Apple’s update now lets users opt into a Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) setting. The purpose of this setting is data security. Specifically, the privacy setting makes it harder for third parties to gather and use consumers’ private data.
Consumers will see this setting as a good thing. But when businesses can no longer track things like IP data and open rates, they must adopt new strategies for email marketing.
HOW DOES THE IOS 15 UPDATE AFFECT EMAIL MARKETING?
Below, we have some of our best ideas for how you can optimize your email marketing after the Apple update. However, it’s important for you to first understand how this update affects the way you do business.
The biggest issue is that with the privacy setting enabled, open rates are going to appear incorrect. This throws out your ability to track open rates as a metric for the overall effectiveness of your email marketing.
Additionally, the update will throw off any automated workflows that you rely on due to the lack of data. For example, this update will disrupt your ability to use re-engagement workflows.
Because the emails will read as having been automatically opened, you can no longer use live data. Many marketing emails rely on countdown timers and other engagement strategies that will no longer work on the majority of iOS users.
That’s the bad news, and we won’t lie: there is a lot of it. The good news, however, is that there are easy steps you can take to optimize email marketing in the face of the iOS 15 update. Here are just a few easy strategies you can start using today!
CREATE A NEW “ENGAGED” LIST
A big part of email marketing is identifying your “engaged” customers. This helps you see who is likeliest to open and respond to your messages. But the iOS 15 update means you have to go back to the drawing board when figuring out who is engaged and who is not.
That’s because you can no longer rely on the open rate as a metric for engagement. But that doesn’t mean you should stop tracking user engagement. You just have to get more creative about it!
For example, within Klaviyo you can create a new list where you track who is buying products, who is subscribing, who is visiting your site, and who is clicking on your emails. It will take a bit of trial and error, but this should help you discover your most engaged users.
It may sound daunting to come up with a new engaged list. After all, how will you know if it is accurate or not? Ultimately, the best way to do this is to compare your old data to your new data!
Specifically, you need to compare your original engaged list with the new one you created. Your goal is to get the new list to look a lot like the old one. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sets of data until you find the most accurate way to track engaged users.
It’s fair to say that automation is the cornerstone of what makes email marketing so effective. Unfortunately, Apple updates mean that businesses must change how they approach automation.
For example, you need to stop using automated workflows that rely on users opening emails. Because iOS will automatically open these emails, your old workflows could cause customers to receive emails they don’t want, souring them on your company.
This doesn’t mean you have to stop using automation. But you should tether your workflows to things like clicks or time spent reading rather than whether the message was opened or not.
CHANGE YOUR “ENGAGED” SEGMENTS
We already talked about the importance of creating a new “engaged” list. On top of that, you need to change any user segments that rely on email opens.
Many businesses track and sort customer segments based in part on which emails they open. Such businesses also rely on users opening emails to track the performance of particular marketing messages.
Eventually, you’ll find newer and even better ways of tracking customer segments. But you won’t be able to develop a new approach until your own business stops relying on the data from email opens.
STOP RELYING ON CLICK-THROUGH RATES
It’s already bad enough that you can no longer rely on email open rates. Most companies that rely on email marketing have already begun to phase out open rates as a measure worth tracking at all. On top of that, you need to stop relying on click-through rates.
That’s because we determine click-through rates by taking the number of clicks a message gets divided by how often it was opened. Before, this presented an accurate way of determining the effectiveness of a message.
Click-through rates no longer work as a metric because we can’t rely on open rates. Instead, you should rely on click rates, delivery rates, and unsubscriptions as a metric for how well the marketing is going.
CHANGE LOCATION-BASED STRATEGIES
Chances are that you rely on at least one location-based strategy for your marketing emails. For example, you may have special email offers that rely on knowing users’ timezones. Or you may send out special sales emails based on a customer’s location.
However, you no longer have reliable access to user IP addresses thanks to the iOS 15 update. And since there is no direct alternative to these location-based strategies, we recommend you experiment with other strategies.
TEST SUBJECT LINES (FOR NOW)
Even your customers know how important email subject lines are. The right subject line makes all the difference about whether someone opens a message or not. But since you can no longer track open rates, it is more difficult than ever to test the effectiveness of your own open rates.
However, keep in mind that not all of your consumers using iOS will have made the switch yet. That’s why it’s important to do as much A/B testing of subject lines while you still can. The day will soon come when you can’t do such testing, but the data you collect about it here and now will be very valuable.
UPDATE FLOWS RELATED TO UNENGAGED SEGMENTS
Just as you have special workflows designed with engaged users in mind, you probably have workflows designed for unengaged users. However, it’s important to either disable or update any flows tied to your “unengaged” segments.
These flows are often tied to whether or not customers are opening emails. But since we can’t rely on open rates, flows meant to go to unengaged customers may end up going to your most engaged customers!
If you’re not careful, this can end up turning off your biggest brand ambassadors. But if you turn off things like Sunset Flow right now, you can keep that from happening.
DISABLE OPENS FOR REVENUE ATTRIBUTION
Many businesses have relied on open rates to calculate their email revenue. With the iOS 15 update changes, your own email revenue may look inflated and incorrect.
It’s best to go ahead and disable email opens as a metric for your revenue. And this step is especially important if you know that more than half of your customers rely on iOS.
It’s also never too late to find a better way to track this data. We recommend using Google Analytics to help determine whether you are getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to email marketing.
YOUR NEXT MOVE
Now you know how to optimize your email after the iOS 15 Apple update. But new updates are always around the corner. Ask yourself: do you know who can help you make the most of your email marketing year after year?
Here at Upmkt, we specialize in all aspects of digital marketing and design. Email marketing is a particular specialty, and we’re ready to help transform your business.
But are you ready to discover how successful your business can be? If so, all you have to do is contact us today!