How does Apple's iOS15 update impact email marketing campaigns?

Richard Hatfield
Richard Hatfield
24 Nov, 2021

In our latest blog we look at the challenges posed by the new Apple privacy updates on email marketing.

For many of our clients, a key part of their marketing strategy is built around strategic email campaigns – and one of the key metrics for measuring their success is to track email open rates.

Not only has this been a great way of benchmarking the impact of a campaign, but marketing teams have been able to look at other metrics such as the timing of emails, when they’re opened and what happens once a reader clicks through to its content.

What has changed since Apple’s iOS15 update in September 2021?

In a nutshell, this is going to make it harder for the success of email campaigns opened on Apple Mail platforms to be measured solely on open rates. Apple now allows users to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses, and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.

This latest update also covers iCloud+ (subscriptions) with enhanced privacy features which prevent sites from tracking Safari users who opt in, and allows users to see which websites they’re sending information to.  Additionally, Hide My Email (within iCloud+) is a new email address-cloaking feature that enables users to give sites a “fake” email address. This means that companies won’t be able to know the real identity of a recipient unless they choose to share it.

How much impact will iOS15 have on the future email marketing?

Understandably, there’s considerable concern in the marketing industry about the impact these features will have. 

From a buyer’s perspective, these new privacy protocols are actually a game changer. The buyer now has far more control over how their information and data is used, which means that big corporations no longer have free reign to create markets based on harvesting reams of data, trends and metrics by having what seemed like open access to their customers’ email marketing campaign reading behaviours.

“In essence, what this means is that companies now need evaluate the email marketing metrics they measure and focus more on building trusted relationships with their audience rather than assuming they have a right to all their behavioural data.  By building trust, customers will be more willing to opt in to sharing their data.”  Richard Hatfield

For Applied clients, this is already very much the case. So, the future for your email marketing campaigns has to be built around further developing the trust that underpins the relationships you already have.  This means investing more time in explaining how and when you use data collected from the campaigns that you launch throughout the year.  And it’s something we can help you with.

What next? So where do we go from here?

Watch this space. Our advice is to keep an eye on updates from Apple.  The impact of this latest update is still being evaluated, so we’ll be keeping tabs on things and providing you with more updates in future.

Apple accounts for around 35% but of global email traffic, but it isn’t the only platform out there. Google, Outlook and others have yet to declare their hand on privacy. And for the time being, their privacy rules aren’t as restrictive. We recommend;

Reviewing your open rate goals, and lowering them. We know this metric is important to you – but our advice is to lower the threshold for open rates so that success is based on this new world order. A vast proportion of your email audience could become untrackable.

Looking at other metrics. Clicks and click through rates – if you’re sending links to products and blogs, then a high click through rate will mean you’re creating quality content that is engaging with your audience. 

Quality not quantity! Traffic to your website – tracking URLs to links on your website also helps you see what is driving your audience to key areas on your website. Clickmaps are also another great way to analyse what content catches your readers’ attention and where they go next!

If you’d like more information, or to talk through ways we can help you with your next email marketing campaign, please contact Applied Marketing Strategist Richard Hatfield 


How does Apple's iOS15 update impact email marketing campaigns?