Last month Apple released iOS 10, which among its several frustrations and improvements included a couple of minor — yet important — changes to Apple’s Mail app. These changes give both excitement and a little worry for email marketers, as do any changes in a relationship.

Changes to Apple’s iOS 10 Mail app should excite and maybe worry email marketers.

We’re going to look at three ways these Apple Mail updates will affect the relationship consumers have with their emails.

We’re Engaged!

A picture is worth a… 42% increase in click-through rate.

Moving the “Load All Images” option to the top of the email will save your thumbs a mini workout.

And when those images don’t appear, neither does that CTR. For anyone who chooses to save their data and iPhone battery by saying no to “Load Remote Images,” they know that previously (iOS9 and before) the “Load All Images” option was at the very bottom of each email, which took a mini thumb workout just to find.

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Enter: iOS10 Mail updates.

Apple has given back those missed CTR and conversion opportunities by moving the “Load All Images” option front and center in one of its two new banners. iPhone users can give their thumbs a break from scrolling, and put them to use on those images.

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Trust Issues

Customers not only gained the option to immediately load images, but also to immediately unsubscribe.

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Okay, we’ll admit it, this could break up a few relationships. Brands communicate to their customers through relationship marketing. Building a dedicated, loyal audience is key.

Apple has inserted the idea of leaving that relationship (unsubscribing) into the very moment an email is opened.

Apple has inserted the idea of leaving that relationship (unsubscribing) into the very moment an email is opened. Previously, this was only seen at the bottom, tucked away under the disclaimers and social footers of the world. Now, it’s center stage.

So naturally, trust issues develop when jumping ship becomes the first thing a viewer sees. This, however, is old news to those with a different ESP – Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft were already supporting list-unsubscribe in headers. Unsubscribing is also required by law (FTC’s CAN-SPAM Act of 2003) to be included in every email.

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The reason this update is a game-changer comes from the wide market share Apple holds in the mobile field — selling 74.78 million iPhones in its first quarter of 2016 and having held over 90% of the profit share for the entire fiscal year of 2015. This means at least 75 million people will now be introduced to a shiny, new banner that prompts them with an idea to leave some of their relationships.

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A Healthy Relationship

Although it’s not our favorite — nobody in a relationship wants to be abandoned — the healthier approach to this change is realizing customers’ interests change as well, and that’s okay. A 21-year-old college student will not want the same things in just a couple years when they graduate, nor in 10 years when they join the ranks as a parent or when they’re working to save toward retirement.

Email marketers have to live with a one-way street, putting themselves (and by that I mean their brand) out there knowing they will hear little back. When’s the last time you thanked your favorite brand for sending you that insider 40% off coupon?

Marketers should regularly clean their email lists, because size does not equate to engagement.

However, marketers need to clean their lists — size does not equate to engagement — because even if an email reaches 3 million people, how many of those are actually opening, clicking, and engaging with that message?

Growing a list of truly interested subscribers, rather than just a number, is how to be a good partner. Learn more about growing email lists effectively in this DEG blog post.

Happily Ever After

iOS 10’s update to Mail is significant because it benefits both the consumer and the brand.

Consumer Benefit – Subscribers can continue to save their data & battery life by continuing to opt-out of automatically loading images, while having a quicker option to see them when they want, and hopefully engage with them.

Brand Benefit – Keeping a clean, engaged list by allowing those with a change of heart to unsubscribe, rather than hitting spam or just ignoring messages (which kills open rates), is a blessing in disguise.

Giving more power to Apple users will create more efficient, targeted audiences for brands, which is undoubtedly smart.

See how our award-winning campaign engaged and boosted Hallmark Baby’s email audience.

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  • Jay Herder

    Jay Herder

    5 years
    Great article!