Each year consumers wait with anticipation as Apple rolls out its newest products and updates. This year is no different. At the WWDC on 08 June 2021, Apple announced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP) as a new feature in their upcoming iOS 15 release. MPP will allow consumers privacy control within the Mail app, which will limit what marketers can do with consumer email data. To stay ahead of this update, we have compiled everything we know about how iOS 15 will likely impact email marketing and how marketers can prepare their strategy for it. 

A look at what’s changing in iOS 15 

The MPP rollout with iOS 15 comes on the heels of major data privacy regulations that were introduced in the last five years. After consumers vocalized their concerns about personal information that brands can gather without their consent, government entities cracked down on how that information is collected and distributed. As a leader in innovative technology, Apple responded with MPP to give consumers power over personal identities and digital footprints back to consumers. 

When enabled within the Mail app on any Apple device, MPP stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. This does three things: 

  1. Prevents senders from knowing when an email is opened.
  2. Masks the consumers’ IP addresses, so online activity and location cannot be tracked.
  3. Allows users to keep their email address private with the Hide My Email feature, by creating randomized, unique email addresses that forward to their email inbox and are not associated with the email they use to purchase products online. 

As we anticipate this rollout, it is clear that marketers cannot ignore how this will impact their email tactics and strategies.  

MPP impact for marketers 

According to the Litmus 2021 Email Client Market Share Study, Apple-related products represent more than 60 percent of all email client usage and 93 percent of all mobile email opens. No marketer can hide from the impact iOS 15 will have on their email strategy. The MPP pixel blocker changes four key areas for marketers: 

  1. Open Optimization: Subject line tests and optimization services are likely to yield unreliable results when your only evaluation is based on open rates. 
  2. Time of Open Experiences: Send time optimization will be less reliable when open tracking is unable to determine subscriber engagement. “Live” experiences that are delivered based on collecting subscriber data at the time of open (ex: countdown timers, store locators, etc.) will also be less effective. 
  3. Open Engagement Targeting: Email list targeting and segmentation strategies that leverage open activity will likely be unreliable. Click engagement KPIs will need to be defined and benchmarked over emails delivered instead of benchmarked over emails opened. 
  4. Purchase Attribution: If adoption rate of Hide My Email is high and engagement is tracked with a fake email address, but a customer purchases with their real email address, it will be difficult to tie attribution between the records. 

These impacts give marketers two options. Continue with your current email marketing strategy and risk collecting unreliable data, or you pivot to adjust for the new landscape. 

3 ways to pivot for this strategic opportunity 

The iOS update reinforces existing email strategic mandates that do not require the use of email opens. Prepare for this change in data collection by making the three adjustments listed below. 

  1. Grow Your 1P Data Asset: Invest in experience platforms that deliver consumer value and create consumable, actionable first-party (1P) data. For example, great options include loyalty programs, interactive digital experiences (quizzes, surveys, trivia, etc.), preference centers, and DTC (direct-to-consumer) platforms. You can also benefit from investing in CDP (customer data platform) technology to build a single view of the consumer and create a personal experience.
  2. Create Seamless Experiences: Consumers interact with your brand across all your channels – your experience planning and delivery should be planned to deliver across all your channels too – not just email. Since we are still a few months out from the iOS 15 rollout, take the time to build your library now to scale personalized experiences and content.
  3. Connect Marketing to Business Value: Redefine success by giving more weight to business outcomes rather than digital engagements. Start by reviewing & enhancing reports and analytics efforts to ensure analyses are focused on navigating the consumer journey ahead – not what is already behind the consumer.

Would you benefit from having an email marketing expert in your back pocket? Schedule a meeting with our team to level up your email strategy. 

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