Apple iOS 15 and Open Rates

Apple announced that in September they would be releasing iOS15 and MacOS Monterey. Typically Apple adds some new bells and whistles that they think folks will want, and a few security fixes that they don’t usually talk about, but there was one security feature that got a lot of attention Mail Privacy Protection

Back in June at Apples Worldwide Developer Conference, they announced new iOS15 privacy features, one of them being Mail Privacy Protection. While Apple made the announcement back in June, there hasn’t been a whole lot of information from them on how they plan to implement the new features.

What is Mail Privacy Protection?

In Apples own words “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.”

How does this impact me?

From a marketing perspective, if you relied heavily on Open Rates to determine your contacts’ engagement, then this information is going to become fairly irrelevant. Once the update is rolled out, and folks run the update, you may lose insight into who’s engaging with your emails and who isn’t.

Now, before you freak out, this isn’t completely automatic, and it won’t impact all of your clients (unless you only deal with Mac users and Mac products). While this change does apply to the native email application on both iOS devices as well as Mac desktops and laptops that have upgraded to the latest OS, it does not apply to folks who use other email clients (where’s my Outlook fans out there?), or who use only web-based email such as Gmail or Microsoft 365. 

So what do I do?

First and foremost…….DON’T PANIC, have a plan and take action now.

Before the changes go into effect this is a good time to get some baselines to measure against when the changes happen. Using this data you’ll be able to work through and understand how the changes may be impacting your business. Take this opportunity to move away from Open Rates and grow into more reliable and accurate ways to measure engagement.

Here’s some suggestions you can implement right away

  1. This is a good time to clean up your list. While you still have access to the metric of who opens and who doesn’t use this to segment your contacts. There’s also some good list cleaning services that can help purge dirty or questionable data. There is a good article on ActiveCampaigns Blog that goes into detail on email verification and the benefits of having a clean list.
  2. Leave the security blanket of Open Rates behind and start watching link clicks. While Open Rates can give you a false sense of security because they can also be unreliable, watching and tracking Click-Through Rates will measure real action taken. How many times have you seen where a single contact “opened” your email 50 times? Now, your content may have indeed been that amazing and resonated with that one contact so much they just couldn’t resist opening it again and again, but I doubt it (sorry). This is more likely because the email was forwarded, or even an email preview triggered the open action, and your contact never actually saw it. Click-Through Rates on the other hand show real action, the contact opened your email (or even just saw it in the preview), and then they clicked on a link. 
  3.  Implement Split Testing of subject lines and content. With so many factors that go into deliverability and engagement, it makes sense to test multiple methods and not just rely on one subject and one block of content. Split Test your subject lines, see which one resonates more with your contacts. Then use Conditional Content for your different segments, changing text, images, even CTA‘s. Predictive Sending is another aspect that will help. While this one can take a little time for the system to “learn” when the right time to send it, it can have a positive impact on your engagement. Sending the right message, to the right contact, at the right time will reap a positive dividends in the end, but it takes patience, don’t expect an overnight improvement. 
  4. Have an end goal to measure. Going back to the Click-Through Rate, don’t just watch the clicks, what result did you want after the click? Did you want them to schedule a call using Calendly? Maybe you wanted them to get to the checkout in ThriveCart. The point being don’t just look at one piece of data, you have access to key pieces of information, use it to guide your business decisions.

What's next?

Make a plan and take action. To quote the legendary Zig Ziglar “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”

If you take action now, you’re setting your business up for success, but if you do nothing then that’s exactly what you’ll get in return. Don’t wait until your engagement is in the tank and then have a knee-jerk reaction to try and fix it overnight, that will end in disaster for you.

A good resource to learn how to implement the pieces is the ActiveCampaign Community, here you will find forums, online training, and more.

If you’re still stuck, or just don’t have time you can always reach out to us and we’ll be more than happy to discuss your needs and what is needed to get to your goal.