iOS 15: Email Marketing & Re-Aligning Metrics

Apple’s iOS15 operating system brought with it another shake-up for digital marketers and data analytics. What’s the challenge this time? Mail Privacy Protection, and the ability to block brands from collecting data on email open rates.

So what do these changes mean for you? An altered email marketing strategy, and overall approach to how you are reaching your fans digitally. Read on for some tactics on how to get ahead of these changes.

Major changes with iOS15 :

  • “Open Rate Tracking.” Now that Apple preloads images in emails, pixels that track user data like open rates may be inflated.
  • “IP address blocking.” Apple allows users to hide their (city-level) location data which poses a challenge for email marketers who track activity based on location.
  • Ability to hide email addresses. When users opt-in for this feature, email marketers can find it challenging to obtain reliable data such as CTR.

The Efficacy of Email Marketing:

Don't worry, it’s not all doom & gloom- email marketing still works! And it’s still a fantastic way to reach fans.

The question today is: how do you overcome these challenges?

Tactical Guide to get ahead of iOS 15:

Analyze your audience: Before you can truly assess the impact of iOS 15 on your email marketing strategy, it’s important to understand who your fans are & how they interact with your emails. Are they iOS or Android users? How are you defining your most engaged vs least engaged users? Understand your baseline first, so that you can track the impact of iOS15 on your brand in your next reporting period.

Spring cleaning: iOS 15 will make it more difficult to see the distinction between active users. To get ahead of this, use your current data set to filter out unengaged subscribers. This will allow you to focus your email content and strategy towards engaged subscribers leading to better attribution levels. Talk to the fans that want to hear from you.

Go even more direct: SMS. Yes, we went there. Start investing in and exploring SMS marketing today if you haven’t already. Not only does it get better open rates in comparison to emails, younger audiences prefer it to emails. While text messaging is not a replacement for emails, it can help supplement your current email strategies leading to a boost in your engagement levels.

Recalibrate your goals: Sure, open rate tracking may never be the same. But, that leaves room for your brand and marketing team to focus on other KPIs that haven’t yet been affected. Additionally, you can still utilize best-practice strategies like testing segments, subject lines, etc - just with an outlook that accounts for new tech adaptations.

Invest in First-Party Data and Centralize: First-party data comes directly from your fans and is explicitly consent-driven. Shifting to a first-party mindset will allow you to own your network, empower your fans to engage with your brand and make your marketing dollars work harder. You can create an environment where insights are readily available by centralizing your data from across different platforms.

Opt-in’s Everywhere: This one’s not necessarily a tactic for battling against iOS15, but it is something that will allow you to increase your addressable audience, and see better results with your email marketing. As said before, email marketing really does work, and it’s a fantastic way to directly reach your fans. The best way to get ahead is to stay proactive. Subscription lists take time to build, so invest in the opportunity to grow it anywhere you can. And, this opt-in should also include SMS, even if SMS is just an opportunity on the horizon for you.

What’s on the Horizon?

There’s little doubt that we as digital marketers, will have many more curveballs and privacy changes thrown our way in the coming months and years. The goal today should be to find ways to stay ahead of the curve and to build an adaptable process.

Once you’ve tackled the changes brought about by iOS15, your next step should be taking back ownership of your data. Build infrastructure that you can rely on, and with it, you can create even more value-driven content & personalized experiences that will, in turn, increase your addressable audience. As always - when you know your fans, you can market smarter.


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