Updated: Nov 22, 2021
New privacy features in the recent release of Apple’s iOS 15 operating system are likely to signal a change in the way marketers use email. While roughly one-third of all email users open mail on their iPhones, other providers are expected to follow suit, particularly if the new features are widely implemented and lauded by users.
The new opt-in features allow users to mask their IP addresses and block email senders from tracking which recipients open their messages. Apple has said these new features are designed to limit information that marketers can collect, such as how many recipients opened an email -- a popular metric for gauging email campaign success – as well as factors such as recipients’ location. These email privacy features represent the next step in a progression away from user tracking, as evidenced by the trend to block third-party cookies from popular browsers.
Marketers would be well-served to begin thinking about different ways to achieve their email marketing goals and measure effectiveness, since open rates will no longer be reliable signals of how well a subject line captured attention or which version of an email fared better in an A/B test. Also, in this heightened-privacy world, marketers can’t depend on features of marketing automation software such as “send in recipient time zone” or “personalize best send time” if IP addresses are masked.
Here are a few suggestions of alternate approaches to email strategies:
Rely on click-through activity to determine whether recipients were interested enough in the topic of an email to follow the included links – which is the point of sending the email anyway. Use tracking links embedded in emails to determine how much traffic an email generated to a web page, blog, or other destination. You can also get more granular by using click maps or heat maps to determine which part of an email recipients spent the most time on, and therefore assumedly found most interesting.
Learn more about your customers and prospects so that your messaging and content is more interesting to them and they’re more likely to click through. You can do this by sending out surveys to gather preferences or by developing detailed user personas that represent recipients’ challenges and goals.
Create segments based on recipients’ geographic location in similar time zones in order to target the best time of day for each group without relying on IP address location information.
The bottom line is this – new email privacy features could rewrite some of email marketing best practices in a way that will ultimately serve both marketers and the companies or individuals they target. Without relying on open rates, marketers can turn their attention to more meaningful priorities such as building deeper relationships with prospects and customers through tailored, relevant content. And recipients will appreciate receiving messages more closely aligned with their interests, while also having the option to increase their email privacy.
Find out how Marketing Strategy Solutions can help you revamp your email marketing strategy. To schedule a consultation visit our services page.