Apple’s iOS 15 Will Have a Significant Impact on Email Marketing

Apple recently unveiled iOS 15, which will be available very soon. The majority of the new features are aimed at improving user privacy, data tracking, and security. Two features, “Mail Privacy Protection” and “Hide My Email,” are going to have a significant impact on email marketing. Both of these points will be addressed in this post.

Protection of Mail Privacy

Mail Privacy Protection will enable users of iOS 15 email to access remote content privately and without disclosing their IP addresses. As a result, the sender’s ability to track opens and forwards is disabled, and the recipient’s IP address, which determines the recipient’s physical location, is masked.

Mailchimp, MailUp, Constant Contact, and a slew of other email service providers include an invisible 1-pixel image in outgoing deployments. The image monitors whether and how frequently a recipient opens an email, resulting in the reporting of unique and gross open rates. This is time-honored and valuable information for email marketers, as it reflects the effect of subject lines, pre-headers, and overall subscriber engagement.

Marketers will now be blind to email opens for users who have opted-in to Mail Privacy on iOS 15. Other users, including those on desktop computers and Android devices, can still be tracked.

In 2021, the majority of emails will be opened on smartphones. iOS controls a sizable portion of that market. If Android follows suit, 98 percent of smartphone users will be able to opt out of disclosing their email opens.

Mail Privacy Protection is disabled by default in iOS 15. Users must voluntarily opt-in. However, once released, senders can anticipate a decline in reported open rates. Beyond subject lines and pre-headers, the impact is significant. The level of engagement with a user over time frequently has an effect on marketers’ segmentation tactics. Subscribers who open their messages less frequently, for example, may receive fewer messages with different creative.

Additionally, marketers purge inactive subscribers on a regular basis. Such database cleaning is critical to enhancing overall deliverability. Deployments with a high proportion of inactive recipients may end up in junk or spam folders, as internet service providers believe those emails are of low value. Apple’s latest privacy update makes it more difficult to delete inactive subscribers.

Finally, by analyzing open rates by domain (@gmail, @yahoo, @hotmail), it is possible to identify ISPs that have blocked emails or altered their deliverability in some way. Marketers will lose this ability with the new iOS email privacy option.

Hide my Email

Hide my Email is another new Apple feature that is available on iOS 15, macOS Monterey (which was announced earlier this month), and iCloud settings. The feature enables users to sign up for email offers using a randomly generated Apple-generated address rather than their actual email address. Following that, Apple forwards emails to the user’s primary email account. Users can easily delete this new email address, preventing it from spreading across the web.

Hide My Email creates a slew of complications for marketers. To begin, there is no easy way to determine whether a new email sign-up is a legitimate account or a “burner.” This is likely to result in deliverability issues, as subscribers can quickly delete their email, resulting in increased bounces and thus concern for ISPs, who may alter the email’s deliverability. (However, reputable email service providers purge “hard” bounces automatically, negating their impact on ISPs.)

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