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How has iOS 15 changed the email marketing landscape? 

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Although nearly every marketer knows Apple’s major iOS update in June 2021 included enhancements to email privacy, as an email marketer you need to be aware of how these changes affect your brand’s communication ecosystem — so you can continue to build and grow lasting relationships with your subscribers. And with a year under everyone’s belt now, let’s get to three questions marketers are still trying to answer.

1. How did iOS 15 affect email marketing? 

With the release of iOS 15, Apple introduced Mail Privacy Protection (MPP). Essentially, users are now empowered with more control over how much data email senders have access to — so now it’s harder for marketers to access subscribers’ personal info.  

While MPP is a good thing for consumers, it forces most marketers to adjust their approach. Many details that you once had access to, including some IP addresses and pre-loaded email content, will now be impossible to obtain. This means you will have less data on your open rates and knowing who opened your email will get a little murky. 

Luckily, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do your job effectively. Rather, you just need to know which metrics to look at and what to evaluate.

2. Which email marketing metrics should you monitor?

You may not have data that you’ve previously relied on for successful email campaigns, but you still have what you need. Here’s what to keep an eye on: 

  • Clicks / CTR — What links are your readers clicking and how often? 
  • Conversions — How many of your email opens result in the desired conversion? 
  • Unsubscribes — Are readers unsubscribing more or less often than before? 

To offset the loss of some automatically generated data, leverage all customer data that you do have access to. Use these insights to power your campaigns and send 1:1 messages that your customers actually care about in real-time. 

Of course, you will still want to keep an eye on email deliverability and open rates, but nothing about iOS should be the cause of any changes you see there. 

3. What should you evaluate to power future campaigns?

As we pass one year from the iOS 15 update, here’s what we recommend you ask:

  1. Across all marketing channels, has engagement increased or decreased? 
  2. Have there been any changes to your customer lifetime value (CLV)? 
  3. What is the average order value vs the year prior to the iOS update? 
  4. Are your customer retention metrics better or worse than before? 

It’s not uncommon for marketers to notice a change in performance after a major update or algorithm change. If you’ve noticed underperformance, a 360-degree view of marketing analytics might give you the insights you need to make appropriate changes. 

As always don’t assume your email marketing performance has decreased because of decreased tracking. Look at the big picture of your business and the blended attribution of all your marketing channels together. 

Turning to cross-channel marketing

For better or worse, you might find that email marketing performance has had an impact on some of your other marketing channels since the release of iOS 15. However, cross-channel marketing messaging can enable brands to communicate in intelligent ways. In turn, they create more fulfilling relationships with those who matter most: subscribers and customers.  

For further reading on this topic, check out these resources on the impacts of Apple iOS 15.