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Inbound Marketing Insights

How Apple's iOS 15 Email Privacy Features Will Impact Marketers

Posted by Elyse Flynn Meyer

Apple's upcoming iOS 15 privacy features will start to impact how you can track your email open rates. This will change how you analyze your email metrics, determine performance, and gauge how you can continue to optimize your email engagement. Right now, when an open rate is high, it means that your subject line did its job, you sent the email during the right day and time, and your subscribers are eager to see what you have to say. When your open rate is low, it signals that your email subscribers might not even be reading your content. How you analyze that will start to change with these new iOS 15 privacy features. 

Here are some of the new privacy features for email marketing for iOS 15 users:

  • Mail Privacy Protection: Apple Mail will start to allow users to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.

  • iCloud+: An iCloud paid subscription with more privacy features will prevent companies from tracking Safari users who opt-in so third parties can no longer see which website Safari users are frequenting.

  • Hide My Email: This feature is part of the subscription and enables users to give sites a "fake" email address. While promotional emails sent from the brand to the fake address will still go to someone's inbox and shouldn't impact important communication. However, companies will now not be able to see the person's actual email address unless they choose to share it. 

While the paid-for features may not make a considerable impact, email privacy protection is going to be something to watch. Specifically, this will impact how marketers can track email opens and the effect of A/B testing, specifically when testing the subject line, From Name, and Reply Email, to see the impact of those tests.

As a marketer, here are a few things to remember with these new email privacy features:

1) Don't panic since this doesn't impact everyone on your list.
Although Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices are currently 35% of the email provider market share globally, Google, Outlook, and other email providers haven't announced similar privacy features yet. So for users on Google, Outlook, and other providers, their open and IP data will still provide actionable tracking information for marketers.

2) Consider an adjustment to open rate goals.
While the marketing community and software companies are getting adjusted to this change and how it will impact metrics, it may be good to adjust your open rate goals. Open rates certainly aren't going away, but you could have a decent amount of your email audience that becomes un-trackable with this update. You should monitor your open rates once this officially goes live to determine your new low, average, and high open rates with these new privacy features. 

3) Start tracking other email metrics.
While your email marketing open rate is a crucial email marketing metric, it's not the only piece of information that is important to track. The other metrics that you should be tracking more closely (if you're not already) include:
- Click rate and click-through-rate
- Delivery rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Spam rate
- Reply rate
- Overall performance in your click maps

4) Utilize metrics outside of email to determine digital engagement.
Since email opens won't be entirely accurate anymore with these privacy changes, you'll need to determine how to segment your engaged and unengaged contacts. Start to look at their web activity, form fills, social engagement, and more to determine your active contacts. Analyzing these other metrics will help you see who should stay on your list, who should be considered for a re-engaged campaign, and who may need to be purged from your database. 

5) Monitor your other HubSpot metrics tracking email engagement.
There are many HubSpot properties that companies use to track email engagement metrics. At least in the short-term while marketing automation programs determine how this is going to impact tracking, analytics, and reporting, keep an eye on the following properties in your HubSpot account that will likely stop showing data for your Apple Mail contacts. Again, there's nothing you can do to stop this change from happening, but understanding how it's impacting your database and your metrics is key to knowing how to start modifying your strategy.

- Last marketing email open date
- Marketing emails opened [#]
- First marketing email open date
- Sends since last engagement
- Recent sales email open date
- Last engagement date

We will continue to update this post as new information becomes available. For now, it's essential to be aware that this change is coming so you can start to prepare yourself and your team for the upcoming changes. Stay the course with your email campaigns and actively track how and if this is impacting performance. Remember, it's just going to affect your contacts using Apple Mail, so this may or may not have an impact on your metrics.  If you have questions on how this may impact performance, you can learn more about our email marketing optimization program, which focuses exclusively on how you can get more value from your email marketing and marketing automation programs. 

Learn More About Email Optimization

Topics: Email Marketing

Elyse Flynn Meyer

Posted by Elyse Flynn Meyer

Elyse Flynn Meyer is the Owner and Founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions, an inbound marketing agency and HubSpot Diamond Partner based in Phoenix, Arizona. Elyse is the author of the book, Mastering Inbound Marketing Your Complete Guide to Building a Results-Driven Inbound Strategy. She is also a frequent contributor to Forbes on digital marketing.