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How Apple's iOS 15 is changing the email marketing game

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The email marketing industry has been revolutionized by the news regarding the new iOS 15 update , announced by Apple in recent days. Much is being said about it in forums, blogs and social networks, but how will the changes in iOS 15 affect the email marketing work currently carried out by online stores?

What do we know so far about the changes in iOS 15?

Before we dive into what's new with the new iOS, it's important to understand the context in which this announcement is happening. In the latest operating system update, Apple began moving forward with measures to offer its users the option to restrict the personal information they share with online services.

This is how the great novelty for iOS 14 was the protection of privacy in the monitoring of Facebook ads, making the analysis of information and the personalization of ads much more complicated. The user information that reaches those who create the ads is much more restricted and, although this only applies to Apple users, it affects the overall results.

In the iOS 15 update, Apple announced that it will make progress on email privacy . Although the beta version of this operating system has not yet been released (it is estimated that it will be at the end of summer 2021), Apple has confirmed that it will allow users of its mail application (known as Mail) the following functions:

  • Turn off tracking of the opening of your emails

  • Block tracking of your IP address

  • Mask your email to prevent it from being received by a website

What can we do against these ads?

These developments seem highly worrying for those who base their sales strategies on email marketing, since these changes will impact the way we analyze open rates, we know the location of our clients around the world and could potentially also limit the amount of users who finally decide to leave their email on our website.

The first reaction of many to this news was to declare the death of email marketing but, as we know, email is a very powerful and resistant tool: it has suffered harsh blows throughout its history but has always adapted to stay on its feet. Working with email marketing involves a lot of trial and error, flexibility and constant adaptation to new scenarios.

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How to prepare for the changes in iOS 15?

Here are some recommendations that you can start applying today , based on the official Klaviyo guides:

1. Record current open and click rates:

These are likely the last few months that we can access full data as we know it, so it's important to keep track of the open and click rates we typically receive . Although these numbers will not be able to be compared with those that we will receive after the application of iOS 15, they will be a beacon in the first months of adaptation to the new metrics.

The changes announced by Apple do not imply that we will be totally blind to email activity, but only that iOS 15 users who choose to restrict their privacy will no longer be tracked. For now, desktop and Android users (plus iPhone users who don't choose to restrict information) will remain visible.

This implies that the number of openings will naturally decline, but if we are proactive we will be able to understand what this is due to and make intelligent decisions following the metrics that will continue to be visible (clicks and conversions).

2. Create segments that are not guided by open rates:

Working in email marketing implies the creation of user bases that naturally interact with our online store, so the opening rate can become one among many other variables with which we can segment our audience .

It is very common to use metrics related to the opening of emails (for example, "all the people who have opened an email in the last 30 days"), but the reality is that we can also start using alternative variables, such as "people who have been active on the page” or “people who have clicked on our emails” to measure interaction. It's a good idea to start creating these segments while the open rates are still reliable, to make sure the numbers we're getting make sense.

It never hurts to remember that in the world of email marketing, it is always advisable to work with a user base that has interaction and interest in the brand that we are promoting. Accumulating thousands of emails that are not related to the store or that have already lost interest will only weaken our image compared to email services such as Gmail or Outlook that increasingly seek to protect their users from spam.



3. Start an SMS strategy:

The changes in iOS 15 for email marketing make the classic SMS, often ignored by online marketers, much more attractive. In SMS, there is no concept of "open rate" as we know it in email, since from the beginning the telephone companies prevent this information from being traceable to protect the security of users. However, by measuring the alternative variables of clicks and conversions, it is possible to guide yourself in the strategies that work and that do not work and make decisions based on them.

SMS is a direct way to communicate with potential customers since it is a much less polluted way than emails . If we compare the number of promotional emails that a person receives per day with the number of SMS, it is clear which one will receive more attention. Although in SMS it is advisable to send content less regularly and only to a high-engagement audience, it can be an outlet that can be put into practice today to diversify our communication channels.

4. Analyze the possibility of using a dedicated domain (“Dedicated Domain”):

When we work sending mass emails, it is possible to use a shared domain (“shared domain”) that is shared with other users or a dedicated domain (“dedicated domain”) unique to our store. A "shared domain" will give results based on a reputation that is generated through the behavior and practices of all the brands that share it. In this way, if the brands with which we share this domain do things well, we will benefit from these actions. But, otherwise, our "deliverability" (the chances of reaching the inbox) will be affected and, therefore, our general results as well.

In this way, we understand that using a "dedicated domain" allows us greater control of our strategies , our results and our relationship with current and future clients. If we maintain good email sending practices, the results can improve a lot, since we will no longer depend on what others do, but we are 100% responsible for our efforts and results.

A "shared domain" is more likely to fail Gmail's spam controls, which represents between 60-80% of our lists. With a "dedicated domain" we can build trust in our customers and users and achieve much higher open rates than with a "shared domain". This is because we will not be affected by what the other brands with whom we share that domain do. Our reputation will depend 100% on us.

When do we recommend activating a dedicated domain?

  • If constant open rates are maintained between 15-25%.

  • When more than 10,000 emails are sent per month.

  • When you have time to warm up that domain (between 4-8 weeks depending on the results).

5. Avoid panicking and get to work

As we mentioned earlier, these modifications are far from the death of email marketing . With a little preparation and following industry recommendations, we will be able to maintain the health of our account even without being able to access all the openings.

Anticipating changes is the best strategy that can be adopted to ensure a successful result. For our part, we will continue to keep you up to date with new developments as they arise, so subscribe to our newsletter so that you will find out when we publish other blogs. We also invite you to listen to our daily podcast, Ecommerce with Shopify , available on all platforms.

Posted by Lucía De Dominicis, Account Manager at ED Digital, passionate about the digital world and new technologies. He studied Social Communication in Buenos Aires, the city where he loves to live. Mariano Cárrega contributed content for this article.

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