How iOS 15 Will Impact Your Email Marketing Strategy and How to Adapt

By Kemal Warouw October 13, 2023

Email marketing strategy as we know it could change when Apple introduces their iOS 15 software update this coming fall. The company—which champions user data privacy as a working piece of their mission—previously released App Tracking Transparency in iOS 14.5, which prevented apps from tracking users’ data. That update saw over 90% of users enabling the feature, inevitably changing the digital world.

New features for iOS 15 will focus on email privacy, data tracking, and security. Indeed, we can expect many users to enable email privacy features in the next update. So, what does it mean for email marketers? Let’s explore some of the notable iOS 15 features and how you might consider remodeling your email marketing strategy to improve your business and better serve your customers.

Table of Contents 

  1. What are the new iOS 15 email privacy features? 
    1. Mail Privacy Protection
    2. Hide My Email 
  2. Why iOS 15 privacy features are important to email marketers 
  3. Adapting to the new Apple privacy update 
    1. Keep your email list healthy: clean or re-engage
    2. Start measuring email marketing campaign performance today
    3. Trust is key
    4. Diversify your marketing channels
  4. Key takeaways

What are the new iOS 15 email privacy features?

Apple’s new iOS 15 privacy features are great for users looking to protect their privacy online but they have also caused quite a buzz in the marketing community. Two features unveiled during the WWDC ‘21 Conference, Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email, could dramatically impact email marketing.

Mail Privacy Protection 

Mail Privacy Protection gives users more control of their privacy by preventing email senders from seeing whether or not their email has been opened. According to Apple:

“Mail Privacy Protection stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user.”

Additionally, this feature blocks users’ IP addresses, preventing companies and businesses from tracking online activity and determining their location.

Hide My Email 

iCloud subscribers will be able to create and use temporary, anonymous email addresses, sometimes referred to as burner addresses, inside the Mail app. According to Apple: 

“Hide My Email lets users share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inbox anytime they wish to keep their email address private.”

Likewise, Hide My Email allows users to create and remove as many email accounts as they need at any moment, allowing them to manage who may contact them.

Why iOS 15 privacy features are important to email marketers

Email marketing is one of the most efficient and powerful means of communicating with prospects. Therefore, it’s a great way to reach out and develop strong relationships with your customers or leads directly. Email marketers can achieve this by providing relevant, personalized, and valuable information throughout the buyer’s journey to help them achieve their goals. In short: Email marketing helps facilitate business and customer growth. 

  • There were roughly 3.9 billion daily email users globally in 2020—more than half of the world population. 
  • 80% of industry experts feel that email marketing improves customer retention.
  • 73% of millennials prefer business communications via email. 

With all of these eye-popping statistics surrounding email and its inherent marketing strategy, why should email marketers be worried? Well, Apple iPhone accounts for nearly half (47.1%) of the email client share as of May 2021. We can expect this number to increase once Apple implements iOS 15.

Besides, many email marketers utilize email service providers like HubSpot and MailChimp to track email marketing effectiveness and maximize email engagement through personalized content. These email service providers insert an invisible one-pixel picture inside the email content to measure email marketing effectiveness and interaction.

That being the case, Apple’s new update will prevent email marketers from collecting relevant information about users, making it harder for them to provide personalized content and relevant information that benefits subscriber experiences. Additionally, iOS 15 will prevent email marketers from accurately measuring their email marketing campaign effectiveness—making it harder to see how emails perform.

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Adapting to the new Apple privacy update

In anticipation of the iOS 15 launching this fall, we have compiled four tips for your business to adapt to the new email privacy world.

Keep your email list healthy: clean or re-engage

Before you dive deep into making changes to your email marketing strategy, make sure that you have a healthy email marketing list. See how many inactive subscribers you have and segment them into a separate list. You can either clean or re-engage the inactive subscribers. Removing inactive subscribers will result in better email deliverability, making it easier for you to measure your performance. 

Suppose you don’t want to delete inactive email users—you can try to re-engage them. Send relevant emails containing a call to action for an offer or simply a survey with an added incentive. This will encourage some of your inactive subscribers to check out your content and reignite their interest in your content and business.

Start measuring email marketing campaign performance 

Consider conducting A/B testing for your email marketing before developing your next marketing strategy. When Apple delivers the iOS 15 update, this stage will be critical for determining how your marketing campaigns will perform. You can check if the upcoming update influences your email marketing strategy using the information you obtained. Measure the following email performance metrics:

  • Click-through rate
  • Open rate
  • Conversion rate
  • Engagement over time

Apply your data as a benchmark to assess your marketing performance following the iOS 15 release. 

Trust is key

Customer loyalty is critical for a business’s short-term and long-term success. When you earn their trust, they will be your biggest supporters, vouching for your company via word-of-mouth and reviews. Also, when you build trust, your audience can adapt to shifts in your business and remain confident about the decisions you make—benefitting their experience in the end.

Reach out and ask your customers to disable the privacy features so you can gather data to improve their experience. Make sure you’re straightforward and transparent with how you use your customers’ data. Ask about the content they want to see from you and how they want to consume it. Having open communication throughout the process will instill a feeling of trust amongst your customers and leads.

Diversify your marketing channels

Suppose you solely rely on email to nurture your leads and customers. In that case, it’s a good idea to start looking toward other marketing channels and diversify your marketing strategy. Explore new marketing channels to market your products or services, like social media or video marketing. We recommend researching the best marketing channels according to your buyer personas.

Start by sending a survey to see if other marketing channels your customers or leads prefer to receive news and updates. In the meantime, you should keep collecting data for your marketing efforts in preparation for the new update.

Key takeaways

Email marketing is essential for organizations to connect with prospects and consumers while delivering relevant and valuable information. It’s an excellent marketing medium for establishing trust throughout the buyer’s journey. However, iOS 15 will create a hurdle for email marketers, thanks to My Privacy Protection and Hide My Email. Surely, we’re confident that email service providers like HubSpot and MailChimp will find a way to develop new email solutions for businesses.

In the meantime, before the update is released, start monitoring your email marketing success, running A/B tests, and experimenting with new marketing channels and techniques to get prepped. As always, keep trust as the guiding premise of all the relationships you forge with prospects and customers, as it will help your business health in the long run.

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