Apple’s next operating system (iOS 15) change will shake up the relatively calm email marketing industry upon its release. Focusing on privacy, this update is bringing about some major changes to email marketers’ ability to reach users in the form of loading remote content privately and hidden email addresses. If you are a marketer, stay calm; there are ways to overcome these changes.
What are the Upcoming Frightening Changes?
- You can no longer trace if emails have been opened; without this, it is harder to know if an email campaign is effective (no timers, location-based information, or time-based email send-outs).
- You cannot segment data; this complicates sending specific offers to the associated clients.
- Access to statistics will be changed; it will be harder to get accurate numbers when looking at personal statistics.
These changes are not pleasant, but they can be overcome if handled correctly. The hardest obstacle to overcome is the loss of the ability to track if emails have been opened; however, there is a technical solution. Email service providers will not leave their customers without a fix for this issue. These providers will also be able to develop an algorithm that can inform on the number of opened emails from the amount of clicks generated in the campaign.
Another solution to the iOS 15 marketing problems lies in the basic information included about customers when purchasing and item or service. Marketers will still have access to the location, IP address, and the products that customers buy—therefore, only customers that left solely their email will be completely anonymous.
Customers that only leave their email when buying can still be marketed to if they are given an online survey and are convinced to login to a loyalty program (supplying their email address in the process). This way, their email can be linked to the other information they provide. The downside to the “online survey” method is that some visitors may be lost due to too many requests prior to making a purchase. Because of this, the process and survey must be as seamless as possible.
Because of these changes, marketers will be forced to seek out new key performance indicators (KPIs) or to put a heavier focus on other, old KPIs. A/B testing will be used to see what methods bring the most profit. As you read this article, you can A/B test subject lines for 4 hours and see which subject line generates the highest revenue. You will be surprised to see that in some cases the subject line with the higher open rate, will not deliver the higher revenue to the campaign.
It should be noted that anonymous email accounts are not a new feature—users can already use services to create them. If campaigns or companies wanted to, they could block certain email services (like Mailinator) that provide anonymous mailboxes combined with virtual private networks (VPNs) so users cannot “trick” sign-up forms. No campaign or company is doing this, however. Why?
The answer is simple: email addresses have become one of the basic pieces of identifying information that people utilize (along with phone numbers, physical addresses, et cetera). People sculpt their inbox to reflect their interests and life—making it invisible does not improve the quality of the mailbox. Instead, their inbox would simply get more junk mail and less personalized advertisements.
Gmail will not easily give up its access to data and information—it will create a workaround so that incoming emails can be filtered. Gmail’s filtering algorithm is complicated, and a lack of certain data points can lead to the sending of many decent, white emails to the spam folder. If its filtering algorithm was limited, it would be sent back to the Stone Age; no one would know which emails were going to which inbox.
Personally, I like to keep my email inbox clean; it is my identity and ensuring the correct things are sent to it is paramount. I like that companies send personalized advertisements to me and, when I decide I don’t like a certain company, I can unsubscribe or send certain emails to spam. I want companies to know what I do and don’t like and for them not to spam me and ruin my inbox.
A note to Apple: allow me to clean my house without forcing anonymity onto me without reason. Cookies in emails make them more personalized and they do not endanger the privacy of the user.
Here is my email: email@example.com. Send me your thoughts, I am waiting for your comments. I may not be a prophet, but if I had to guess, the email industry will quickly adjust to these new changes. I wouldn’t be afraid and this update may finally bring some refreshing change to the email marketing industry. Bring it on, Apple!