Apple iOS15 Impact on Email Marketing

With Apple now deploying its new mobile operating system iOS15, all email marketers, irrespective of the bulk email provider being used, will be seeing a false increase in Opening Rates over the next few weeks and months. In the big picture, Apple Mail users who opt into this update will also be able to hide their location, IP address and stop senders seeing if/when they opened the email.

We have set out here a few things you can do to mitigate its effect.

Why An Increase in Open rates?

iOS15, seen as a win for privacy advocates, will effectively be opening all emails received using Apple Mail, including the tracking pixels, irrespective of whether the recipient actually opened the email.  As a result, your email opening rates will be artificially inflated for Apple mail users (Mobile Phone).


'Open rates' has always been a misleading (Vanity) stat as some email open agents download images (Including tracking pixels) automatically, some don't.  This is why we always emphasise to customers that this stat is for indication purposes and not always a hard fact.


What Should You Do?

If you're an ActiveDEMAND user then as soon as possible, you should at least create a dashboard item loading the Email OS Agent widget and set the timeline at say 'Last 6 Months' to get an idea of how many of your emails are opened using the Mac Agent.  A quick review of some of our own and larger customer accounts has shown anything from 6% to 26% Apple Agent users.  It's really going to be dependant on your customer type and market.

Review your Drip Campaign workflows for decision filters that use the query “Email Opened?”.  ActiveDEMAND has the ability to create custom filters that many of its competitors do not have, Email open agent/OS is an existing filter criteria you can add.  We could further filter all positive responses to “Email Opened?” with a secondary filter….Does Email Agent Contain MAC?  You could then treat recipients with MAC agents differently to other operating system agents in your workflows.


Review your processes like 'Add to Campaign', contact segmentation, list building, Reports….etc and other background automation's, review your filter criteria and consider more reliable engagement metrics like click through's, replies and page visits.


As we learn more about iOS15 we will keep you updated here.

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