As one of the HubSpot blog’s email marketers, one of the most important metrics I use to measure email success is open rate.
If the open rate is high, it indicates that your subject line has done its job of attracting readers, sending you email at the most interesting time of the day, or your subscribers eagerly waiting for your content to get to their inboxes. When it’s low, it signals that your email subscribers may not even read your content.
But now, the way email marketers take advantage of open rates could change with iOS 15’s recently announced privacy features.
At Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June, the company announced the launch of a handful of new iOS 15 privacy features, including:
- Data protection for emails (free): According to reports from Litmus, those with early access to iOS 15 and other tech journalists, Apple Mail will allow users to opt for email privacy features that mask IP addresses and prevent third parties from opening emails or other IP -Data to track.
- iCloud + (subscription): An iCloud subscription with additional privacy features, including a VPN-like private relay feature that prevents websites from tracking Safari users who log in and preventing users from seeing which websites they are sending information to.
- Hide my email (within iCloud +): An email address hiding feature that allows users to assign a “fake” email address to websites. While promotional emails sent to the fake address by the brand should still go to a person’s inbox and shouldn’t interfere with important communications, brands can only see the person’s real address if the contact shares it.
While the paid features may not have much of an impact for marketers as they require users to purchase a service, Apple Mail’s free privacy feature has already caused a stir in the marketing community.
So far, Apple has only said about this feature: “In the Mail app, Mail Privacy Protection prevents senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they are receiving a message Open and mask the email. ” your IP address so that it cannot be linked to other online activities or used to determine your location. “
Although Apple didn’t specifically say whether Mail Privacy will be an opt-in or an automatic feature, some iOS testers shared pictures showing that the Mail app asks them to turn on Mail Privacy when they call up the app:
Apple didn’t add too much to its mail privacy feature, but marketers say it could impact open rate tracking and email-based A / B testing.
While this move may seem scary, it isn’t all that surprising as it follows a trend toward internet privacy adoption by tech giants. Most recently, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update restricted mobile app tracking by asking users to share information when they open an app after downloading it. In the meantime, Google has been expanding its privacy sandbox while preparing advertisers and marketers for Chrome’s removal of third-party cookies in 2022.
When it comes to Apple’s iOS 15 pivots, not only are marketers surprised, but many – including members of the HubSpot team – believe this will be a positive change to the user experience.
“Since its inception, HubSpot has relentlessly focused on helping companies match the way they market and sell with the way people shop and buy. Our founders developed the inbound marketing philosophy in the early 2000s, and Apple’s moves are only there to fuel those trends, “said Will DeKrey, group product manager of Campaigns at HubSpot.
“Buyers should be responsible for the data they share, not sellers. And big companies shouldn’t create markets to track and sell personal information that gives them an information edge over smaller companies, ”DeKrey says.
“That means every single company, big or small, has to get better and better at building trusting relationships with their audiences and earning the right to know who they are and what they are interested in.”
“It is true for people today that they want BOTH privacy AND personalization. They still want targeted content and messages that suit their interests. With the changes at Apple, email marketers may need to focus even more on creating remarkably relevant content that engages their audience instead of experimenting with headlines just to see if they get a click, ”explains DeKrey.
“Personalization won’t go away. Conversion optimization won’t go away. A / B tests won’t go away. But each of them needs to focus more on building deeper relationships and more meaningful actions, ”DeKrey concludes
While Apple’s recent open tracking pivot might be great for iOS users who want to feel more secure, we know email marketers still have a lot of questions.
To help email marketers cope with potential changes, here are some tips and strategies teams can consider as the launch of iOS 15 approaches.
How email marketers can navigate Apple’s pending privacy changes
1. Follow the updates from Apple.
Although Apple’s iOS 15 features have been announced, we don’t yet know much about how this will affect email and IP address tracking. For example, although it looks like this feature requires an opt-in, Apple hasn’t specifically confirmed it.
Over the next several months, HubSpot’s own email product team will be reviewing the change and considering solutions if it has a significant impact on the open rate.
“At HubSpot’s email product team, we’ll take the time to consider what the best next steps for our customers. In this evolving email landscape, our priority will be to help our marketers continue to create impactful emails and get the most out of our email tool, ”says Shane Janssens, E- Mail Product Manager at HubSpot.
As we understand more about these new features and how they affect HubSpot’s email analytics, we’ll update this post with more information and links to helpful resources to keep you posted.
2. Remember, this change will not affect all email readers.
Although Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices account for over 35% of email providers’ global market share, Google, Outlook, and other email providers haven’t announced similar privacy measures, which means their open and IP data is still solid Tracking information for email marketers.
While you should be wary of other companies like Google or Microsoft catching up on email privacy, the important thing to remember is that you will receive open data from them for now and still give some judgments about the success of Opens can from these email providers.
3. Consider adjusting the open rate goals.
While open rates are not disappearing anytime soon, a large portion of the target email audience could no longer be tracked. Because of this, you may need to lower or change your open rate goals to determine your new low, average, and high open rates.
If your goals are set by a manager above you, it is important to review and communicate how many openings you typically get from iOS users so that your manager and team can assess how these might change once they are introduced. You can also consider tracking your email open rates for about a month after launch to see what new averages look like based on hard data.
4. Use other email marketing data.
While open rate is an important KPI for email marketing in many companies, it is certainly not the only data you can use to determine if your email content is doing well. In fact, when sending HubSpot blog emails, the open rate is just one of many metrics I look at. Here are a few others that I want to continue to focus on even if open rates are hit:
- Clicks and click rates: When you share links to content like blogs, product pages, and offers via email, the number of clicks and your click-through rates can tell you how many or how often email readers interacted with and clicked on your content. High clicks or clicks could indicate that your content was very engaging, while lower clicks or clicks could indicate that readers were less interested or were flipping through your emails.
- Traffic to your website: With software like HubSpot or the use of tracking URLs, you can determine how much traffic got to your website from a single email – or what content sent the most visitors to your website. If you’re trying to build your audience, get people to buy, or increase the number of offers downloads, you ultimately have to refer people to your website. Good email traffic indicates that your content is successfully getting visitors to where they need to go.
- Click maps: With many email providers like HubSpot, you can see what content people clicked the most or least clicked on in the email. In this way you can see which content of your e-mail was the most and the least clickable.
- Unsubscribe rates: While these are usually not very different, a high unsubscribe rate could suggest that some aspect of your email strategy (such as the content you send or the frequency of emails) has resulted in more viewers have lost than usual. In the meantime, a consistently low unsubscribe rate suggests that you are continuing to keep or even gain subscribers.
- Survey or email persona research: In addition to metrics that you get from your email marketing platform, you can use other strategies like polls or polls to learn more about your subscribers’ interests, what they would like to see more, and where you can improve your content.
Aside from leveraging KPIs that are less affected by Apple’s changes, you can also use email tools or benchmark reports to see how your email rates compare to other brands in your industry.
HubSpot users can, for example, use the HubSpot email health tool to compare their open, click, unsubscribe and bounce rates with our benchmarks.
Developing your content for a more private world
Apple’s announcement isn’t the only privacy focal point that has impacted digital marketers – and it certainly won’t be the last in 2021.
Even if the world is changing in ways that challenge digital and email marketers, it doesn’t mean you can’t refine your strategy to meet prospects or audiences where they are.
While open rates are certainly important, there are plenty of other ways you can get to know your email subscribers, learn from KPIs, and keep creating great content for them.