Three Ways Digital Advertisers Can Prepare for iOS 15

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There are a few things we can always rely on happening every fall: children go back to school, leaves start changing colors and falling off trees, and Apple releases a new software update. That’s right, just as digital advertisers were getting used to Apple’s recent App Tracking Transparency (ATT), the release of iOS 15 is around the corner. It brings new challenges for brands working to execute targeted marketing strategies.

One of the biggest ways iOS 15 will impact digital advertisers is through the new Mail Privacy Protection feature. This feature gives mail users the option to load remote content privately without sharing their IP address. This means senders will be unable to track email opens, rendering IP and email addresses essentially useless as unique identifiers.

Email users who login via desktop or Android device will still be trackable. However, the majority of emails opened on smartphones, and Apple’s iPhone has an estimated 47% share of that market. So, without this valuable engagement information from email open rates, how can digital advertisers still run successful email campaigns?

Here are three ways marketers can prepare for the iOS 15 update:

  1. Study your subscriber list. The smart first step for digital advertisers is to try to understand how this software update will impact their subscribers. First, this means looking specifically at what percentage of their audience opens emails from an iOS device. Assuming the majority of iPhone users will opt into this new feature, marketers can glean how their list is affected. And more specifically, how many of their subscribers’ email opens will soon not be trackable.
  2. Analyze benchmarks for open emails and click rates. Before iPhone users start to opt into Mail Privacy Protection, digital advertisers need to spend time now setting benchmarks. First, of open emails and click rates across their subscriber list and marketing segments. Following this analysis, segment your audience by email domain to get a better sense of iOS 15’s impact on recipients. Then marketers should record their open and click rates before and after iOS 15. This analysis will guarantee they have concrete data about how the update affects their engagement metrics.
  3. Lean on personalized email outreach. Marketers have to depend more on first party data in their ad campaigns with the fading of cookies and MAIDs. Similarly, iOS 15 is a good reminder that knowing your audience is essential for achieving a higher ROAS. Without tracking, digital advertisers need to understand their audience to send them the right email at the right time. This means finding unique ways to reach consumers that encourage interaction with the brand. For instance, a short survey or sweepstakes offer will draw them to share preference information without challenging their privacy.

Stay calm and continue to build relationships with consumers

Understandably, most marketers panicked when first learning of the iOS 15 update and what it means for email marketing. However, preparing now for its release will ensure that digital advertisers can continue to carry out targeted marketing strategies. In many ways, iOS 15 gives marketers opportunities to pause and think about the content they push to their audience. Do their campaigns have relevance and meaning to the consumer? In today’s competitive digital world, this is necessary to encourage audience engagement. More importantly, it’s necessary for building the deeper relationships with consumers that have become critical in the digital ad space.