How Apple iOS 15 Updates Affects Email Marketing

Jun 18, 2021 - By Adomas Sulcas

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Apple unveiled the newest iOS 15 features a few weeks ago.

The privacy updates included in the newest operating system have caused huge waves in the email marketing industry. There are three key changes that will be implemented with iOS 15 that will be available for all users:

  • The ability to turn off open tracking
  • The ability to block your IP address
  • The ability to hide your email address

Understandably, these may seem like the end of email marketing. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. A similar sentiment had been expressed back when GDPR and CCPA was launched. Yet, the activity survived through the most extensive legislation on privacy in the world.

In fact, email marketing will be fine as these changes are not as wide sweeping as some think. There will be less data to collect but still plenty enough to make effective and powerful marketing campaigns.

We will be focusing on the first two as the third option has actually been available for quite a while now. Apple is just making the latter feature more prominent to users. There will be some changes necessary for everyone, however, they’re not nearly as bad as they may seem at first glance.

Baseline metrics

One of the biggest blows struck to email marketing through the Apple iOS 15 updates is the disappearance of open rates. Due to the new privacy features, accurately tracking open rates will be impossible. Therefore, they can no longer be good baseline measures.

Your best bet is to start (if you haven’t already) measuring click rates. While they already are a key indicator, their importance after the update will increase as these still will be possible to measure. Thus, they will become a good baseline metric used to measure campaign effectiveness.

Improve segmenting

Audience segmentation is the name of the email marketing game. Everyone who has been in email marketing for a while now has heard of the power of segmentation. These powers will be very useful after the iOS 15 updates.

Creating an engaged audience segment will help you reduce the impact of the loss of open rates. “Engaged” can mean a wide variety of things to a wide variety of businesses. However, including things like recent visits, sign ups, purchases, and other on-site behavior. Anything that indicates loyalty or a returning customer could be a good metric.

Be sure to keep constantly updating the segment by adding and removing users. There will be some management required to keep the segmentation accurate, however, the benefits brought upon through proper use of the process will be immense.


If an email doesn’t get to the proper inbox (and not into spam), there will be no open rate or any other metrics. Therefore, the first and primary focus should always be maintaining the highest level of deliverability.

However, the responsibility for email deliverability doesn’t just rest on the email service provider. Most inbox providers (e.g. Google) look at numerous data points to judge whether the email is worthy.

Additionally, delivery shouldn’t be thought of in black and white terms. It’s more than just a couple technical aspects and open rates. Getting your subscribers to click on the links, after all, is more important in the end.

To understand delivery better, segmentation can be used once again. However, this time we would be doing the exact opposite. Creating a segment for unengaged users can reveal additional insights into deliverability or help you clean up mailing lists.


Here’s the bottom line – start measuring click rate. It is and will be a key indicator of email performance. Focusing on this metric will greatly mitigate the negative impact of the Apple iOS 15 updates.

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