Apple’s iOS 15 Means a few Changes for Email Marketing
For those that follow Apple you’re probably aware that they have been positioning themselves as the most privacy-sensitive big technology. And as soon as next week, they may be including a few changes to user privacy in their latest iOS 15 software update - something we’re a big fan of. At Revinate we take data privacy seriously. We were industry leads when it came to GDPR, and we remain so through other data privacy laws.
Like all Apple updates, we’ve been monitoring this one closely for any impacts it may have. While most of the new features focus on privacy, data tracking, and user security, there is still much to be determined as it relates to the overall impact of this update. However, there are two notable features that we’re monitoring closely. “Mail Privacy Protection” and “Hide My Email.” These features may have an impact on email delivery and tracking.
Did They Open My Email?
Revinate emails include an invisible tracking pixel. This pixel allows you to track metrics including email open rates. However, with Mail Privacy Protection, Apple Mail users would be able to select a setting that automatically marks emails as opened even if they don’t click on them. In other words, email senders will lose the ability to track email opens and forwards.
The good news is this feature will not be activated by default. People will have to actively make the choice to deploy it and until then, opens will be tracked as usual. Additionally, this doesn’t affect those on desktop or Android devices. And, globally speaking percentage-wise, Revinate emails opened with Apple Mail are only in the single digits.
While the “open” metric is important for evaluating and optimizing campaigns, it hasn't always been the most reliable. Email open stats rely on that invisible tracking pixel placed within the email. If emails are opened without the graphics being loaded (which sometimes happens) the open isn’t registered. So while Apple’s adjustment adds another layer of complexity, we don’t expect it to have a major impact on your metrics or ability to evaluate campaign engagement.
Tip: Remember that beyond opens and clicks, revenue attribution is often the true test of a successful campaign. For this reason, Revinate has viewed revenue attribution as the more reliable measure. Revinate’s revenue attribution is based on opens and clicks. So even if this update limits the ability to capture email opens, it won't impact your ability to track clicks or revenue attribution.
The Apple-Generated Email Randomizer
The Hide My Email feature is an upgraded version of an existing capability that allows iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to create unique, random email addresses that forward to a personal inbox. The intent is to mitigate concerns that your “real” email address might be shared across the web.
While this may have some impact on your subscriber emails, consider that most guests and prospects are opting-in to your email intentionally because they value your brand and the relevant content you’re providing to them. It’s less likely that travelers will use a masked email address in this circumstance. In the case that they do, Revinate’s Advanced Profile Synthesis functionality will use additional data fields to map the masked email to existing profiles should they exist. While the feature prevents tracking the same consumer across different platforms, it does still allow for one-to-one communication between your brand and guests or prospects that have opted-in to receive your promotions and offers.
What These Updates Mean for Hospitality Marketers
Undoubtedly, privacy is and will continue to become more important to travelers. That said, a survey run by Smarter HQ found that while 86% of people are concerned about data privacy, 90% of them are willing to share their data if additional benefits and experiences are provided. For hospitality marketers, that means the best way to navigate evolving data privacy is to have a strategy for communicating the value your guests will get in return for submitting information and the right tools in place to deliver on it. If you set the right expectations, you can expect travelers to be more generous with their information. Lean into Revinate’s smart segmentation tools to personalize your campaigns and hone in on guest preferences to send them compelling content, keep them engaged, and help them convert. (For more check out our article on Guest Segmentation Ideas and Best Practices.)
Testing email content and creative will also remain a critical aspect to understand what’s resonating and driving the most engagement, conversion, and revenue.
Looking for ways to gather more personal information? Revinate’s Guest Preferences allow you to survey and fine tune your individual guests communications preferences. For example, if a guest is interested in communications about the spa but not interested in dining communications, you can collect this information and use that data to send targeted campaigns that cater to their spa interests. These more personalized, relevant communications increase the likelihood of a conversion while minimizing the likelihood of an unsubscribe.
Privacy Changes Moving Forward
There are still aspects of this change that are not yet fully understood. As regulations and technology changes continue to raise the bar on privacy, marketers will have to evolve. And as these and other privacy changes continue to shape how you interact with guests and prospects, Revinate will continue to focus on solutions to respond effectively and enable you to continue to create effective, relevant, and personalized marketing communications.