Apple’s latest software update – iOS15 – shakes up the norm for email marketers with Hide My Email controls, causing trouble for the connection between brands and customers.
Email marketing has long been a popular promotional tool, allowing brands to advertise and communicate with their audiences. Email campaigns force users to take action, whether that is to read, delete, or opt-out, and have a higher click-through-rate than social media equivalents. But, with Apple’s latest set of privacy updates, email marketing is under threat. So, what’s changing?
Hide My Email and Mail Privacy Protection are part of the iOS15 software update. These controls are available to anyone with an Apple account who pays for iCloud storage – i.e., a LOT of people! Users can now easily and automatically create fake ‘burner’ email addresses, and embedded tracking pixels will no longer be of use. Clearly, digital marketers are going to have to adapt, or risk being consigned to the spam folder for good!
Below, we explain in more detail what these changes mean for you.
What you need to know about Apple’s new iCloud ‘Hide My Email’ and ‘Mail Privacy Protection’ update.
The new Hide my Email feature makes it easy for users to create fake email addresses when prompted by an online form, protecting their personal data. Any emails sent to this address will be forwarded to the primary address, but, crucially, marketers won’t be able to see what it is. This provides users with greater security and protection from hacks, leaks, and spam by building a barrier around their personal data.
Often, people have a primary A address (your ‘proper’ one you use for important things, like banking) and a supplementary B address (often an old Yahoo! or Hotmail account that is too embarrassing to share) that they use for signups and unavoidable opt-ins online. But now, users can create a limitless number of fake C-Z addresses that they don’t even check, dramatically reducing engagement. And, worse still, they can easily deactivate them without affecting their primary email, meaning marketing databases could be full of ‘dead’ addresses. This is important because a low deliverability rate can affect sender reputation, meaning your carefully crafted campaign ends up in spam.
Mail Privacy Protection hides user IP addresses and prevents the use of tracking pixels in emails. This will reduce the amount of data brands can collect, and marketers will no longer be able to use open rate as a metric of a campaign’s success because Apple will automatically load images and CSS. Essentially, anyone who uses MPP will appear to open every single third-party email they receive. And crafting an email campaign based on skewed data is not going to get you anywhere.
And it’s not just Apple that is offering this service. Other online tools like 1Password, partnering with FastMail, are also now offering customers the option to ‘hide their email’, resulting in similar effects as the above. It’s easy to imagine that soon this may become the norm. So, marketers need to bolster their efforts in advance.
What can marketers do?
To be effective, you need to get your emails into primary inboxes – stay in the A to stay in the game! Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. With users increasingly conscious about data protection and online privacy, it will take a lot to persuade them to part with their primary email address. But don’t despair, Squarebird’s team of marketing experts are on the case and have outlined a few things you can do.
For us, evolving to the latest developments in technology and online marketing is easy. We’re digital natives, after all – it’s in our DNA. So, here is our advice for email marketing that will make a difference.
Cultivate transparent relationships
Whereas previously businesses could covertly gather data about users, your relationship with your audience now needs to be about trust. Small businesses have a chance to get in the game, because bigger companies won’t have the data advantage. Instead, what will matter is how you interact with your audience and what perceptions they have of your brand.
So, make sure you create a brand identity that is all about transparency, and never send ‘spammy’ content. By forging a genuine relationship with your audience, your email campaigns are more likely to end up in primary inboxes because your customers will actively want to hear from you.
Provide relevant, valuable, personalised content
Send quality content. This has always been important, but now it’s more important than ever. Provide your subscribers with relevant, interesting emails, and they will be more likely to click-through, engage with your brand, and allow your emails access to the coveted A inbox. Basically, you need to foreground the customer experience, creating emails that users explicitly ask for. Send value, not just advertisements – your audience has seen enough of them! Make use of zero-party data (data that users proactively share) and tailor your written and visual content, ensuring your email is something your customers want to receive.
Segment subscriber lists
As part of personalising your content, you might want to consider segmenting your subscriber list into different categories based on the zero-party data you have. This will mean your emails are more likely to be relevant and more likely to get read. The one-size-fits-all approach is no longer going to cut it.
Review subscription forms
Consider your current subscription methods, and make sure it’s 100% clear what users are consenting to. Don’t make signing up unavoidable, make it desirable! As well as this, ensure customers can easily and quickly share information with you, facilitating the collection of data which will help tailor your content. And keep it simple for users to update their email preferences in order to avoid opt-outs or email deactivations – the dreaded ‘hard’ bounce!
Why stop at signup forms? Give your entire website some TLC with our team of talented web developers.
Change your metrics
As we’ve discussed, open rate is soon going to be virtually irrelevant. You won’t be able to use it to measure the effectiveness of your headlines, copy, tone, language, and visuals. So, when reviewing the success of email campaign, you’re going to need to look elsewhere.
Leverage other data like click through rate, post-campaign site traffic, clickmaps, and unsubscribe rates. These metrics will give you more accurate insights into the quality and relevance of your emails, allowing you to continue to adapt and develop to suit the needs of your audience.
High quality design
Draw the eye and users won’t be able to resist engaging with your content. An attractive email full of enticing visuals will seem valuable and interesting. This means users are more likely to take the time to read your content, click links, visit your site and – the holy grail – convert. Simply put, if it looks good, they’ll want it in their primary inbox. It’s time to get a talented team of creative designers on board to take your email campaigns to the next level!
Stay ahead with Bristol’s leading digital marketing agency.
From here on out, the users are in charge. They don’t need you, so make them want you. At Squarebird, we’re always keeping an eye on the latest technology updates and marketing trends, helping our clients consistently meet the demands of an ever-changing modern world. From dynamic designers to SEO specialists, creative content writers, and website whizzes, we’ve got the full set of digital talent on our team, ready to boost your online presence.
Emails remain a vital way for brands to engage their audience, so don’t panic about this update. With our team of digital experts on your side, you can evolve to meet any challenge the tech-giants throw your way.