The lowdown on Apple’s latest iOS15 changes

When Apple announced it’s iOS14 updates earlier this year it was all anyone could talk about, with the world of digital advertising and tracking as we knew it, changing for good. Well, it seems Apple wasn’t quite done with us yet, announcing the latest iOS15 updates, but we’ve not seen as much buzz in the industry about what this means for online businesses. This is only the beginning for data privacy and protection, so rest assured we’re here to always keep you informed and ready to tackle these changes. 

What are the changes? 

The most relevant updates that Apple will release with iOS 15, macOS Monterey, iPadOS 15, and WatchOS 8 include the ability to:

  • Hide open email behaviour by pre-loading email images, including tracking pixels
  • Hide specific (e.g., city-level) location data by blocking IP addresses
  • Obscure click-through activity by using a proxy email address

Apple has been a long-time champion of digital privacy and these latest features are meant to establish their leadership in the privacy space. If Apple Mail users opt to ‘protect their mail activity’ (and we think that many will), the pixel that is used to track opens and determine location will be disabled. 

What does this mean for email marketing? 

Apple can change the behaviour of their privacy features at any time between the beta release and the full release (and technically even after the full release) of iOS 15 and its other operating systems. This makes it tricky to predict exactly how Klaviyo will receive opened email data—if at all—from Apple devices.

There are still many unknowns with iOS15 and we won't completely feel/see the changes until it's completely rolled out, however here are a few ways your Klaviyo account may be impacted: 

  • Open rates may be be inflated (or inaccurately heightened)
  • Location tracking may no longer be reliable at the city and region/state level
  • Revenue attribution may be inflated
  • Send time optimisation
  • A/B Testing – The accuracy of subject line testing will now be less reliable. 
  • Deliverability 

How does this affect your brand? 

Before these changes are rolled out, we recommend seeing exactly who on your list is using Apple Mail. You can create a segment using Opened Email where Client Name = Apple Mail OR Mobile Safari AND where the recipient is not suppressed. This will give you an idea of how much of your audience will be affected.

If Apple Mail accounts for the majority of your total email opens, we recommend sending to your Apple Mail segment separately post-release of iOS 15 to gauge how much this particular audience has actually upgraded their operating system. Based on that segment’s open rates, you can then decide to switch to click-based attribution if you’re seeing high inflation.

Moving Forward 

With only 15% of worldwide users and 6% of US users having chosen to opt into tracking on iOS 14.5., there's no doubt this figure will increase with the rollout of iOS15. 

Brands and marketing teams will need to rethink how they map customer journeys, gauge interest in content themes or product categories across those journeys.

We recommend also expanding definitions of engaged segments to include other signals of engagement like 

  • clicks
  • purchases
  • site activity

Where to invest your focus now? 

Optimise your owned assets - your owned data and media channels are becoming more important than ever. Think of your website's UX and if there are any friction points in the customer journey. 

Customer first and zero party data will be key now in targeting and building stronger relationships with customers. There will be greater emphasis on meaningful targeting and using customer data with care to provide a richer and more holistic brand experience. Utilise Klaviyo sign-up forms to help build out user profiles that aren't just based on transactions (e.g. what are their interests, preferences and purchase intents?) or predictive analytics.

48% of all E-commerce transactions are from repeat customers, so your current customer base may be your greatest asset as you deal with these changes to data privacy. Our tips to retain these customers include:

- creating value driven loyalty and referral programs 

- curate an exceptional post-purchase experience

- utilise customer lifetime value and repeat purchase rate metrics 

We know change can be daunting, which is why we're here to help every step of the way and assist your brand in navigating these changes. Get in touch today 


by lisa

October 18, 2021

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