How Apple’s New Privacy Update Impacts Digital Marketing

The new Apple iOS 15 update has changed the world of email marketing.  With this update, Apple is increasing privacy among users. This has many marketers and business owners confused, scared, and scrambling for answers.

First: take a deep breath. These changes aren't going to kill your email marketing. They will impact how you collect data, but ultimately this is just a bump in the road.

If you don’t know what’s going on, don’t worry. We’ll cover what this update means for the future of email marketing and what you need to do to adapt to these changes.


What Changes are Coming with iOs 15?

The new iOs 15 adds two new features that impact digital marketing: Mail Privacy Protection and “Hide My Email.”


What is Mail Privacy Protection?

This feature prevents senders from seeing if and when an email recipient opens an email in Apple Mail. It also blocks out any IP addresses so senders can’t determine the location of recipients or any other online activity.


What is Hide My Email?

The “Hide My Email” Feature allows users to create unique, random email addresses to use with apps and websites so that their personal email can stay private. This feature is built into the Sign in with Apple and iCloud.


What Does This Mean for Digital Marketing?

Both changes mean that marketers will not be able to pull accurate open rates for emails viewed using Apple Mail.

Since Apple will load tracking pixels on behalf of their users, these pixels will be loaded much more often, regardless of the recipient who opened the email. This will result in an inflation of open rate metrics for future sends.

Apple users will also be able to create fake, random email addresses to shield their personal email addresses from senders with the “Hide My Email” feature. This means that there could potentially be multiple email addresses accessing an email when it’s only one person. This can cause some confusion on open rate metrics as well, as your marketing reporting tool will track each of these views as a different person.

IP addresses will also be a factor change within this update. Apple’s privacy change includes the masking of users’ IP addresses so that they can’t be linked to other online activities. This means that if you use time zone tracking in your email metrics, you won’t be able to identify the location and align send times to each recipient if they are an Apple user.


What Should You Do Moving Forward?

The good news is this change doesn't actually impact email sends, it only impacts your tracking abilities.

We recommend keeping doing what you’re doing. Keep up the content and emails as you were before. But don’t focus so much on the open rate, maybe focus more on other metrics that will have more of an impact.

Clicks and replies are reliable metrics that you can shift your focus towards. You may also want to perform an audit of your marketing processes that rely on open rate tracking to make sure everything is optimized for future email sends.

Since this change only impacts email marketing, that's the only area you need to focus on.

Any big change can seem scary. But knowing exactly how this change impacts emails means we can adapt to these changes. Changing your focus and updating email metrics will ensure that you continue to see results from your email marketing.

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BizzyWeb is a Minneapolis-based digital marketing and web design agency that helps companies get the high-quality leads they need to grow and thrive. Our tactics include inbound marketing, SEO, advertising, web design, content creation and sales automation. We are an accredited HubSpot Platinum Partner and we offer full-service HubSpot onboarding, enablement and strategy for new and current users.

Dave Meyer
Author: Dave Meyer
Dave Meyer is President of BizzyWeb. Dave has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and has presented digital marketing topics to thousands of people across the US and Canada.