Why iOS15 with Mail Privacy Protection is a good thing for marketers – UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2021

You read that right!

Apple’s changes to its data and privacy, especially the iOS15 update, has marketers in a flap because of Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email. In short, Mail Privacy Protection prevents accurate tracking of email opens on mobile, and Hide My Email uses a proxy to allow Apple users to receive emails without sharing their actual address with companies.

The kick you needed

“Finally, open rates will no longer be a useful metric! And guess what? They never were.” Lee Chadwick, Group CEO.

We’ve been banging on about this for a long time; if you’re using Open Rates as a primary metric for campaign success, you’re behind the times. This can be the kick you need to put that bad habit behind you and move forward!

That is because iOS (and other clients like Gmail) has automatically downloaded images in email for a long time, thus activating the tracking pixel. This means your Open Rate on mobile (and apple devices in general) has been wildly inaccurate for some time. It also means they most likely haven’t opened your email.  Yes, you read that correctly. An ‘open’ is just an image/pixel being downloaded in an email, not actually a sign that someone has opened an email.

iOS15 users will also be able to prevent marketers from seeing the time and location data of their email engagement. From an internal perspective, Spotler have never used these data points in a campaign, so we don’t expect to mourn this loss too much. The loss of being able to use countdown timers accurately is just about the only noticeable impact (as the counter will relate to the time the email was sent, not when it was opened).

How can Spotler help you through these ‘tough’ times

Show you who is on your website

We’ve never heard of a prospect, in the B2B world, who buys off the back of one email in the 15+ years we’ve been sending. The point of marketing emails is to get the reader to visit your website. Once they are there, IP Lookup tools will still work, so you can identify your website visitors and link them back to your email campaigns with a little bit of effort.

That means the open or the click is ‘important’ (granted you need the click) as what matters is the recipient lands on your website and you then track behaviour from there.

As long as your content is good enough to keep leads coming back, you’ve got nothing to worry about.

And don’t worry – if you don’t know the individual is yet, you can always start seeing who the company is. Then let your killer values and personas kick it and run some great lead nurturing campaigns.

Website personalisation

How often do you mutter angrily about a website not remembering your login details when you visit regularly?

Accenture reports that 83% of buyers see a personalized experience as a fair reward for sharing their data. As long as you can accurately deliver this personalization, your audience are likely to keep sharing with you.

Even if you do not know who the visitor is, you can still personal a web page visit based on prior behaviour. Whether that be the source of the visit, or the type of pages visited – this is all data ou can then personalise their experience with on the next visit. This radically increases conversions.

Allow purchased data

Spotler is the only ESP that allows purchased data to be sent to for lead generation purposes. As long as you approach the data buying process properly you will know that the addresses you have paid for are active, and match your killer values. You won’t have to rely on an open rate metric to find this out, you can go direct to measuring Click-through and website activity.

More from your paid ads

Running paid ads and struggling to measure conversions and effectiveness? Let us help with no increase in ad spend, but get 10x more leads & conversions. This is one of those ‘that sounds too good to be true’ statements, but with IP lookup you can start to see the companies that don’t form fill or call you. And as the industry average form fill is circa 2%, you could start getting a load more leads to follow up on.

Popups to convert

Using Pop-ups to either gather email addresses directly, or to guide your website visitors to a page with a form on means your list will be built of engaged people. They will be expecting emails from you and are therefore almost guaranteed to click.

Marketing preferences

Nobody wants their readers to opt out entirely from receiving marketing messages. Spotler’s preference centres are designed to give your audience fine-grained control of what they receive. This benefits you because it’s not an “on-off” proposition, and even better it’s another data point about what messages are hitting the right spot.


If you’re struggling to stand out in the email inbox, how about SMS (text message) marketing? According to research from TextBetter, 64% of buyers want to receive SMS messages from businesses. Among 18 to 34 year-olds, SMS is actually the most popular way to receive communications from businesses.

Spotler’s GatorMail platform makes it easy to send SMS campaigns, in a very similar fashion to how you build email campaigns.

Double opt-in (if you’re that way inclined)

After a huge spike in interest just as GDPR was introduced in May 2018, double opt-in is a less popular topic these days. However, it remains an option for the cautious marketer.

If you didn’t already know, in a double opt-in scenario a lead would sign up to your email marketing list on your website. They would then receive a “confirm your subscription” email, which they would have to click.

While this is an extra step to take, it results in greater engagement, because you end up with a list of people who have already proactively joined. This method also prevents bots and honeypot addresses from dragging down your results and domain reputation.

The Bad News

Ok, it’s not all good news.

The easiest way to maintain list hygiene is to sweep away the contacts who never open your emails. MPP will make this impossible. You’ll need a new metric, such as people who haven’t landed on your website for x number of days/weeks/months, to base your data cleansing activities on.

What to do now

Check what percentage of your audience use iOS as their main email host. For our top-of-the-funnel campaigns, it’s an average of 28% mobile opens. Not worth losing a lot of sleep over, especially as an ‘open’ doesn’t mean someone opened, read and is engaged in the email you sent.

Without delving too deep into the 28%; when we looked at a few of those campaigns, there is an approx average of 30% using iSO14 (and other iSOs below that number). So with 30% of 28%, we are looking at approx. 9% of opens being effected if all those iSO14, and others iSOs, update to the iSO15.

graph of most popular email clients

If you do report and run campaigns based on open rates, start to:

  • Clean your lists now, or at least check the data like we have above, while you still have the metrics you’re used to.
  • Refine your segmentation strategy, so you’re relying on data that you can still access.
  • Review your previous campaigns to see what kind of content was earning opens but not clicks. Then bin those and lean on campaigns with a high CTR.
  • Start to re-evaluate any workflows or triggered emails that rely on opens as a condition for sending on following emails/comms.
  • Plan for open rates to be lower, so make your team and stakeholders aware.
  • Report on click through rate, click to web rate and actual conversion from email (including UTMs for multi-point attribution and not just conversion straight from the email send).
  • Always do some a/b tests to improve email campaigns.
  • If all that sounds too much, close your eyes, cross your fingers and pray no-one reads your reports and sees the open rates go down.

End of email or a blessing in disguise

As you can probably tell, this won’t be the end of email. In fact, email has been steadily growing over the years and has become even more popular since the pandemic.

This apple update is actually a blessing for most marketers as it will force us to focus on what matters most… conversions. Not clicks (we’d wager some good money that even a fair few of your clicks are not actual clicks, but bots), and definitely not opens. We want traffic and we want that traffic to convert. So if you are sending relevant and useful content, email is an extremely efficient channel for outbound marketing and lead generation.

Unless you are targeted on open rates (which is vanity at its best; as we all know it is the only double-digit number you’ll get in email marketing, and the only one that makes us look good) this update is one to make you smile and save you time reporting on a useless metric.

Still Worried?

If you cannot convince yourself this is a good thing, or just have some more questions, give us a call, contact your account manager or email Stephanie Kent, and we’d love to have a chat with you about it.

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