Recently, Apple released its latest mobile operating system: iOS 15. This update contains major changes to privacy features that will impact email marketing to Apple product customers. Businesses should be aware of the changes and adapt their marketing efforts to fit this new iOS 15 environment.

What changed with email marketing to Apple customers?

iOS 15 includes a suite of privacy protection measures intended to make it more difficult for third parties to collect and track consumers’ data. Until the iOS 15 update, businesses could include data-tracking tools (invisible pixels) in email messages. These pixels are designed to collect information, including the consumer’s IP address and the date and time that the consumer opened an email. This information helps marketers better target their advertising.

Now, however, email marketing to Apple product customers should be more difficult to carefully calibrate. Apple’s Mail app can mask the email recipient’s IP address by filtering it through several servers before randomly assigning an IP address tied to the consumer’s general region, without revealing the consumer’s specific location. The app also effectively neutralizes the invisible pixels that tell marketers when recipients open email messages.

One other incidental change is that the Mail app automatically opens each email and downloads constituent pictures onto Apple’s servers. It can then “scrub” the images to remove any invisible pixels if and when the user opens the message. This process means that a marketer’s “open” rate will likely be artificially high, because the app opens all emails first before the user decides whether to open the emails or not.

Why do the changes to email marketing to Apple product customers matter to your business?

The precise impact of iOS 15 on email marketers will take time to measure. Based on what we know so far, email marketers may need to find other ways to fine tune their advertising efforts. These privacy features make targeting local consumers with ads considerably more challenging because marketers will have less of an ability to track consumers’ specific locations. With the open rate statistics rendered less useful, marketers should find new ways to test their marketing messages, consumer disengagement and reengagement, along with the user flows that depend on consumers opening email messages.

Hire experienced email marketing attorneys.

Businesses can rework algorithms, adjust AI platforms, and find other creative solutions to maximize ad targeting in the wake of iOS 15’s email updates. With each tweak and new approach to email marketing, businesses may bump up against state and federal email marketing and consumer privacy laws. Given the foregoing, being mindful of how your business’s system updates and email content edits comport with applicable federal and state laws will continue to be of paramount importance.

Adjusting to email marketing after iOS 15 presents a host of challenges for marketers. Hiring experienced email marketing attorneys can help eliminate frustrating legal issues. The attorneys at Klein Moynihan Turco have years of experience assisting clients in maintaining industry-best email marketing practices and procedures, and defending clients who get drawn into email marketing litigation.