The iOS 15 Email Marketing Update: How Nonprofits Can Adapt

by Maria Sadusky  |   |  Strategy Analytics  |  0 comments

3.5 min to read ✭ Learn how to continue using email marketing as part of your email marketing campaign strategy amidst the iOS 15 privacy changes.

The iOS 15 Email Marketing Update: How Nonprofits Can Adapt

Is your nonprofit using email marketing? If yes, keep reading. As an email marketer, you are probably using open rate metrics as a way to measure your email campaigns. 


In general, high nonprofit email open rates tell you that your subject lines are pulling in readers, your subscribers are interested in opening your emails, and you are sending your emails at the most engaging date and times. Low email open rates indicate the opposite and may show that people are not opening them at all. 


Apple’s iOS 15 email marketing updates can affect the way nonprofits and all email marketers track and measure their email campaign data. This can seem daunting but there are ways to understand and adapt to these updates BEFORE they happen.


What is the iOS 15 Email Marketing Update?

In June, Apple announced three main privacy changes that will affect email marketing campaigns

  • Mail Privacy Protection (Free):  Apple Mail will offer users to toggle off/on privacy protection which will mask their IP addresses; blocking third parties from tracking email opens or other IP data.iOS15 email marketing
  • ICloud+: This is an iCloud subscription that offers additional privacy features preventing sites from tracking Safari users that have opted into this subscription. Additionally, this allows users to see which sites are collecting their information. 
  • Hide my email: In essence, this feature allows site visitors and customers to give a “fake” email address that they can change any time. These fake addresses will send your email to an actual address, just not to that specific visitor. The issue here lies in the fact that you will not be able to attain that person’s true email address unless they share it with you.
nonprofit email open rates

You may have seen the iOS 14 privacy updates that Apple has rolled out this year. Since that launch, 79% of users across the globe declined apps and sites permission to track their information. Although that was much less than projected, this is still a large number of users you will now not be able to track. We are doing our best to keep up with these privacy changes as they affect the way we and all nonprofits are tracking data and marketing. Here are the best tips we have compiled from expert marketers like moenagage on how to combat this update. 

How Your Nonprofit Can Adapt Your iOS15 Email Marketing Campaign


1. Remember, these updates will not affect all email users

This privacy update does not mean that all nonprofit email users will no longer have tracking for email open rates. Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices make up over 35% of the email provider market share globally. That means that Google, Outlook, and other email providers are still providing valuable tracking data. You will still receive open rate data from non iOS 15 and apple mail users.


2. Adjust email open rate goals and use new metric measurements

Although the impact of iOS 15 email marketing updates will largely affect open rates, you should not abandon it fully. Instead, you can adjust your nonprofit email open rate goals by taking into account how many iOS 15 users are already included in your open rate measurements. Talk to your managers and keep this in mind when and if you are measuring open rates for your email marketing campaign. 


This may seem like a massive hurdle but it is actually an opportunity to become more versatile in the types of metrics you are using as an organization. Tapping into insights and analytics allows you to observe actions on your site and use that to apply to emails. For example, if someone types in “volunteer opportunities” on your search bar and then leave your site. You can then make “volunteer opportunities” the subject in the next email and target those people directly. Instead of just using email open rates to see how your email campaign is performing, you can use the number of click-throughs or click-through rates (CTR), conversion, or unsubscribe rates! 


Higher conversion and click-through rates will help you understand that the email was sent at the right time with the right content. Conversions will be a much better indicator of your email marketing campaign as a whole. It will tell you if your content is relevant to its readers rather than if it is opened by its readers. We really believe this new update might be a blessing in disguise. 


3. Segment iOS users

Email marketers are strongly urged to create new customer segments consisting of only iOS 15 users and observe the email performance for these segments alone. This will help you set up new benchmarks accurately and ensure your other customers’ data remains unaffected. You can even send an email to your customer base to inform them of these changes and inform them of your privacy policy so they know their data is safe with you. 


Before, if someone showed interest in your organization by opening an email, you could segment them that way. Now, you will segment them by how many have donated, clicked through to a certain place on your site, attended a previous event, or subscribed in the past. Obviously this will shrink your target audience size. However, in the long run it will actually create more conversions as your targeting will become more focused towards an end goal. 


4. A/B test emails

You can use metrics other than open rates for A/B testing like conversions and clicks. A/B testing is a way to test two different versions of a campaign and send them to a small percentage of your total contact list. Half of the group is sent version A, while the other half is sent version B.  The winning result determines which content drives the most conversions or clicks. 


Depending on your email provider, you may require an A/B testing tool like Hubspot. This way you can test header copy, body copy, your button styling, imagery, and layout. 


5. Don’t abandon email marketing

We really want to reiterate that nonprofit email marketing is not dead, nor becoming a less valuable way to market. It is important to understand that these changes will not affect your email delivery or the way those view them. Email marketing continues to be an effective marketing tool that if dropped, will result in many lost opportunities. Take this learning and keep up to date with privacy changes because this is certainly not the end of it. 


Now, open rates are important, but so are other KPI’s. By adjusting your strategy, getting to know your audience better, and meeting them where they are to deliver valuable content, we are sure your marketing campaigns will improve across all channels, not just email. 

Maria Sadusky

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