Perspectives, Trends & News

Email marketing - from the inbox to the blackbox, life after Open Rates

on Mon Aug 08 2021
  • News

Open to change

Digital marketers, still licking their wounds from the Cookie Apocalypse (add link), find themselves again back to the drawing board in anticipation of the new iOS update. Marketers have come to terms with the pending loss of third-party cookies, retargeting, and more immediately reduced targeting options in Facebook, now email metrics are next in Apple’s privacy-focused crosshairs. In other words, “the open rate is gone forever.”

Mail Privacy Protection

With the upcoming IOS15 update, Apple’s new Mail Privacy Protection allows consumers to block third parties in gathering personal data through their emails. The new update hides consumers’ IP addresses and loads unassociated content discreetly in the background. As a consequence, an estimated 49.7% of email opens on mobile (those accessed via iOS, macOS, and iPadOS) will no longer provide reliable data on click-through rates nor open rates. 

These changes significantly impact the data businesses receive from email marketing and the associated engagement strategies. As part of this process Apple creates a copy of the email on a proxy server, and then recipients that engage with the email interact with Apple’s, rather than the senders proxy - severing the link between a recipient's actions and the sender's email analytics. Businesses usually collect information such as open rates, click-through rates (CTR), when, where and what type of device consumers open the emails from, their location, among other things. Besides the temperature check of subject line relevance and open rates, and email content quality and CTR, businesses rely on these metrics to adjust their strategies. Are the contacts on the list engaged? Is a follow-up email needed for those that opened but didn’t click? How will they manage automation that are triggered by an open or a click? How will they optimise send times? 

Preparing for the new OS

There are several other ways on how businesses can minimize the impact of the upcoming update from Apple. As many are focused on open rate conversions, it is vital to building deeper connections to maintain and increase consumer engagement. Most of the time, businesses tend to conduct A/B testing for email subject lines to measure open rates - which will not work anymore with the Mail Privacy Protection in place. Instead, include A/B testing of body content to measure which type of content actually drives consumers to their site. For example, including a gift reward for the consumer in the email itself. This will encourage the consumers to click on the reward that will lead them onto the website, where website tracking will be available for businesses to analyse.

Businesses will need to consider email as more focused on delivering value that engages their customers to interact with their content. While they will lose a number of personalisation details, they can continue to deliver personalized products and messages - especially if they start testing their messaging and segmentation now. 83% of consumers claimed that they are willing to share their data if businesses are transparent about their activities and produce content that generates value for the consumers. Even though open rates would be greatly affected by the new policy, businesses can see who the real subscribers are and produce services specialised to this group. As mentioned, businesses will still be able to track website visitors and analyse where consumers are visiting from.

4 tips for driving engagement

Rather than attempting to circumvent these privacy measures, businesses should lean into this irreversible trend. Companies that prevail will be those that:

  • Test, test, test. Your business should be cataloging the creative that works best, increasing the number of tests you’re making, and drawing conclusions about what messaging your contacts respond best to.
  • Set a baseline. Anticipate the metrics that will matter to your business once these changes roll out, and begin testing the impacts now. Get a baseline of what “good" performance looks like before the visibility disappears. Hint: get an indication of the ratios that imply high opens/clicks, but also test the types of actions you’ll want recipients to take.
  • Get the house in order. Ensure your lists are clean and up-to-date. Identify your highly engaged cohorts, the leads/organisations that engage but are yet to convert, and the customers that show signs of cross-selling opportunities.
  • Put the customer first. Remember these guys? They’re subscribed to you because at some point you presented a compelling offer. Encourage them to re-engage with you in a meaningful way now - so that your data is enriched, and you’re able to get a headstart on your competitors once data begins disappearing.

Grab your customers’ attention with offers they can’t refuse. Create a campaign that Incentivises and rewards customers that share their data. With a 360 degree rewarding capability, iGo creates customised promotions, that offer rewards, to specific audience segments. Similarly, our True Rewards platform distributes instant digital rewards that can be integrated with our simple plug-and-play API widget. 

If you need to motivate more people in your contact list to engage, speak to our experts on 03 8383 6000 for a free rewards check-up.