Where was your store’s email marketing when Apple announced the iOS 15?

Where is it now? Will your store survive the “cookiepocalypse”?

Do you feel prepared for September 2021?

The countdown has started to rethink our email marketing strategies. Because, yes, most of us are not ready yet for a world where you can no longer guide your decisions around Open Rates.

But with the right mindset and data set, your eCommerce business will survive this wave of changes with less focus on 3rd party data & cookies and more focus on data that can help you make your brand experience memorable.

Let’s see what the future holds for us. 

OK, so what is iOS15?

Apple’s iOS 15 update comes with a lot of new features for iPhone users, including more transparency over data privacy.

Users will have access to a detailed App Privacy Report that allows them to see how apps access their data and also control what data they share.

The updates that will have the strongest impact on eCommerce businesses are included in the Mail Privacy Protection, so users can hide their: 

  • Email when filling out a web form
  • IP address (so there’s no link to their online activity or location)
  • Info about email opens.

This update is scheduled for September 2021, which leaves eCommerce stores little time to adapt their email marketing strategy.

How does the iOS15 update affect your eCommerce business?

Apple’s iOS15 update has a massive impact on the third-party data related to email marketing tools. This new privacy update will allow users to choose whether they let trackers see their IP address, location, and email opens.

iOS 15 update forces eCommerce stores to change how they measure the success of an email marketing effort, how they set their automated workflows, and how different types of emails will be triggered.

The bad news is that if you rely a lot on the classic metrics – Open-Rate and Click-Through-Rate, you now have to rethink your email marketing strategy.

The good news is that this update helps you focus more on learning from your existing clients and shift towards using email as an engagement channel based on data you already have.

What types of data does your company use?

We start with the one everybody’s freaking out about. 

Third-party data includes user data collected by an entity from various websites and platforms that these users navigate.

It’s what giants like Google and Facebook have been collecting, luring you into spending your budgets on ads to get new clients and reactivate the existing ones. And now that they’ve got all the data they needed, they want to kill the cookies and put an end to a source of data that was easy for you to get.

After the “cookiepocalypse,” the first party and zero party data will take center stage, where they should always have been. 

First-party data is user data that you collect while they navigate your site or your platform. It is a type of data that’s totally in your control and reveals a lot about your potential and existing customer behavior.

It’s the type of data successful eCommerce businesses are built on – first-party and zero-party data. They rely on it to optimize the customer journey, customer experience, and customer lifetime value. And now, with the death of 3rd party data, processing and analyzing 1st party data will become a necessity.

Zero-party data includes all the data the users provide you by filling out a form, answering surveys and polls, setting preferences, and so on. 

It allows you to create personalized experiences and build a lasting relationship with your customer. It might be harder to manage, but once you figure out how to use that data, everybody wins (customers feel they’re unique to your brand, so they keep coming back, ordering repeatedly). 

This is how this update will benefit you.

The update will help you become more agile at collecting and using your first and zero-party data to create better customer experiences.

It forces you to understand your existing customers better and generate better results through them in a world where stores that prosper are the ones that focus on improving customer retention rates and CLV. 

Also, knowing who your best customers are will help you prioritize efforts, from creating more engagement on email marketing to improving customer acquisition by using lookalike audiences based on your top customers.

To adapt to this new update, you will also have to generate high-quality content for your email efforts. Customers run from irrelevant and uninteresting messages, so now’s the time to show them you care about them and how to make them feel good at any interaction by adding new personalization touches to your emails.

Is your store ready for this update?

The iOS15 update forces eCommerce brands worldwide to re-strategize, so you might also have to change the agencies you partner with and the tools you’re using to manage email marketing and customer data in general.

Now’s the time to address your partners some critical questions regarding how they can help you adapt to this new wave of banning 3rd party data. And there’s not a lot of time left until September.

Think about what data you collect and how it can transform email marketing into a source of engagement. Ask your agency to develop a new strategy based on customer behavior signals and not on vanity metrics like CTR or Open-Rate. Ask your email marketing provider how your first-party data can be used to fine-tune your campaigns.

You will have to improve the way you’re collecting and managing first-party data. If you’re using eCommerce platforms like Shopify or Magento, you already have access to data from customers engaged with your store. Use this data to amplify your email marketing campaigns. Integrations between your data platform or marketing analytics tool and email marketing tool are more important than ever.

Otherwise, you might end up with emails like the one Juliana Jackson wrote, imagining how DTC brands could sound like if they don’t adapt to iOS15:

Greetings customer,

We have sent you ten campaigns with the best CTAs, strong offers, and a killer subject line, and you have completely ignored us. Boo.

We don’t know if you opened it or not but listen, hear us out: Are you still there?

Before we rule you out, would you still like to receive irrelevant emails because we didn’t bother to ask you why you’ve subscribed in the first place?

Pretty please?

Just do something; click *this* or *this*. Fuck it, just reply.


PS: 20% discount on everything! countdown timer ⏳ and all… please.

Yeah. It might look like a joke now. In 4 months from now, it won’t.

Many companies and email marketing agencies are still highly dependent on open rates and use this metric as their primary segmentation strategy. But what does email opening tell you about the recipients’ engagement, anyway?

As you probably guessed already, you’ll have to use existing data for segmentation and trigger your flows based on predictive data and customer buying cycles. 

Apple’s update calls for less guessing when your brand reaches out to your clients and a more reliable segmentation model such as RFM segmentation that helps you group customers based on their recency, frequency, and monetary value. Connecting RFM Segmentation data to your email tool could help you build more engaging campaigns that generate higher profits. 

Wrap up

Apple’s iOS 15 update it’s just a reminder that now is the perfect time to maximize the value of your first and zero-party data. 

Companies that nail their customer experience are already focusing more on predictive data and customer behavior analysis. Customer-centricity became the norm and, clearly, more than a buzzword. 

Trying to grow by acquiring more new customers without a retention strategy is not sustainable. 

The answer was, is, and will be in understanding existing customers and treating them better on all channels, including email marketing which remains one of the most powerful tools for engagement generation.