Open Rates No Longer the KING KPI – Do We Panic NOW?
Listen, if you’ve lived in email-marketing-land for a while, you’ve likely heard about the latest update from Apple… and what you’ve heard isn’t great news. Email marketers the world over are quaking in their boots about this update but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t mean you have to pack it in and give up.
Don’t worry, friends. There IS a silver lining. So, let’s break down the update and what this means for all of us. And, then, I’ll get to the good part: Tips for how you can make these changes work FOR YOU.
How did Open Rate become the KING KPI for Email Marketing?
It’s commonly accepted that email open rate is one of the most valuable metrics to measure the success of our email campaigns. But, why? Well, from a plain perspective, it lets us know that our emails are being opened. (Duh.) More importantly however, it can often suggest that your subject line did its job and got people to open the email. HURRAH!
A high open rate can also confirm that your content is at peak performance and readers are anxiously awaiting your emails. (cue – fingernail biting). Open rate has long been one of the major indicators of email campaign success, but the new Apple update has knocked King Open Rate from his throne.
What is the Apple iOS 15 Update and why should I care?
In June 2021, Apple announced a collection of new iOS15 privacy features which include:
Mail Privacy Protection (FREE):
According to tech journalists, Apple Mail will have the capability of allowing users to opt in to mail privacy features that mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens or other IP-related data.
Apple will now offer an elevated iCloud subscription that includes additional privacy features such as a VPN-like Private Relay feature, which would block sites from seeing Safari users (who have opted in to the service) and also allow subscribers to see which websites their data is being sent to.
Hide My Email (within iCloud+):
This new feature, included in iCloud+ offers users a way to “cloak” their emails (Romulans eat your heart out) and provide a “fake” email address to sites. Any promotional emails received by the phoney email address will still end up in your inbox, but brands will NOT be able to see subscribers’ real email address until they choose to share it.
While the paid-for services may not be overly detrimental to email marketers, the free Mail Privacy Protection service is what is causing the most anxiety among marketers. While Apple has yet to confirm if Apple Mail users are automatically opted in to this new feature, many are crying out, believing they see the death of “King Open Rate”.
And while it is true that this feature will undoubtedly affect the legitimacy of open rate and the validity of A/B testing, I promised you it wasn’t all bad news.
So, here we go, read on friends, to find out who the saviour is.
All Hail KING (real) Connection – Give Your Customers QUALITY Content
To some, more seasoned marketers, this latest rollout isn’t all that NEW, as it is among a series of recent privacy-focused rollouts from tech companies worldwide.
Namely, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update choked mobile app tracking by requiring users to opt into sharing information when they opened an app after downloading it. Google has also been prepping marketers while building out its Privacy Sandbox for Chrome’s phase-out of third party cookies in 2022. So, while the tech companies rollout this new generation of privacy features, some marketers are even seeing this as GOOD news!
Inbound marketing has been gaining traction and the recent moves by Apple and others only reinforces this trend. Will DeKrey, Hubspot’s Group Product Manager of Campaigns had this to share: “Buyers get to be in charge of the data they share; not sellers. And big corporations shouldn’t get to create markets for tracking and selling personal data, giving them an information advantage over smaller businesses,” DeKrey says.“This means that each individual company, large or small, will need to get better and better at building trusted relationships with their audience, earning the right to learn who they are and what they’re interested in.”
So, if looking at your open rate makes you cringe, now is your time to rejoice! Spend more time building genuine connections with your customers and curating content that is engaging! Content created in this fashion will inspire your customers to interact with your brand because they WANT TO and overall will create stronger, more trusted relationships between you and your customers.
Tips for Email Marketers to Deal with iOS15
This change is coming and while it may seem exhausting (doesn’t it feel like you pivoted for a different reason yesterday?), I’ve got a few tips for you to make the transition easier.
Keep up to date with all of Apple’s updates. Even though Apple has released most of the details, we still don’t FULLY know how this will unfold in real-time. Staying informed from the source is the best way to pivot and adjust your email campaigns.
Remember, this doesn’t impact ALL email providers. So far, this is just an Apple rollout, although history tells us that often changes like this become cross-platform in short-order.
Consider adjusting your goals, particularly open rate. The KING is no longer on his throne (or at least isn’t sitting comfortably), so consider adjusting your OR goals to come in line with iOS 15 changes.
Don’t forget about your other metrics. The other metrics still have a wealth of information for marketers to digest. Consider clicks and click-through rates, traffic to your site, clickmaps, unsubscribe rates and even customer surveys and polls.
Try out some of these tips and let me know how you do! Not interested in jumping into the deep end on your own? Drop me a line and let’s see if we can work together to make your website and business really stand out!