Apple iOS 15 Effects on Email Marketing Open Rates

December 13, 2021 CONRIC PR

Apple released their most recent major iPhone software update iOS 15 on September 20, 2021.  Since then companies have sent out at least one or two newsletter cycles and have gathered data to compare pre- and post-update.  Additionally, users have had a chance to install it on their phones and start using it. 

As part of the release, Apple included a feature called Mail Privacy Protection.  It’s included for free for all users of iOS 15 and affects how the built-in Apple Mail app works.  The feature prevents senders from using invisible pixels to determine whether their emails were opened or not.  It greatly affects open rates and causes them to be unreliable.  These changes affect all email platforms such as Constant Contact and MailChimp.

Any strategies that depend on open rates need to be adjusted.  Automated campaigns that rely on open rates or open triggers need to be reviewed and updated as necessary. For example, resends to non-openers are less effective.  Segmentation by open rates is also less reliable. 

Click to open ratios are also affected because they rely on open rates.  However, the actual number of clicks are unaffected.  Just the ratio to open rate which is a popular measure of interactivity.  A/B testing can also be affected as success is typically measured by open rates.   Measuring click to send ratio or just overall number of clicks can replace click to open ratios.  A/B testing can be measured by using click rates as well and overall web traffic that is sourced from each version of the campaign.  

 This update only affects users that read email on iPhones using the Apple Mail app.  If you happen to know that your target audience does not fit within this category, this change may not affect you (for now).  However, in general, these users comprise about 50% of email recipients.  Additionally, adoption rates of iOS 15 have been slower than that of previous versions, so fewer users will be affected initially.  But in the long run, most iPhone and probably other Apple device users will be affected.

 The good news is that the same practices we have always promoted with email marketing remain the same.  Good subject lines, good calls to action and the ultimate conversion rates (sales, phone calls, etc.) remain the focus of any good email campaign.  List growth will continue to be a key strategy as well.

 You can continue doing what you’ve always done to get good results, but you will just do it without as much feedback from the open rates.  Deliverability, focus on content and targeting user action will remain top priorities for any email campaign.

All this tech talk flying over your head? Maybe it’s time for you to hire a team of digital marketing experts to make sure that your email blasts are sure to deliver the expected results despite any update. Schedule your free 2022 marketing consultation today at

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