How to Survive IOS 15 (Tips For DTC E-commerce Stores)

IOS 15 is almost here, and we’re busy behind the scenes working to minimize the impact on data and performance inside our client’s accounts. 


I hope you’re doing the same! 


This post will give you a brief outline of the IOS 15 update, what impact it might have on your email marketing strategy and results, and how we’re planning on adjusting. 


If you haven’t started planning yet, feel free to steal this strategy. But whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. 


IOS 15 - What is it and How Might it Impact Your Revenue from Email?


IOS 15 is an update to the iPhone's operating system. Like most updates, it covers a wide range of changes. But this particular update is likely to have a big impact on email marketing. 


The reason is simple and not surprising if you’ve been following along with digital marketing and privacy options at all in the past decade.


Basically, Apple is giving users an option to turn off open rate tracking. 


Now, many marketers are panicking. And, to be honest, some marketers should be panicking (hopefully, you’re not one of them). 


There are three areas where this change may impact your store. 


  1. Data
  2. Segmentation
  3. Revenue

Let’s start with data. 


Data


For (basically) ever, email marketers have relied on the open rate as one piece of data to let us know how emails are performing. 


But it was never the full picture. 


Open rate is helpful because it lets us know if emails are going to the inbox and if they’re going to potentially interested people. 


An exceptionally low open rate means there is a good chance that you’re not hitting the inbox. 


A low open rate could also mean that the people you’re emailing aren’t that interested in what you have to say… so you need better qualified leads, or more interesting and valuable emails. 


A good open rate means all is well and a high open rate means your list is very interested and engaged. 


As you can see though, nothing above translates directly into money. 


Yes, the more people who are actively engaged with your marketing content, the better chance you are to close a sale. 


And the more people are opening your emails, the more likely they are to be engaged (although it isn’t a guarantee). 


But now that we can’t rely on the open rate as a reliable piece of data, we need to look beyond the open rate. 


Clicks are another really great way to measure the same things as mentioned above. In fact, it’s an even better way. 


If people are not just opening, but taking the time to click on your emails, we can be even more sure they are interested and engaged. 


Tip: Get a baseline of click rates now before the IOS update so you have plenty of data to compare your clicks to once the change comes. 


At The Email Lady, click rate is always something we have our eye on, and that won’t change moving forward. We track our client’s click rate every week to make sure we’re on track. Slight changes alert us of potential issues before they become bigger problems and we’ll continue to monitor after the update (with plenty of click rate history to compare to). 


Segmentation


Who you send your emails to is a big deal, especially as your list grows. 


Previously, we’ve used open rate as part of a strategy for deciding who to send emails to. Basically, we wanted to send emails to people who have engaged with the brand recently, and open rates was just one way of measuring engagement. 


We know that if we email a segment of people who have recently engaged with your brand, they’re more likely to open, click, and buy than those who haven’t engaged with your brand in 6 months or more. 


The benefit of using the open rate as a measure for engagement is that it casts a wide net. Meaning, many more people will open your email than will click on an email. Even more will open when compared to the number that will buy. 


If we rely only  on recent purchases or clicks, we’re ignoring an entire group of people who may be quietly reading and waiting for the right time to buy. 


What’s the solution here?


In short, since IOS 15 isn’t live yet, we can’t be 100% sure what the best combination of metrics will be for every type of email that we send. 


However, we will be testing some of the following options (and I suggest you do the same if you manage your own email marketing). 


  1. Including those who have recently subscribed, clicked, or visited a website. 
  2. Including those who have recently purchased, subscribed, clicked, or visited a website. 
  3. Including those who have recently clicked or visited your website AND who have also clicked or visited frequently. 

All of these are options for building an engaged list and could work for different types of emails (nurture vs. sale, for example). Also, this list is not all inclusive. You should test using the metrics and time frame that make sense for your store. 


Tip: Start testing now to see how your numbers compare before the update kicks in. 


And remember, not everyone will have the option to hide open rates (for now), so you can continue to include those who have opened your emails in your engaged lists, too. 

Revenue

The truth is, no one really cares about open rates as much as revenue. So, this is really the metric to watch as we go into this, or any other, major marketing change. 


Theoretically, not having access to open rates shouldn’t create a drop in revenue. At least, not directly. 


But as mentioned above, it will impact segmentation, and if we don’t get segmentation right, we could risk a drop in revenue. 


Of course, you don’t want to find out that your reaction (or lack of reaction) to this update has caused a drop in revenue after you see a loss of revenue. We want to be proactive and put procedures in place to prevent any loss before it occurs. 


One other metric to look out for is the total number of successful deliveries. If that number drops, you could very likely see a drop in revenue for the month. We track this number weekly so we can address any issues very early, and will continue to do so with our clients. 


Total clicks is another potential metric to watch out for during this change. Basically, we will need to make sure our emails are still getting into the inbox and that we’re still reaching roughly the same (or more, as your list grows) number of people as we were previously. 


And finally, make sure your content is engaging and interesting to your audience (or risk deliverability issues). 


Although open rates aren’t the only metric that indicates deliverability, it is sort of the canary in the coal mine because it is often an initial metric that changes when there is an issue. Without this, it will be beneficial to keep an eye on a wide range of metrics so you can quickly identify if your emails are no longer reaching the inbox. 


Tip: Create a custom dashboard in Klaviyo’s analytics tab to track your most important metrics. Check in each week to see if there are any major changes and adjust quickly if so. 


Next Steps

If you’re already an Email Lady client, we’re working in the background to handle this update with the least amount of friction possible. You don’t have to take any action. 


If you’re not already a client, here are two suggestions:


  1. Track results. If you’re not already, keep a close eye on your current results. If you don’t have a good baseline of click rates, total sends, segment size, etc… then it’ll be easier for you to miss potential red flags until it’s too late. 
  2. Start now. Test segments and compare your results so you can be ready to go as soon as the update goes live. 

Or, of course, you can always jump on board as one of our clients. We’ll help your store grow using the power of email marketing… even when Apple throws us a curveball! :)