What Does Apple’s iOS 15 Update Mean For Hotel Email Marketing?
Earlier this summer at it’s WWDC event, Apple announced a preview of feature changes coming to it’s devices with the new iOS 15 update. While the previous iOS 14 update took aim at paid media advertising through app tracking, iOS 15 privacy updates centered its focus towards email marketing through tracking within the Apple Mail inbox. GCommerce, and the entire digital marketing industry, immediately took notice and started to analyze the potential impact this update will have on email marketing. Set to be released sometime this fall, possibly later this month, we’ve been closely following this news.
What email specific features are included in the Apple iOS 15 update?
The two features that are positioned to have the biggest impact on email marketing include the Mail Privacy Protection and Hide My Email features.
- Mail Privacy Protection - Apple states that this new feature “hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if and when you’ve opened your email”. This feature is included in iOS15 but is not a default opt-in. The user will have to navigate to features and take action to implement the feature. This may have an impact on adoption rate.
- Hide My Email - according to Apple, this feature “instantly generate(s) unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal inbox - so you don’t have to share your email address when filling out a form on the web or signing up for a newsletter”. While important, this feature does incur an additional fee to use, so it’s yet to be seen as to what the adoption rate by users will be.
What do these Apple iOS 15 changes mean for my hotel’s email marketing?
- It will impact open rate measurement - The Mail Privacy Protection feature will directly impact your ability to measure email open rates as well as use IP address to understand geo-location of a user which will impact your ability to use schedule send time based on IP location. Over the years Open rate has been the go-to metric to understand the initial engagement of your email’s content and subject lines. WPromote has indicated that within it’s beta tests, Open rates appear to be over reported but a lot is still left to be understood when the full release happens. Revinate also indicated that “Revinate emails opened with Apple Mail are only in the single digits,” so the release should not have a “major impact on our metrics or ability to evaluate campaign engagement”.
- Clicks, CTR and Revenue remain as the most important KPIs - While Open Rate may become less of a focus for email marketers, the true measure of success will continue to be placed on clicks, CTR and ultimately the revenue produced. You should focus your testing around creative, content and promotions based on these KPIs.
- Greater importance of robust 1st party guest profiles - If your hotel is not already using a eCRM platform such as Revinate to obtain guest preference information and tap into rich guest profile information for advanced segmentation strategies you will be missing out on methods to ensure engagement and revenue generation are maximized from your email marketing efforts.
- It could hurt deliverability rates - The auto-generating of unique, random email addresses by Hide My Email could result in higher bounce rates and emails sent to spam folders and is something to monitor.
What should we do now to prepare our hotel’s email marketing for the Apple iOS 15 update?
While a lot of the impact from the launch of Apple iOS 15 is unknown at this point, there are steps you can take to try and mitigate it. Most of these center around previous recommendations made in response to other privacy measures including previous updates from Apple, Facebook, Google and other tech platforms.
- Prioritize collecting and expanding 1st party data and guest profiles.
- Focus on delivering valuable content, promotions and packaging to their target audiences. One way to continue to understand what type of content engages their audiences is to monitor and test messaging across various media types including search, social and display.
- Focus testing on content components within the body of the email vs focusing on subject line open rates for success. Since we will potentially have less understanding of subject line performance, consider pulling ideas from other media channel ads such as paid search or social.
- Continue to build your brand awareness across all channels to encourage brand recognition and higher CTRs for all types of marketing campaigns.
Have additional questions on the recent Apple iOS 14 or 15 updates and how it impacts your hotel’s digital marketing? Please reach out to one of the experts at GCommerce, we look forward to connecting with you.