Earlier this summer, Apple announced its upcoming (Fall 2021) release of iOS 15, which touts a number of new privacy features that will help users control and monitor how their data is being used.
With the growing push towards increased privacy and consent-based data collection in Big Tech, this announcement comes as no surprise. So, how does it affect association marketers and professionals?
Let’s first take a deep breath, then a deep dive into why this isn't the end of all marketing as we know it 😎
According to Apple, Mail Privacy Protection will “stop senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user. The new feature helps users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email, and masks their IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or used to determine their location.” (Apple Press Release, June 2021).
In short, you (the marketer) will no longer have accurate open rates for users viewing your emails on the Apple Mail app. This accounts for about 11% of all email users, and that number may change depending on the audience(s) you’re trying to reach.
While 11% may seem like a small piece of the pie, the reality is that increased privacy protections will almost certainly not end with the Apple initiative, and this release will likely have a ripple effect on other Email Service Providers such as Gmail, Outlook, and others.
So, rather than looking at iOS 15 as an isolated case, we're recommending all marketers take this opportunity to move with the grain, not against it. It's time to wean off of surface KPIs into more meaningful metrics such as clicks and conversions.
Because HighRoad Solutions' driving philosophy is to align associations with the right data and tech stacks, we’re here to help you move in that direction.
- Deliverability: When you talk about “deliverability,” you're really talking about sender reputation. This can be influenced by data quality and the interactions and content you serve up to your constituents. Do you have active, current email addresses for the individuals you’re trying to reach, are your emails reaching them, or are they being blocked/spammed?
- Open Rates: Many organizations measure the success of their email programs by open rates. But what is this really measuring? In the end, it's measuring the relationship you have with your audience and the quality of the subject line that enticed them to open. While there may be an inference of content loyalty, it doesn't illustrate much more about the email, and quality of content, at that particular time.
- Click-Through Rate: When you measure success by CTR, you're really asking the question, “Is the messaging and CTA compelling enough for the individual to take action or learn more?” The click in itself is a measurement of mid funnel interest. This is a much more indicative signal of whether your content and programming is resonating with your users.
- Conversion Rate: When you dive into conversion rate, you're going beyond the click into results. Conversions are, by definition, your users taking action on your version of success. And your success endpoint can be anything—filling out a form, donating, purchasing a product, or registering for an event.
It's clear there are different indicators for campaign success. And, by design, as your audiences move down the funnel, your relationship with them gets more meaningful.
- Are your members and prospects enticed to click on free educational content?
- Are they clicking to learn more about an upcoming event or program offering?
- Do you tend to see higher engagement on your dedicated emails or are you seeing a bigger response to your monthly newsletter updates?
- Are you seeing higher engagement when your copy ratio is much lower than your content ratio?
- On average, how many emails does it take for your members and customers to act?
- Are there specific segments that tend to click more than others?
Step 3—Issue A/B testing with quality emails that entice your readers to click. Don't just create one-off tests. Put strategy behind your testing methods. Consider testing:
- Long-form updates or articles versus short blurbs with links to read more
- Different visual formats, from imagery, to layouts, to scanability, etc.
- Hard sell calls to action versus educational and motivational teasers
- Content formats like handbooks versus infographics versus videos
Once you’ve honed in on the visual elements, formats, and content types that resonate best with your audiences, now it’s time to focus on conversion measurement. This step may involve adding some code to your website in order to link website activity back to your email activity. We can help with this step if you need it.
From an objectives standpoint, Conversion Tracker gives you a full picture of the activity generated by your email campaigns.
- Ties attributable marketing revenue, and ultimately ROI, back to specific campaigns and emails.
- Enables you to forecast the results of future campaigns and efforts. By analyzing the results you’re seeing over time, you're able to make data-driven decisions about future campaigns.
- Assign values to each phase of the journey so that you're not just tracking your final conversion; you're tracking linear interactions in between the start and finish line.
About Nicole Crilley
Nicole is a digital strategist and content designer with 10 years of experience in email marketing automation, web design, marketing technology, user experience, and content production. With a versatile background in freelance, consulting, and corporate settings, Nicole specializes in identifying and implementing effective digital strategies.