eCommerce iOS Changes: 7 Genius takes + The impact on Email Marketing

eCommerce iOS Changes: 7 Genius takes  + The impact on Email Marketing
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The Real Marketing Geniuses on iOS 15: How will email cope with new privacy settings?

We have asked some of the biggest names in email marketing to give us their take on what could possibly happen once the iOS 15 apocalypse happens. With the end (or new beginning) looming, we want to offer some encouraging words from the geniuses of the eCommerce world and gods of emails.

Name: Dan LeBlanc

Title: Co-Founder/CEO

Company Name:  Daasity


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it will affect email attribution?

Dan: Email Marketers are going to lose some functionality with this update, but at the end of the day it’ll be just another update in the long line of events that were supposed to be the ‘death of email’.

With ‘Cookie-pocalypse' around the corner, I expect this trend to continue, and in-platform performance reporting to become less reliable. Marketers are going to be forced to be less reliant on Third-party data and more reliant on First / Zero-party data. 

Q: How would you recommend brands amend their strategy to iOS 15 to still ensure their email performance stays high?

Dan: We’re betting big that brands are going to creatively leverage their customers’ data, which will allow them to create a better, more personalized experience for customers. The combination of new school First/Zero party data tactics combined with “old school” practices like RFM will create a new arena for email marketers to improve both customer experiences and contributions to revenue.

Q: On a personal note, how are you feeling about it?

Dan: To be honest it reminds me of when I was managing a team of 10 email marketers and Google released the Promotions tab back in 2013. It seemed like the end of the world, but we adjusted and almost 10 years later email is still one of the most profitable channels for most brands.

Name: Russell Dawson

Title: Email Wizard

Company Name: Taxi for Email

Q: How do you think iOS 15 will affect segmentation over email?

Russell: We will no longer be able to rely strictly on using open data for list segmentation or hygiene. Instead, we'll need to look at what other positive intent data we can combine on our subscribers such as last click, last reply, last login, last browse, last purchase etc to create these engaged audience segments. It's going to make CRM trickier overall but Email Marketers have overcome challenges before and will continue to do so.

I think the biggest aspect is that it's going to affect a significant proportion of everybody's email list with preload images, meaning it's going to inflate open rate reporting for the Mail app on iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 devices. Automated campaigns where a trigger is based on an open pixel firing will need to be readjusted whilst subject line testing and real-time optimisation results will be erroneous.

Q: What are your thoughts on the change in privacy settings?

Russell: This appears to be a natural progression from changes made to third party cookies and cross-app tracking previously. Tech firms are now locked into a battle over privacy as a benefit to their consumers. Subscribers that opt-in to MPP have plainly stated they don't want their email opens tracked and that needs to be respected rather than be worked around.

Q: From a marketing perspective, how do you think this will impact subscribers?

Russell: Personally I think that the individual's rights are paramount over any business's needs but we do have a legitimate interest within GDPR. Great deliverability is based on respect, though I wonder if subscribers have fully understood the outcome in regards to the type of communications they're likely to receive going forward. Subscribers state they want more personalised, targeted emails but this change is likely to see the opposite happening as without that open data, they risk receiving more irrelevant, untimely emails. We may also see higher send volumes occurring where organisations go back to sending out more blanket emails to their wider database.

Name: Valentin Radu

Title: CEO

Company Name:


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it will affect eCommerce?

Valentin: The impact on e-commerce marketing is that it’s going to dramatically increase the need for accurate zero party and first-party data. 

That is also going to make brands more aware of the treasure they need to keep: customer data. 

Q: How do you think people will retaliate to iOS 15?

Valentin: iOS15  is going to have a domino effect in the world of e-commerce because it’s setting the stage for the other operating systems to do the same. Moreover, the web browsers will align to this new reality where privacy is set as default. 

Q: How will Omniconvert retaliate to iOS 15?

Valentin: For Omniconvert it is a great thing: we help companies to segment their customers and monitor the NPS throughout the entire customer journey.

I’ve dried my mouth talking about the importance of customer lifetime value (CLV) and customer experience since I had way less grey hair than today. So, I am pretty happy to see more people joining our CVO Academy.

Q: How are you personally feeling about it?

Valentin: I think the game is changing and that’s a good thing because it’s going to make the brands more inclined to cherish their customers differently and better of course, while also forcing them to address their customers in a more relevant manner. 

That means better services for the consumers, coming from more creative companies. And less boring companies that deserve to be forgotten :)


Name: Jon Ivanco

Title: Co-Founder 

Company Name: Formtoro


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it will affect email attribution?

Jon: I love it! I'm a big fan of privacy and privacy-related features. I think that email has become nothing but offers and emails for the sake of emails, basically passing out flyers while I'm walking down the street. On that analogy, that's essentially the problem with attribution and has been for a long time: did the email convert someone, or was it just the reminder that the brand exists relevant to the timing and need to purchase something? No one can be sure. I believe most buying decisions come down to timing. So the goal of any brand is just to be in the right place and the right time to remind the person that signed up they are the best option for them.

Attribution by the system is all skewed towards the system tracking it, they are all biased because they need to prove their worth, it's how you get taglines of "You should be driving 30% or your revenue from email" - pretty much pushed out by an email company, SMS has a 98% open rate - pushed out by an SMS company. That's not to say that results don't happen through these systems but at the end of the day does it matter?

Internally, we tell people to focus on a blended ROAS score, take the total revenue and divide it by all paid ad spend, which tells you if you're profitable and progressing.

Individual channel attribution isn't something to directly focus on, yes you always want to be tweaking but a lot of that comes down to just being different. 

Q: What other changes do you see on the horizon?

Jon: iOS changes are going to keep coming. I wouldn't be surprised if we allow people to hide their phone numbers when subscribing for SMS next. Privacy is going to be the way forward which means that most brands are starting from a lack of trust as a result of how other brands have treated communications.

At this point, the amount of flyer type emails is systemic and provides very little value. Like any channel, if you abuse it, your results will go down.

There is a shift on the horizon, where I do believe smarter people and ideas will come into the mix and focus on creating customer journeys instead of company journeys. Rather than chase profits, they will have to go beyond to create actual communities around the lifestyles of brands.

Give people a reason to subscribe outside of getting product updates, sales, or by default after making a purchase.

We're transitioning into a period of consent-based marketing where if someone consents to give you their email address you should at least attempt to understand what would be most relevant to them on their journey.

Q: How should businesses react to these changes, both from an agency and brand perspective?

Jon: It's great for business, we help brands collect zero party data that they can use to personalize their email before they send the first message. From our business perspective this move was telegraphed years in advance and what we were doing was losing its effectiveness anyway. This was just a matter of time.

I'm more concerned about the number of agencies and brands that didn't see this coming, that is pitching outdated and non-solutions, and unfortunately being quite reactionary to these changes.

The fact of the matter is that everyone that's saying no one has cracked iOS 14.5 and iOS 15 is stuck using old methods to solve a new problem, the reason they haven't found a "solution" is that they are viewing the problem from an antiquated position.

Things are going to get interesting from here.

Q: How are you personally feeling about it?

Jon: I'm all about privacy, it's long overdue. I get too many emails from too many companies that just send me random stuff and don't even take my past purchases into play when sending out batch and blast offers and deals. Emails have become a lazy game where people would rather go with quantity over quality. I'm hoping that iOS 15 is a catalyst to change this behaviour.

Name: Masood Akbarzai

Title: CEO

Company Name:  Business Intel Pro


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it could possibly affect eCommerce and marketing?

Masood: I, personally, think that the iOS 15 update has less to do with privacy and protection, and more with digital warfare between Apple and digital marketing channels that monetises online traffic for businesses. I think the update will heavily impact SME’s in the eCommerce space and digital agencies that provide services to eCommerce businesses. However, when a change hits everyone, the overall impingement on market share amongst everyone isn’t significant, as everyone will be required to compensate for a common impact. Brands should work on their customer behavioural economics and develop strategies for segmentation of that. Look for common trends in cohorts and specific demographics, test those hypotheses in your A/B testing. Adapt automation, become more agile, and be available to your customers’ needs and queries. Moreover, look into ways that make the customer journey interactive, peculiar to every group or person. 

I don’t think deliverability will be a huge issue with iOS 15, but open rates will be, which is a crucial metric for email marketers. Again, one can adopt new techniques to counter this, such as retargeting based on last actions taken on previous email campaigns and on-site navigations using heat maps and other pixels. It’s about time you start greeting and getting acquainted with your customers that ‘you care about.’ I don’t think IP masking that comes with iOS 15 is an alarming issue; one can always go back to the source, and well, of the data collected from, and segment their audiences accordingly. 

We are heading towards an era of decentralised data ownership by the consumer, this is only the beginning and businesses are getting accustomed to the new reality. The consumer is not as worried about their data (you already own that, don’t you), they are more so, very wary of their time being used up by brands, technology giants – and the divide of that time amongst all of them. The consumer wants to be either less spammed, occupied, or compensated for their time used online, using their behaviour data. We now have channels like Brave Browser that serve its users to surf the internet Ad-Free or sell their interest-based Ad-Space in crypto-currency to the brands they want to see on their screens – advertising to them. But I still think the iOS 15 isn’t quite accommodating for that demand-and-growing problem, and it’s more about Apple’s rivalry with advertising channels over revenue share for data/behaviour that’s collected through their devices.

On that premise would you say people use Apple iPhones because people like their devices, or is it, after all, technology products such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Shopify, eBay, Amazon, etc have made a demand for these devices? It’s the apps that bring everyone to the party, Apple iPhone just happens to collect consumer data through apps downloaded via App Store and through their Mail App. We are not sending these emails to Mail App on Apple iPhones; we are sending it to the users, that happens to receive these emails on their Mail App, which too, originally comes from their email providers such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, and other domain-specific email providers. In an ideal world, Apple should have only governed their @icloud emails.

Is it fair for Apple to capitalise on this restriction via digital dictatorship?  Oh, wait! But they did collect that consent when the iOS 15 updates popped up? Does that now democratise this consent?

Well, not really. I think Apple has been a little disingenuous about the architecture of influencing consumer decisions and to be quite frank, I don’t think the consumer has made a very informed decision when updating to iOS 15. If you hit me with an option worded “Do Not Protect Mail Activity”, I’m more than likely not going to choose this option, whereas, in reality, I may have misconstrued what this option truly means. Does it mean that I’m exposing myself to serious threats by choosing this option? No, I’m not. 

I think there’s a fair case of brands, consumers, and technology companies such as Facebook, Klaviyo, and others, working together on challenging such actions to safeguard their interests in the future. After the iOS 14 apocalypse, companies like MailChimp and Klaviyo should have seen this coming and worked independently on collecting consumer consent for such restrictions.  

Nevertheless, brands and marketers should not see this as a major hurdle in their growth. When the iOS 14 update brought in constraints for Facebook Ads, we at Business Intel Pro successfully innovated a way to tackle this for our clients’ Facebook PPC campaigns. eCommerce email software companies like Klaviyo and Privy should work on collecting personalisation options within emails. Going forward, we don’t know who is going to open these emails, but the ones who do open should be given options within the email body itself, to personalise the next emails hitting their inboxes. It’s not tracking that’s a problem, but serving people with what they want. 

Q: Why do you think Apple is taking these measures and what should they do differently in the future? 

Masood: It’s very simple – Apple owns a major share of the Total Available Market of Email Client Market Share. Apple iPhone always stays on #1 on the Email Client Market Share chart. It can go up to 60% + market share at times. According to Statista 54.8% of web traffic worldwide came from mobile, but campaign monitor suggests that more than 70% of all email opens come from mobile devices, with most opens in the morning. 90.5% of all of those mobile opens come from Apple iPhones. This staggering figure puts Apple at an almost total email authority position. Apple is a major interlocutor that connects consumers with their favourite apps and digital channels – that can not be ignored. 

Q: How would you recommend brands amend their strategy to iOS 15 to still ensure their email performance stays high?

Masood: I think brands should not abandon their existing strategies immediately or make abrupt changes to their email approach in a bid to counter this change. Every brand should continue with their existing strategies to measure how they are affected by this change, and not compare themselves to other brands. It’s only when you can thoroughly diagnose a situation or a problem, you can improvise a solution for it. As per above, brands should start working on owning more than just contact information about their existing or future punters to be. I think this change will require more of a technological solution as opposed to a creative marketing psychological solution. 

Q: On a personal note, how are you feeling about it?

Masood: Albeit, we don’t offer email marketing as a service to our clients, but we are very much concerned about this, as our clients still need this channel to be live, robust, and responsive for their retargeting campaigns. Email marketing is a bolt in the pulley of digital marketing that keeps the pulley aligned. I’m not too worried, as I said, the change is going to impact everyone and technology companies will find a way around it.


Name: Romans Ivanovs

Title: Founder

Company Name: Riu Media


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it could possibly affect Facebook Ads retargeting?

Romans: Retargeting has already been affected after the iOS14.5 update was rolled out. Looking at our client accounts it’s clear that those that have more pixel data and operate with higher budgets perform better than those without sufficient data. I believe that iOS15 will affect advertisers as well. Although it’s not our primary retargeting strategy one of the ways we use Klaviyo segments to do retargeting is via multi-step pop-ups. Some of the retargeting audiences are judged based on whether they opened their emails or not. 

Q: Do you think any other companies will retaliate to the changes that iOS15 has implemented? Who and how?

Romans: Yes, of course. There are a lot of smart people out there, so it’s just a matter of time for strategy shifts and new technology solutions to help eCommerce folks do their job better. Strategy-wise, we’ll be pushed to work harder and think more about marketing in terms of the customer journey. This is good because at the end of the day marketing is not only about a tech stack we use but mainly about our skills and creativity. 

Q: On a personal note, how are you feeling about it?

Romans: Honestly? I feel, excited and even empowered! There's a lot of interesting work to be done.


Name: Adam Kitchen

Title: Co-Founder

Company Name: Magnet Monster 


Q: What do you think of iOS 15 and how it will affect email marketing?

Adam: The cynic in me says that this is a play by Apple to impose themselves upon their competitors. The optimistic in me says that this change will force email marketers to adapt to a more customer-centric approach that adds value rather than detracts from it with every email sent.

The current methodology in email is to generate leads and/or acquire customers and then to bombard them with offers in the hope that the Lifetime Value increases. This is not only a grossly inefficient way of retargeting customers but also one that treats them with contempt as a cash cow for their business.

The future of email marketing will be permission-based and focused on holistic customer journeys. That may sound wishy-washy to some, but think about it logically: with tracking being eroded and consumers having more choice than ever, how do you keep someone engaged? You have to collect more relevant data, leverage it to serve that customer better, and take a long-term view to relationship building. That sounds more efficient to me than the batch-and-blast approach, not less.

Yes, there’s going to be some temporary pain, but we’ll get over it - if we choose to adapt our strategy and evolve with the times.

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