Apple iOS15 users now can hide their emails, what’s the future of email marketing?

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Author: Dora Sorić

Trust issues in email marketing are now even more important than ever before, and this is something marketers shouldn’t ignore.

Apple has recently introduced iOS 15, their new operating system for mobile phones and tablets. While this may look at first sight as news interesting only to hard core fans of everything Apple, privacy settings embedded in this new operating system will have implications on efficiency (and profitability) of marketing automation.

New iOS 15 updates mail privacy update empowers users, among other features, to hide their real email addresses through generating custom ones every time when they submit a form, sign up for service or event.

Why should we hide our emails? 

“Hide my email” is a new privacy feature that allows users to create unique, random email addresses to use with apps, websites and other platforms. For example, when a user creates a new account with an app, signs up for a newsletter online, or sends an email to someone, they can “hide” their real personal mail address to themselves, and use another email address just for that communication.

This applies not only to current users of iPhones, iPads or iPods, iWatches, but also to all iCloud+ users. Virtually, that could be anyone with internet access and a connected PC, willing to buy an extra storage space.

The communication will be forwarded from this virtual address to users’ real personal email address, but the sender will never know what the real address is. They can read and respond directly to emails sent to these addresses and their personal email address is kept private.

This feature may be a step forward when we look at things sitting in a user chair. Simply, when a user doesn’t trust something or someone completely, or they’re not entirely sure that they want to continue receiving communications from a certain entity (for example web shop or a blog site), they may simply erase the email address associated with this communication.

That’s great, but what does it bring to marketing automation?

The possibility of users creating and erasing multiple email addresses for sure means that marketers will have to invest more time and resources into monitoring their interactions. Simply put, marketers will have to even better monitor bounce emails and opt in / opt out flows.

Moreover, this will certainly lead to duplicate records – a huge headache for marketers.

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Apple: New email and app privacy in a nutshell

  • changes will be applied to email inboxes managed by Apple Mail
  • mail privacy protection feature is optional
  • Apple Mail will be downloading all the email content upon delivery, not when the email is opened, therefore all the delivered emails will be automatically marked as opened
  • All of the downloaded content will be routed to hide users’ IP address, and show the random one instead
  • Users will be able to generate random email addresses when submitting the form or signing up for events / services. Users are entitled to unlimited amount of custom email addresses including domains, and can delete them at any time
  • with App Privacy report, users will be able to review how the app was using granted permissions and with whom potentially the data might be Shared
  • all the changes are applicable to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey and watchOS 8

How will it impact marketers?

  • Open (email) stats will be heavily impacted
  • Einstein functionality including Send Time Optimization, Engagement Frequency, Scoring will be adjusted to the new reality with October 2021 release, but the details are not revealed yet
  • Device information won’t be available / will be limited
  • Users creating random emails will lead to generating duplicate records and opt in / opt out logic breaks. Deletion of random email addresses will increase the number of bounces

Title image: (C) Pixabay / Pexels