How iOS 15 could cut your email revenue in half (and how to prevent it)

iOS 15 is coming. Maybe later this month, maybe early October. Either way, it’ll be here before you know it. 

As ad costs rise, more brands have become reliant on email marketing to drive profit. 

Apple’s new iOS 15 update poses a large threat to brands that are dependent on email. 

With iOS 15, Apple Mail is no longer tracking open rates (among other things).

But open rate tracking is the biggest and most impactful change for the majority of mid-market DTC brands (~$5M-$100M in annual revenue). 

Many brands send their one-off email campaigns to a segment that’s become known as “Engaged” which is typically defined as “subscribers who have opened an email in the last XX days”. 

On desktop alone, about 8-31% of emails are opened via Apple Mail (source: Wavebreak client data).

And on mobile, the numbers are even higher. 37% of all emails are opened on iPhone via Apple Mail (source: Litmus). 

Let’s say 33% of your list is opening on Apple Mail from desktop and mobile combined. 

Initially you’d think “33% of our list, so 33% of our email campaign revenue is at risk”, but that’s assuming all subscribers are created equal. 

If you look at data of iPhone users in general, they are typically higher value customers. 

Business Insider reports that “Apple users have a higher credit score than anyone else.” 

So even if just 33% of your list opens in Apple mail, it could be the 33% that drives 80% of your campaign revenue. 

And in these times of high CAC (that will rise into Q4), it could cut into a large part of your profit. 

In other words, iOS 15 changes way more than just open rates. 

But luckily, iOS 15 isn’t the problem. Your segmentation strategy is the problem. 

The current go-to ‘Engaged’ segment based on “opened XX days” is a lazy, but easy way to segment and keep engagement relatively high. 

Moving forward, brands will have to become more sophisticated with their segmentation. 

The Secret to Great Segmentation: Follow The Money 

When iOS 15 was first announced, we audited our client accounts. We knew there had to be a better way than shifting segmentation to be based on clicks. 

So we asked the question, “where does the revenue actually come from?”

The answer will vary for every brand, but when we analyzed our client data, we found: 

  •  ~70-80% of campaign revenue came from existing customers 
  • ~20-30% of campaign revenue came from new subscribers in the last 30-60 days 

Neither of these stats have to do with open rates. But it makes sense these people would naturally fall into the “Engaged” segment. 

Moving forward, your new “Engaged” segment should be based on your customer / subscriber behavior. 

There is no “one size fits all” and there never really was. 

For some of our clients, 99% of our campaigns go to non-customers. But for your brand, that might not make sense. 

Other clients, we’ll send 50% of monthly campaigns to only female subscribers. But for your brand, that might not make sense. 

To beat iOS 15, reverse-engineer your success using your existing data. 

Next week, we’ll share a tip on what NOT to do with your segmentation (that a lot of people think they NEED to do)…

If you want an expert team to run your email/SMS marketing for you at this advanced level, schedule a call with Wavebreak here.