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What the Apple iOS 15 Update Means for You

A blog post written as a follow-up to a webinar conducted in partnership with  

You may have heard that Apple rolled out several updates to protect users’ privacy. These iOS updates include a range of default and opt-in privacy controls that impact data collection from apps, email, and browsers.

The iOS 14 update—which we covered earlier this year—affects app data collection, and the more recent iOS 15 update helps ensure users’ email and browser privacy.

With 47% of all smartphone users in the United States using an iPhone, these changes will undoubtedly alter the nature of digital marketing, fundraising, and advertising for organizations of all sizes and industries.

Here’s what you need to know about them.

iOS 14: App tracking

With the iOS 14 update, users are now prompted to easily and immediately opt out of having apps track their data. If the user is not prompted, the default setting across all apps is to not track their activity.

This update changes the game for digital advertising and has already started diminishing campaign optimization and measurement. Since its rollout, we’ve seen a sizeable drop-off in audience size and available targeting data on apps that rely on third-party data.

iOS 15: Email and browser privacy

The iOS 15 update focuses on email and browser privacy and includes:

  • Mail Privacy Protection: Accessed through the Mail app, this feature prevents email senders from using invisible pixels to collect users’ data and knowing when or where users open an email. It also masks users’ IP addresses so it can’t be linked to their location and other online activity.
  • Hide My Email: When users want to keep their personal email address private, this feature allows them to create an alternate iCloud email address that auto-forwards emails to their personal inbox.
  • Private Relay: Built right into iCloud, this feature encrypts users’ information as they browse on Safari so that no one aside from the user and the website they’re visiting can see their information.

The above updates only affect Apple users, but user privacy is a growing trend and we’re likely going to see similar updates from Google and Android in the coming years.

Given that the digital world is ever-changing, it’s essential to stay up to date for any curveball Apple, Google, or other tech giants throw. More than that, it’s important to find ways to work with any changes.

When it comes to the latest Apple iOS updates, here are six best practices that can help you optimize the changes and strengthen your digital fundraising strategy.

  1. Gather more first-party data. First-party data will be increasingly more important as it becomes more difficult to gather location data. So the more information that you collect when a subscriber initially signs up, the more data you’ll have to work with to identify touchpoint opportunities and create a stronger connection with your audience.
  2. Focus on consent. Have clear and concise opt-in practices in place so that your audience fully understands what they’re signing up for and the benefits of receiving emails from your organization—no surprises. This transparency will create a deeper sense of trust between you and your subscribers.
  3. Give your audience control by implementing preference centers. Preference centers make it easy for subscribers to tailor how often they hear from you, the type of content they receive, their preferred method of communication, and even their subscription status to unsubscribe. This capability will also help you foster trust with your subscribers.
  4. Segment your mail stream. Separate your list into subgroups to learn how each target audience behaves, unearth what resonates with each group, and track each group’s deliverability and conversion metrics per offer. This information is vital to understanding and communicating with your audience.
  5. Find new ways to adapt and engage with your audience. Personalizing content and tailoring messaging have proven to increase audience engagement, which is more important than ever as clicks and conversions become email’s main metric. Pair this with continued testing and optimization to track which strategies work best for each of your audience segments.
  6. Improve your email deliverability. Roughly 20% of emails don’t reach your audience’s inbox. It’s therefore crucial to test and optimize deliverability with tools and test lists to ensure you’re hitting their inbox.

These updates put the power into users’ hands. As marketers, we need to embrace these changes by empowering audiences with more options to control their data and how they interact with your organization. Doing so will help you work towards your actual goals: higher conversion rates, increased fundraising, and more meaningful relationships with your audience.

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