Apple Privacy Updates and How They Affect Your Nonprofit’s Marketing Tactics

By now, you’re probably aware that Apple recently rolled out new privacy changes in the recent software update to iOS 15. This update provides increased customer privacy features that can make a big impact on your nonprofit’s marketing campaigns and reporting metrics.

Let’s look at some of the key changes and how they might affect your organization:

Mail Privacy Protection

This change opens recipients’ emails and downloads the content through proxy servers when the emails hit the recipients’ inboxes. Effectively, this prevents email senders from seeing if, and when, recipients open emails in Apple Mail. It also hides the recipients’ IP addresses so that senders can’t see their location.

Here’s what that means for your organization:

  • Artificially increased open rates – Because emails you send to Apple Mail users will be automatically opened and downloaded, you will likely find that your email open rates increase, even if there’s no actual change in engagement with your email communications.To adjust your marketing approaches for this new paradigm, it’s important to consider which reports you use that include email open rates. Then, think about how you can modify these reports to de-emphasize the importance of this metric. For example, you might focus more on click-through rates (such as how many recipients respond to the calls to action in your emails).Also, be sure to notify anyone in your organization who uses these reports that the open rate metric is probably now skewed and that you’re re-thinking the reports accordingly.
  • Automations must be updated – You’ll need to rethink automations that rely on opens or IP-based locations. Since your organization will no longer be able to see Apple Mail users’ opens or IP addresses, any automations that run based on these data points will need to be rethought and updated.

Also, be sure to review any marketing lists that reference email opens or IP addresses in segmentation criteria, and plan to use alternative criteria, such as click-through rates or specific link clicks. Review and update all automations that use email open as entry, exit, or decision criteria, and determine the best approach for redefining the journey to exclude email opens.

iCloud Private Relay

This change encrypts traffic leaving a user’s device when they’re browsing with Safari. Essentially, it hides users’ locations and web browsing activity.

Here’s what that means for your organization:

Reduced website tracking effectiveness – If your website tracks site visitors’ locations and browsing activity, you will no longer be able to track these items for iCloud account users. As with your email reports, review any website reports or engagement programs that include or rely on site visitors’ location and browsing activity, and revisit these reports with this new information in mind.

If you are using Google Analytics, be sure to communicate this change to those you share reports with. If you are using tracking pixels on your website from your marketing automation tools, these reports will also be impacted, so be sure to let those users know as well. If you rely on location-based assignments for prospects, you will likely see a higher proportion of leads that cannot be assigned automatically.

Hide My Email

This change allows iCloud subscribers to share unique, random email addresses that forward to their personal inboxes whenever they want to keep their personal email address private. Effectively, this disconnects site visitors’ real email addresses from website activity tracking.

Here’s what that means for your organization:

  • Possible overriding of forms that rely on unique accounts – If your organization allows people to create accounts or sign up to receive special documents or get access to specific content, it’s possible for users to take advantage of Hide My Email to create multiple accounts.
  • Open rate metrics – Again, this change will impact open rate statistics. For example, if you use email open rates as a factor for dynamic content or retargeting, you will need to use different data points for these strategies.

Rethinking marketing strategies and tactics

These changes are a big privacy step for Apply and their users. But they will require you to rethink your marketing strategies and tactics.

If you’d like help reviewing your marketing approaches and modifying them to align with the recent privacy changes, the Heller Consulting team is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more and get started.

About the Author

Catherine Moore
Catherine has served the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, defining and guiding the strategic pathway for technology, digital transformation, marketing, and fundraising at the Canadian Cancer Society and others. She is skilled at understanding and addressing the human concerns... Read More
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