Tech titans like Google and Apple are always known for introducing new system updates that bewilder and force marketers to rethink their advertising and marketing tactics. 

In June 2021, during its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple introduced some of the new features in its iOS 15 operating system upgrade. The update made its worldwide debut in September 2021. Apple’s new iOS 15 operating system has updates geared towards consumers’ privacy, user interface, and much more! 

However, the new privacy-centric features of the iOS 15 were not so welcomed by marketers and advertisers around the globe. With the rollout of the new iOS update from Apple, it actually seems like an Apple-a-day will keep the marketers away!

Let’s first look at the slew of updates that are the talk of the town among marketers and advertising agencies: 

  • Hide My Email feature: This feature allows the user to put a cloak over their actual email address. Whenever an Apple user registers on an app or website, they can give random email addresses. The information they choose to receive gets forwarded to their personal account, but the actual email address remains a secret from websites. This way the users are the ones who control the line of communication because they get to decide which brands or websites can reach them.
  • Mail Privacy Protection: To start with, this feature makes marketing a lot trickier! The user by opting for “Protect Mail activity” hides their IP address and thus, their location information. With this feature, the tracking pixels get removed and Apple sends images and CSS, making the sender think that the email has been opened. This feature severely impacts tracking the open rates.
  • Private Relay feature in iCloud+: Available to users with an iCloud subscription, this internet privacy service provides VPN access wherein anonymous IP addresses are assigned to users. This feature definitely adds hurdles in the way for marketers and advertisers to reach customers since tracking browser activities becomes difficult.

Apple is keen on bringing out updates that ensure a positive user experience and user privacy, giving them greater control and visibility into how various apps use their personal information. With the iOS 15 update, Apple will also begin prompting users in the App Store with a message asking if they’d like to receive targeted ads.

Last year, Apple released a major update to its Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), which allows the company’s web browser to block all third-party cookies and prevent marketers and advertisers from snooping on user’s web habits. Earlier this year, Apple also introduced its App Tracking Transparency(ATT) framework. ATT requires user authorization to access app-related data. All these changes and updates direct one thing- marketers need to re-strategize their tactics to get targeted impacts of their efforts and get a granular view of customer behavior.

Now that we’ve looked at what the iOS 15 update brings to the table, let’s look at how marketers can adapt!

  • Maximum use of the first touchpoint: With the update, it’s clear that the user will decide if you get to reach them or their data and information. This implies that marketers need to bring the “human” touch when planning strategies and focus on lifecycle marketing. As a marketer, you need to double down on efforts to make the first contact with a potential customer.
  • Make zero-party data your friend: Zero-party data is optional information that the consumer chooses to willingly provide to a company, to improve their user experience. As marketers, you need to make the customers feel that you’re both on the same side of the fence. Instead of spamming customers with irrelevant information, emails or ads, wear your marketing hat and think of tactics to add a personal touch. This can be a great way to build trust among your customers and make them feel that you respect the data they’ve shared with you.
  • Prioritize customer retention: With walls of privacy built between you and your customers, it’s better to focus more on retaining customers than getting new ones. Perhaps, think of ways your existing customers will feel comfortable with sharing their data with you. Options like extra perks, subscriptions, member clubs, and add-ons are a few things to experiment with.

Apple update is likely to change the way you interact with customers but offers a great opportunity to take a step back and build strategies to creatively communicate with consumers. Remember, the communication and marketing channels aren’t blocked, but it’s time to engage and talk to customers who want to be talked to in ways they’d like to.

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