What iOS 15 Update Means For Marketing?

The moment Apple released it, I updated my iPhone to iOS 15 immediately. The intention was to understand the much-talked-about consumer-centric features better. And to study what iOS 15 update means for marketing and how can marketers make it least disruptive to their marketing efforts.

Here’s what I have learned so far.

iOS 15 features that will impact marketing

Below is a quick rundown of all the new features of iOS 15 that will impact marketing in coming months.

App Tracking Transparency

The tracking transparency allows iPhone users to opt-in to allow app-related data for tracking the user or device. With this, users can disable outside app tracking for all apps with one single click.

This has a direct impact on the audience size. Many digital marketers will now find it difficult to communicate as accurately as they could in the past on these channels. Apple released this particular feature with the previous update to iOS 14.5 itself. If you were wondering why your favorite brands haven’t been advertising to you on social media – now you know why!

Identifier for Advertisers

With iOS 15, Apple is taking tracking to a different level altogether. Users now have the option to ensure that marketers can no longer have access to their Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). IDFA is a random device identifier assigned by Apple to a user’s device.

Marketers use the IDFA to track data (activity) to deliver customized advertising. The IDFA is used to track and identify a user without revealing personal information.

App Privacy Dashboard

The iOS 15 update also comes with an App Privacy Dashboard in this update. This provides a more comprehensive view of exactly what permissions users have given to apps in the past and what they can access.

Users now can see how often each app has used the permissions they’ve previously granted to access their data in past 7 days. And by data I mean stuff like location, photos, camera, microphone, and contacts, etc.

Now moving to some real techy stuff.

iCloud Private Relay

Apple’s iCloud Private Relay is a part of the iCloud+ subscription – their paid cloud storage service. This will ensure that Safari (browser) and other unencrypted traffic leaving an Apple device is secure. So that no one between the user and the website they are visiting can read it. Not even Apple or the ISP.

All the user’s requests are then sent through two separate internet relays. The extra layer of security for users. This prevents web analytics from tracking information like IP address, location, and browsing activity to profile consumers. If your audience accesses your website via an iPhone, this will be a game-changer for your analytics.

Hide My Email

With the Hide My Email feature, Apple is letting users share unique, random email addresses. Basically pseudo IDs that forward to their inbox any time they wish to keep their email address private.

Apple has built this feature directly into Safari, iCloud settings, and Mail. This enables users to create and delete as many addresses as needed at any time, helping give users control of who can contact them.

Users can have a new ID every day, every week, every month taking a brand’s email marketing program for a ride. Along with this, Apple will no longer do in-email tracking, so brands won’t have visibility into open rates.

Clearly, with all of this, the iOS 15 update will not only make personalized targeting and remarketing more difficult, but other challenges will arise with accurate profiling and email marketing.

A curveball unlike any!

How to minimize the iOS 15 impact on marketing?

So in a country like India, where device ownership is an important surrogate for purchasing parity, what is going to be the way forward? Are there any hacks, a workaround maybe?

Maybe.

Eventually, the social media platforms, analytics providers, and email marketing providers will come up with something. And marketer will be able to bypass these ‘roadblocks’ to a certain level if not entirely.

But now that you understand what iOS 15 update means for marketing, the question is – are you going to wait until that time to do nothing? Or are you going to take the situation into your own hands?

If you prefer the later, going back to the basics could be the answer. And also to the future technology challenges that might be created if the other device manufacturers follow Apple.

Here are three points to get you started.

Offer real value at every touchpoint

Be it your communication on social media, your outbound connect teams, or your website, think of a customer benefit first.

Most of us must be anyway doing this but it’s time to take it up a notch.

Users want to get content that is tailored to their needs, answers to their questions. The brand that does this genuinely will earn their trust. Consumers won’t have a second thought on sharing their information so they can be connected with that brand.

Aiming to be personal and not mass personalization is the key.

Website must be centered around customers’ needs and not only around the products

Today, a brand website has just become as important as its offerings.

If your website doesn’t answer their questions or address their apprehensions, they will go somewhere else.

Don’t cater to their apprehensions by not offering social proof, they will go somewhere else.

Make it hard for consumers to discover exactly what they’re looking for and then make a purchase, they will go somewhere else.

First-party data is a treasure trove and hence investment in analytics is something that can not be ignored. Along with a must like Google Analytics, investments in user action behavior tools can reveal a lot about visitors’ interaction with the website and areas that need a fix. For example, heat maps from Hotjar for scroll, clicks, and move through pages tracking.

The fact – your website is most often the first touchpoint and an extension of your brand and your product.

Do not ignore conversion rate optimization (CRO)

Often, we marketers focus a lot on the ads, virality, and media spends than focusing on conversion rate optimization (CRO).

Aligning our website to customers can surely give us an edge here. Just imagine, improving conversion rate from 1% to 1.5% – 50% jump in revenue without increasing traffic.

The better our websites are, the higher the chances of us converting the visitor.

With the rising CPCs and CPLs, it’s important to focus on conversions with smart promotions. Brands must experiment with offers that have higher perceived value like bundle offers, free priority shipping, better warranty packages, etc.

Maket conversion rate your north star.

To conclude, the iOS 15 update will be just the beginning. Apple with this approach has forced Google to revisit the way Android handles user data. If iOS 15 was a disruption for your marketing efforts, think how turbulent any such move by Android will be!

So, how are you getting started?

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Amit Tilekar
Customer-obsessed digital marketer and growth marketing consultant

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