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Weird But True: iOS15 Email Updates May Push More to CTV Advertising

Apple’s update muddies the waters for email marketing metrics, which means advertisers need to rethink their email strategies

Weird But True: iOS15 Email Updates May Push More to CTV Advertising

4 Min Read

Apple has developed a knack for upending the digital advertising ecosystem. Fresh on the heels of their iOS14 update, which essentially crippled in-app advertising on their devices, the tech giant’s most recent update sees them giving the same treatment to email marketing. 

Like any major change, there’s potential for a butterfly effect that can ripple throughout the advertising ecosystem. At the very least, email marketers will need to change how they measure success. But there’s also the possibility that it could lead to an increase in the adoption of Connected TV advertising. That may seem like an unexpected development, but the connection is closer than you think now that advertisers can target viewers on CTV using their email lists. 

More on that later—let’s dive in on the upcoming changes and how it all can lead to CTV.

What Does the iOS Update Do?

Among other wider changes, the iOS 15 update impacts the ability to see email open rates, since it’s tracked by a 1×1 that sits in the email and fires on the device the email is opened on. With the update, this function will be blocked and emails will show as being automatically opened, or not opened at all. It will be impossible to know whether people using the Apple Mail app have opened emails, where they are located, or any other useful information. 

This has a two pronged effect: one, you won’t get reliable data on Apple Mail users. A lot of users rely on Apple for their email—38% of surveyed users open their emails on an iPhone, and 11% use Apple Mail as their primary email app. And two, the data you receive from unaffected email apps will be over-represented. You won’t know how truly effective your open rates are for your entire audience, and now it will be skewed toward how Android and PC users interact with your email. 

Pivoting Email Strategy

In light of the iOS update, experts are already recommending email marketers change their approach to measurement and automation. 

  • Open rates should carry less weight when evaluating email performance. Instead, they should focus on clickthrough rates since that data is unaffected, and shows higher intent anyway. 
  • Automation tools, for example A/B testing in email marketing platforms that use open rates as the deciding factor, need to be re-evaluated. If data is incomplete or skewed, then the A/B test is fundamentally flawed. 

We have another recommendation to add: start advertising on Connected TV. It may not seem an obvious choice, but it’s a great way to expand your email targeting strategy to a more effective and influential ad channel. 

Bringing Email Strategy to Television

Connected TV has developed a reputation for effective audience targeting. That’s because it can make use of the standard digital marketing targeting strategies: 

  • Advertisers can target new audiences using 3rd party data leveraging interests, demographics, geography, and more. 
  • They can serve TV ads to viewers who visited their website with CTV retargeting.

But it’s the ability for marketers to target audiences from their email lists that is most relevant here. With MNTN Performance TV, you can simply upload your email lists found in your CRM, and start targeting this valuable audience with ads served on the biggest screen in the house. No more competing for attention in crowded inboxes, or trying to avoid aggressive spam filters—instead you’re delivering unskippable, highly impactful ad creative. 

What’s more, you aren’t giving up any measurement capabilities with Connected TV. Email marketing’s metrics are a fundamental part of its effectiveness, and the same is true of CTV. Performance TV uses cross-device measurement to track when a viewer sees an ad, as well as the actions they take afterward on other household devices. So if a viewer sees your ads on streaming TV, then visits your website on a laptop or mobile device in their home, you’ll know. Translating that to email marketing, it’s equivalent to tracking a click in your email—it’s recording the action that brought that user to your website. 

Maximize Your Email Lists’ Potential

These iOS updates, at the very least, should force email marketers to reevaluate their current approach. The most innovative among them will likely use this as an opportunity to expand beyond inboxes, and find other ways to make the most of their email lists. 

Regardless of Apple’s iOS updates, marketers should always be on the lookout for ways to maximize their available resources. With the ability to target users on their email lists with highly-engaging TV creative, it’s a good idea to look into TV advertising as another touchpoint. 

We’re already seeing an influx of B2B advertisers taking advantage of this (just go look at your inbox right now to get a sense of how much they rely on email marketing). We’re seeing more DTC and retailers going this route as well, and finding success with loyalty program messaging served via CTV. 

If you want to see what sort of impact your email lists can make on Connected TV, request a demo today