iOS 15: 3 Tactics to Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy

19 Nov
iOS 15: 3 Tactics to Adapt Your Email Marketing Strategy

Oh no, iOS15 arrived, and it killed email marketing forever! Sounds familiar? 

Humans love a bit of doom and gloom. And while the first part is true, y'all can relax because that second part is anything but. 

Yes, the update does mean that any emails opened on devices running iOS15 will not be counted and thus affect your open-rate data point. 


This is not a time to panic; it’s time to pivot. 

Instead of focusing on what you can’t control and wasting your energy there, today, we’re going to be super tactical into what you can manage to move the needle and revenue of your business forward. 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this article: 

  • Three email marketing strategies to leverage the data you do have control over
  • New metrics you should be tracking and how to calculate them
  • Five new audience segments and how to build them in Sendlane

The Top Tactics All Email Marketers Should Implement After iOS15

As mentioned before, this is not a time to panic; it’s time to pivot. 

We covered many tips for what to do about iOS 15 in this blog post. But today, we’re going to go a little deeper on some of the more actionable tips to show how to properly execute each one successfully. 

1. Round Out Your View Tracking These Email Metrics Instead

Yes, I know. Since the dawn of email, marketers have used email opens to measure success for campaigns. However, it’s always been a bit of a flawed measurement method for more than one reason. 

Opens are just one form of engagement, but what matters most is the click because those clicks show you what is going on behind the open. 

Are they interested in something specific? Do they think your email is spam? Do they click on something completely different than you were expecting them to engage with, and if so, why?

All those clicks matters. 

They matter because they track where the split in each customer’s journey happens. No two people are interested in the same thing from your brand, and tracking clicks helps you segment them properly (we’ll touch more on that in a bit). That also furthers your personalization capabilities, impacting revenue each time you send emails. 

Phew, that was a mouthful. 

The main method following iOS 15 you should be doing is to batch clicks into positive, negative, and then neutral clicks. Those would equate to the following: 

  • Positive clicks would entail all clicks that point them in a good direction, like a product page or taking the action you desire. So, think a click on your CTAs or on images that lead to certain pages.
  • Negative clicks would be clicks that show you’re a bit off base with something. So, think unsubscribe clicks or having your email reported as SPAM.  
  • Neutral clicks aren’t technically bad but may not be as great as a click on a CTA. This could be something like a click on a social media button link.

In Sendlane, you can get an excellent overview of each of the stats for every campaign you send out. When you log in to your account and look at an individual campaign report, you’ll be able to see all the unique and total clicks within your campaign. 

Track link clicks and website visits within campaign reporting

With these data points in mind, there is now a new and powerful metric that every eCommerce brand should be calculating: 

U.T.A. (unsubscribe to action) This is where you take your Unsubscribes + Complaints and divide it by Unsubscribes + Complaints + Clicks.

You should always aim to keep the results of that math under 30%. Mindfully watching these metrics will give you a clearer idea of how well your email performed. 

A high click rate on the unsubscribe button versus other links could signify you need to make some changes on your next campaign and start whittling down your list, so you have better leads. 

But, to make the most impact moving forward with those metrics is to make sure that every Positive Click link ALSO has a tag attached to it. 

Why? Because your tags play a vital role in a key part of your strategy as a whole:


2. Create These Five Strategic Email Segments 

At Sendlane, we believe that personalization is a cornerstone of great email marketing that gets results. We know because we see that as the case every day. 

And in the digital world of email, one of the best ways to create personalized content for your contacts is to track their behavior and interests. 

You can and should track web browsing behavior, but you should also be tracking the way they interact with your emails by creating tags for links that then segment people into lists based on what they click. 

We have an eBook packed full of 12 email segments you can create, but in the light of iOS, some special segments are worth building. 


1. Segment based on Internet Service Provider (ISP)

This can sound a bit confusing, so I’ll explain. When we say ISP, we mean the tools people use to send emails through the internet. 

ISPs include Apple Mail, Outline, Gmail, Hotmail, etc. 

Since all major ISPs have apps that can be used on iOS devices, all of them will be affected by the iOS 15 rollout if emails are opened in the app on said iOS 15 devices. 

Sendlane's campaign reporting highlights data on ISPs and devices

By creating segments for each of the ISPs, you’ll get an overview of how many subscribers are with one ISP over the other. 

You can log into your Sendlane account and click on Audience → Segments → Create New Segment to start a new one for each ISP.

Then, in the segment menu, you can choose Email Address → Contains and then enter the ISP handle. For example: 


And, you get the point. It’s not the most important segment on the planet, but it will hold some otherwise hard to come by insights. 

2. Revenue and Subscription date based segmentation

If you’re using an email service provider like Sendlane, you’ll be able to track a ton of deep data, including how much each of your subscribers spends, how often, and much more. 

If you’re not already segments contacts based on how much they spend, now is the time to do it so that you can get a better idea of which customers are spending money –– which is really the name of the game here. 

You can create a simple segment to get started containing customers who have spent over X amount and then track how recently they have subscribed. 

To do this well, you’ll need something like Sendlane’s Deep Data integrations connected to your online store. 

Once you’ve created a new segment, you can set something like what you see in the image above by choosing your Deep Data integration → Choose Store → Customer → Total Spend → is greater than → enter the price (in this case, $100).

To take that segment even further, you can choose the And Condition option below it and then pick Contact Properties → Subscription Date → is before → Date of your choosing.

Adding that small change to your segment can help you find people who have been active by recently making purchases. 

3. Segmenting by clicks and revenue

This segment would be similar to the one above; however, instead of being subscription-based, it would be by their engagement level. It’s a great way to find pockets of shoppers who are interacting with your messages and are or aren’t spending money. 

There are a few ways to segment by revenue, and depending on your online store integration, the options may change slightly. In the example above, we’re using the Shopify deep-data integration. 

Once you’ve created a new segment, you can set something like what you see in the image above by choosing the And Condition option below it and then picking Engagement & Activity → Clicked → Recent → x Month or Day (in this case 1) → Clicked on Campaigns or Automations or Both. 

For the example above, I have it set to Clicked on Both campaign types just to cover my bases.

To take that segment even further, you can choose your Deep Data integration → Choose Store → Customer → Total Spend → is less than / greater than → enter the amount (in this case, $100). 

4. Segment based on Website Visits (or Any other recent signals)

Tracking website traffic is a must for every marketer, but if you really want to level that up, you should be tracking the web traffic from customers already on your list. 

Why? Because these are less likely to be window shopping and more likely to make a purchase. 

To track this correctly, if you are using Sendlane, you should first have our tracking pixel installed on the website. After that is done, you can track traffic from email contacts like so. 

Create a new segment. Choose Engagement & Activity → Triggered Event → Site Tracking. 

That way, all your email contacts who visit your website will be added to this list. Keep in mind this is all a jumping-off point. 

You can build these to segment someone who visited your site more than two times in the past month, three months, or year so that you can see the progress of the activity. Build the segments that make sense for your brand and your goals. 

5. Segment based on audience preferences

Interest and preference are still huge factors in sales. You can and should segment your audience based on their preferences. 

The easiest way to do that is through tags in emails. 

For example, if your email contains sneakers and dress shoes, you can add a corresponding tag to each image and link that relates to each product category. 

So when Contact A clicks on something related to sneakers, they get a tag “Sneakers” added to their profile and added to an “Athletic” segment. 

But when Contact B clicks on a dress shoe, they’ll be tagged “Loafer” and added to a “Business Casual” segment. 

Both got the same email, but they had different interests and preferences that you can now track and better market to for higher conversions in the future. 

To create this segment, you need to have your tags already created. Then, in your segment, choose Contact Tag → Has Tag → X 

Every person who clicks a link in an email with that tag will get added to the segment. Simple yet effective. 

Again, I want to reiterate that these are all jumping-off points. iOS 15 is new and will make segmentation even more valuable, but you need to dig to find the right flow and format for these segments. 

Don’t limit yourself to these suggestions; get creative. If you’re with Sendlane, you can also set up a time to chat with your account manager to review your recent campaigns and get some new ideas from our email experts for what you can build next. 

It takes a team to grow, and we’re always around to help. After all, your wins are our wins! If you’re not using Sendlane, feel free to grab a free 14-day trial and chat with our email experts.


3. Use Multivariate Testing, but Skip This One Thing Altogether

Okay, so tracking email opens is dead thanks to iOS 15. But can you guess what else died in the crossfire? Any guesses?

It’s A/B testing email subject lines… Yup. 

It kind of sucks when you think about that one, huh? Now, before you go off and cry about that one, there is good news. 

Instead of A/B testing headlines, you can do one better and use multivariate testing technology instead. With this type of testing, you can apply the idea of A/B testing to the content within your email. 

However, you can do it even better because you can test up to 4 variations on things like CTA, CTA color, Images, and so on. We built this capability into Sendlane to find the variation driving the most results and then pick and send the winning campaign to the rest of your email list so you can get the most bang for your buck, as it were. 

Sendlane Multivariate Testing can experiment with up to four different variables

You can turn on this feature for any campaign (or automation) you create in Sendlane. After picking to create a new campaign, simply tick the box marked Experiments to pop up the expanded view for the experiment settings. 

Customize your testing variables and set your audience

Then tick the Content box, the % of the test you want to send out to your list and then choose Click Rate from the drop-down menu as well as how many hours to wait before picking and sending the winning campaign. 

Here’s how these examples from NoBull would look inside experiments: 

After that, click Next, and you’ll see Test A (or Control) and the option to create your Test B through D as well. 

It doesn’t take much time to do this, but even the added steps and time can do a lot of good in getting the best email sent based on the interactions happening inside your email. 

All that Glitters Ain’t Gold 

Open rates have long been used to decipher the success of a campaign, but it was always flawed for that approach. Change is hard, but after analyzing billions of emails, I can confidently tell you, iOS 15 isn’t the end of email or revenue from email. 

If anything, this pushes us all to start and measure what matters, which isn’t just clicks, but how they translate into our customer journey with our brands as it relates to revenue. 

If you’re on the hunt for a new email service provider to help you adapt to ever-changing data policies, be sure to give Sendlane a try, 14 days free!

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