By Shannon Cook, Director, Go-to-Market Enablement – Mobile Channel
Apple’s latest announcement at the WWDC unveiled new consumer privacy measures that have some brands wondering if they come at the expense of their marketing strategies. Coming in September, features like Apple Mail Privacy Protection and App Privacy Reporting will give Apple users more control and visibility into their data. Once released, App Privacy Reporting will let users easily see which apps they’ve permitted to access their data. At the same time, Mail Privacy Protection will prevent email senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user and masks IP addresses. Without these pixels, marketers will be unable to detect email open activity or location information based on IP address.
With Apple’s Mail app attributing to 10.4% of the total market share of email clients, these privacy updates have created a stir throughout the brand marketing world, leaving many wondering if this will knock marketing strategy off its axis. Greater emphasis on consumer privacy controls presents more opportunities for users to opt-out of brands that aren’t meeting their needs.
While these changes around push notifications, email, and IP addresses may seem intimidating, the glass is far more full than empty. Now is the time for brands to reevaluate their strategies and get smarter about the cross-channel experiences they’re serving up. Mobile personalization will be more critical to cross-channel strategy than ever before. If you’re curious about how iOS 15 can help elevate your mobile communications, here are a few ways brands can get ahead of the curve before Apple’s update is released.
Cross-channel marketing is the star of your strategy
Today’s ever-increasing consumer expectations mean there is no longer room for holes throughout the customer experience, and lines are blurring when it comes to channel differentiation. Customers don’t perceive channels like email or mobile to be independent of one another but rather side-by-side actors in an overall brand story and experience. Forrester Research predicts that email and mobile messaging volumes will increase 40% in 2021– but with changes to email on the horizon, marketers will look towards the mobile channel to start making a deeper impact.
Arguably, mobile can be a more active channel than email. With the ability to immediately grab attention on a customers’ home screen, push notifications tend to be more effective than email. However, as consumers will soon have greater control over their notifications, messages need to be more timely, relevant, and sophisticated if brands stand a chance at keeping their customers opted in.
What can marketers do to ensure they’re making the most of mobile in the long run? Putting more focus on in-app messaging to drive organic engagement can be a great start. Unlike Apple Mail in September, mobile apps can still utilize contextual functionality like countdown timers and IP location in push notifications at the moment of send. Through your messaging provider, you can send messages depending on where the customer is in relation to a fixed location; take that geofencing delivery a step further, and use dynamic content generation to display compelling imagery related to the customer’s whereabouts, geographic information, and even weather at the time of delivery.
Ain’t no party like first-party data
Ultimately, iOS 15 privacy changes will be a quantum leap towards a fully customer-centric landscape. Brands will need to step up sophistication to ensure their customers receive relevant messages that rely on zero and first-party data to streamline their experience. This is far from a bad thing. Utilizing zero and first-party data is already more impactful to consumers because it’s the information they have already shared.
Although Apple’s privacy measures are changing, consumers have proven that they’re willing to share their data as long as there’s value in it for them. When it comes to mobile personalization, brands can – and we expect they will – begin to feed more zero and first-party data into their mobile messaging platforms to power personalization that’s centered around data points like loyalty, preferences, purchases, and more. In turn, utilizing this data can increase the power of mobile moments and the likelihood of users engaging by instantly recognizing information they have already flagged as important to them.
Content is queen
With Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection, marketers will need to be less reliant on open data and more focused on driving engagement with meaningful content. As consumers gain more control over their data privacy, leaning on mobile to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time will be critical to the cross-channel experience. Because of the growing reliance on mobile messaging, more focus should be on the strategy and roadmap, yet marketers constantly are weeded down by creative needs and production processes.
However, creating personalized content engaging to each unique user has notoriously been a bottleneck, especially in a newer channel such as mobile messaging. It can be challenging to access and action on zero and first-party data if it is scattered across the company, siloed in different CSV files, CRMs, CDPs, loyalty management systems, or requires setting up an API to access it. Activating zero and first-party data into personalized content in any customer engagement will be the next step brands need to take. With the right technology, marketing teams can easily connect to all relevant data no matter where it lives in their tech stack and auto-generate content post-send to create experiences unique to every individual.
Apple’s iOS 15 updates will directly impact the need for mobile personalization. There is no longer a divide between channels like email and mobile, as the overall brand experience inspires a consumer to act and connect. While Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection may increase the value of mobile communications when it rolls out in September, the time to strengthen cross-channel communications with meaningful mobile messaging is now.
For more information on what Apple’s iOS 15 means for content personalization, register for our webinar: “Evolving Your Email Marketing Strategy for Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection” here.