Sales & CRM

How Apple’s iOS 15 privacy features affect HubSpot customers

7 min read


The new privacy features associated with Apple’s iOS 15, notably the Mail Privacy Protection,  will change how HubSpot users approach their email marketing campaigns. While these updates are a positive step for customer privacy, they impact a company’s ability to provide personalised content to its audience.

Thankfully, it doesn’t spell the end of email marketing or successfully providing relevant, timely and personalised content to your audiences. If you’re using HubSpot’s email marketing tools, here’s what you need to know to embrace the change to your business advantage, as a HubSpot user. 

What is changing with the advent of Apple iOS 15? 

The most significant changes relate to Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection update and their new Hide My Email feature.

Mail Privacy Protection

Users who opt-in, get their IP addresses hidden — preventing senders from linking it to other online activity, tracking email opens or knowing a user’s location. It’s available for free to anyone running the Mail App on an iOS 15 device, while Macbook users can access these features when macOS Monterey launches later this year.  

Hide My Email

Users with an iCloud+ subscription can choose to enable Hide My Email. This cloaks email addresses and allows users to furnish websites with fake ones. Your promotional emails may still find their way into your audience’s inbox, but you’ll not see their true address unless they share it explicitly. 

What it means for you as a HubSpot email marketer

Significantly, if you’re a HubSpot email marketer, you’ll need to rethink how you track the success of your campaigns (or test them). Traditionally, open rates indicate whether or not your email subject lines are engaging, whether you’ve sent your email at the right time of day and whether your content is valuable to your audience. 

The iOS 15 update will throw out your data in some of the following ways:

  • Inflated email open rates as Apple effectively opens emails on behalf of the users that opt-in, by loading tracking pixels on their behalf. 

  • Inflated data sets, as one person’s activity, may be spread across multiple contact records. Hide My Email allows users to operate under fake, random email addresses — risking one person’s activity reading as a group’s;

  • Less effective IP-reliant tactics. Without knowing a contact’s IP address, you’re unable to time your emails relevantly, risking dropping your latest content into their inbox… in the middle of the night.

Further, the following features in HubSpot rely on email open tracking — establishing baselines with each of them will help you measure the impact of these iOS 15 changes, and ensure you evolve your strategy intelligently. 

  • Anything that references these properties (e.g. API integrations, workflows, and lists):

    • The first and last marketing email open date

    • The number of marketing emails opened

    • Sends since last engagement

    • Recent sales email open date

    • Last engagement date

    • Scoring and calculated properties

  • Workflows (where criteria include open metrics and properties), including:

    • Triggers, such as marketing email triggers

    • Delays

    • Goal criteria

    • Suppression lists

    • Branches

  • Reports

    • Custom reports may include criteria that reference open metrics and properties

    • Email reports need to be audited and benchmarked

  • Lists

    • Confirm if your lists rely on criteria that reference open metrics and properties

How to mitigate the impact and come out winning

Thankfully, forewarned is forearmed. With the iOS updates, users have even more power to choose how, and when they engage with brands. This makes focussing on producing great content and delivering engaging experiences doubly important. 

It’s also helpful to remember that not everyone uses Apple. In fact, Apple Mail and Apple mobile devices make up about 35% of the global email provider market share. It’s significant, but not exclusive. It’s worth checking which email clients your readers are using, in your HubSpot email reports. This will help you adjust your success metrics, as you’ll know how much of your database is affected. 

Further, you could drive decisions with different data. For example, instead of using open rates (now unreliable), you could use click-and-reply data. 

Related: Make sure you’re making the most of your data with this HubSpot Knowledge Base article on how to analyze your marketing email campaign performance

Stay ahead of the changing privacy landscape

It’s tough staying up to date with constantly evolving privacy regulations. Changes are coming thick and fast, and they can be highly technical to understand or implement with compliance. But that’s what we’re here for!

Reach out to us with any questions about the Apple iOS 15 privacy update and how it might affect your marketing efforts. Our team of HubSpot experts stay at the forefront of important changes so that achieving your business goals gets easier, not more complex. We’d be happy to help!

Not using HubSpot yet?

Book a demo with our team today.

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