How Apple® iOS 15 Updates Will Impact Your Dealership’s Marketing Strategy

All | November 10, 2021

Author: Jeff Cook, Director, Product

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iOS 15 Updates Bring Big Changes to Email Marketing

As Apple continues to frequently update its mobile operating system (iOS), business marketing plans continue to face unavoidable impact. Earlier this year, Apple’s iOS 14.5 update included significant changes to establish more privacy, giving users App Tracking Transparency (ATT) which prompts them to allow or deny tracking by individual apps.  

The iOS 15 update is continuing Apple’s plans to advance privacy protection, this time tackling email. To provide more clarity and transparency around the latest iOS update, we’ll walk you through what we know about these changes and what this means for your dealership marketing plans. 

What’s changing with Apple’s iOS 15 update? 

If you own a smartphone or tablet, you’re likely familiar with the ongoing updates to fix bugs or improve widgets. While this continuously helps create a better user experience, the same rules should apply to protecting your user data. That’s why, aside from new and improved features, the biggest change Apple made in iOS 15 is allowing users control over third-party data protection inside the Mail app.  

According to Apple, here is what users will be able to prevent under the new feature called Mail Privacy Protection inside the Mail app: 

  1. Stop senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user 
  1. Help users prevent senders from knowing when they open an email 
  1. Mask IP address so it can’t be linked to other online activity or determine their location 

How does this affect iOS users? 

With this latest update, iOS users are now in the driver’s seat when it comes to controlling their privacy through Mail. Here’s what this will look like to the iOS user:  

Much like the prompt to choose their adventure with ATT under iOS 14.5, users will be given two choices upon login after updating to iOS 15: 

  1. Protect Mail Activity 
  1. Don’t Protect Mail Activity 

If they choose to Protect Mail Activity, their IP address will be hidden and will load content remotely, giving senders, like yourself, less insight into the recipient’s activity with email. If they choose not to protect their mail activity, sending emails to that recipient will be business as usual. 

What is the likelihood of users adopting the new privacy protection? 

With more than half of the U.S. smartphone market using Apple’s iOS, changes to your email marketing will unavoidably take place. According to Statista, around 21% of users opted in to allow app tracking under the iOS 14.5 update which caused big changes to digital marketing. While we can’t truly compare the two, there is one big difference we’ve noticed with the latest change in comparison to the previous. 

With little explanation behind it, the wording to opt in or out of the new iOS 15 Mail Protection update is quite persuasive. See the difference in wording for ATT versus Mail Privacy Protection: 

Given these options, which would you select? 

While the ATT prompt will be more frequent, appearing each time you open an app that applies, the user may not understand what “tracking” means in this situation. Alternatively, the iOS 15 privacy update uses the word “protect” which is more discernable to the everyday user. We have yet to see the true impact, but there is a strong likelihood of adoption due to the phrasing used in Mail Privacy Protection. 

How will this change your email campaigns? 

As we’ve seen in recent years, data privacy is being more carefully examined across the digital landscape and companies like Apple are holding true to their commitments. The point is to provide user safety. These changes are essentially good, but they will modify the way we view email marketing results today. 

More information will soon become clear after the iOS update grows amongst users. Right now, we do know that certain metrics used to analyze the success of a campaign, such as click-through rates and conversions, will become even more important as open rates become less reliable.  We also foresee more privacy and data protection changes expanding to other devices and email carriers in the future, so it’s best to prepare now. For dealerships to navigate such a vital component of customer communications, we recommend relying on a marketing provider who can help you adapt to new trends and restrictions with ease. 

How is Affinitiv handling these changes? 

As we continue to learn more about the impact of this update, Affinitiv is working to keep accurately tracking user performance and ensure the success of our clients’ campaigns.  We remain committed to providing dealers, dealer groups, and our OEM partners with the highest level of transparency. Our priority now, as it has always been, is to continue delivering first-rate campaigns on behalf of our clients.    

Our teams are currently formalizing a plan that puts user privacy first and accommodates iOS 15 restrictions. We look forward to providing you with updates as they become available.  


Questions? Concerns? If you’re not sure where to start, lean on the right partner whose top concern is seeing your dealership succeed. Current clients can reach out here to connect with our team. If you’re new to Affinitiv and would like to learn more about our products and approach, fill out a quick form here.

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