iOS15 Updates and Email Open Rates: What You Need to Know

Craig Grella
September 17, 2021

Apple has released its much-anticipated iOS15 software update which brings changes to how Apple devices handle privacy, especially for those using the native Mail App. We want to update you on the effect you will see with email open rates in your email marketing program.

iOS15 Updates and Email Open Rate

What is The iOS15 Update? 

The Apple iOS15 update brings further control to users’ privacy settings which, among other things, determines the types of information that can be relayed to and through apps the user has on their device.  

As users update their devices and opt into the new Mail Privacy Protection Program those settings will mask the user’s IP address and stop email senders from knowing when the user has opened their emails. Emails in Apple Mail are expected to read as “opened” as soon as they are received into the Apple Mail program, which means mail senders will likely see an increase in reported email open rates. 

What Should You Do Differently? 

When analyzing metrics, Salsa has always recommended tracking KPIs that speak to actual user engagement. While email open rate has traditionally been a benchmark metric used across all industries, there are few other metrics we recommend that speak to action-based intent which are more meaningful to nonprofits.  

We cover this concept extensively in a popular article on our site titled 26 Nonprofit Key Performance Indicators to Measure Impact. In particular, the section on email marketing KPIs recommends paying attention to indicators like click-through rate and overall email conversion rate. 

Whereas open rate tells you only how many people are opening the email, click-through-rate tells you how many people are acting on your emails and visiting your links. Email conversion rate tells you how many people end up acting on your specific appeal. One is a good indicator that your messaging is working, and the other is an indicator that your appeals have value and are convincing. 

If you have conducted email A/B testing, you know that Salsa Engage offers the ability to automatically choose a winner or to manually select the winner based on the best open rate or click-through rate. Moving forward, we recommend using the click-through rate method for all A/B testing.  

Salsa recently provided a detailed webinar on A/B testing best practices and how to do it in Engage. You can find the A/B testing webinar replay on our website in the resources section. 

As always, if you have questions about your nonprofit email marketing or want to learn more about how Salsa helps you reach your audience in the most effective ways possible, reach out to a member of our team right here on the site!


If you want to unlock more strategic fundraising tips, check out these additional resources:


13 Ways Nonprofits Can Build an Email List Download Button


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