Why marketers need a Customer Data Platform post-iOS 15

7 minute read

Team BlueVenn

You’ve probably heard about Apple’s recent announcement. If you haven’t, where have you been? In June, Apple announced the release of its iOS 15 update, placing greater emphasis on data privacy and user control. While user privacy is nothing new, the extent of the updates introduced by Apple have left marketers in a state of panic as they rapidly scramble to adapt their strategies.  

Two of the biggest changes will impact email marketers as iOS 15 will see the introduction of new features – ‘Hide My Email’ and the removal of email open tracking. With Hide My Email, users will now be able to use a fake email address when signing up or creating new accounts. All emails will still be delivered to the user’s actual inbox; however, marketers will not know the user’s real email address.  As if that wasn’t enough, iOS 15 will also be removing the tracking pixel in its native mail app which previously enabled marketers to track open rates, and instead all emails will return as being opened in ESP reporting. 

It’s not just email marketers who need to pivot too. The launch of iOS 15 will also see some noticeable changes for mobile app marketers, particularly relating to the use of notifications.  

Once the software is updated, users will have greater control over their notifications in a new feature called ‘Focus Mode’. With Focus Mode, users will be able to control how many notifications they receive and when they receive them. If enabled, all non-urgent notifications and messages will be collected in a ‘Notification Summary’ and delivered to the user in a list-style format at certain times of the day. 

We’ll also see the introduction of app privacy reports, permitting users to see exactly how, when, and how often apps leverage their personal data. 

If you’re a marketer and are looking for ways to adapt and pivot your data and privacy strategy in response to iOS 15, your solution could lie in a Customer Data Platform (CDP). 

What is a Customer Data Platform?

Customer Data Platform is defined by the CDP Institute as “packaged software that creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems.”  

In short, a CDP collects customer data from an unlimited number of online and offline sources and unifies, cleanses, matches, and de-duplicates this data to create a Single Customer View (SCV). The SCV gives you a 360-degree view of each customer, including all their up-to-date personal information, preferences, consent options, channel interactions, and transactions. This will update in real-time as data flows into the system, allowing you to gain a clearer understanding of every customer, across all channels. 

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How can a CDP help post-iOS 15?

Tracking email open rates

Open rates have previously been considered an important metric for email marketers, and it’s likely that you’ve historically used this to measure the success of your email program. However, with the removal of your reliance on the tracking pixel, your open rate will be either artificially lower or higher depending on how your Email Service Provider (ESP) evolves their product for the upcoming updates. So, how can you measure the true success of your emails post iOS 15? The only way to do this is by focusing on click-throughs to judge opens, but also by evaluating your email metrics in other data sources.  

Clicks are not always performed by a person, with email clients and other security technologies sometimes falsifying that data too, so by combining clicks data with device behaviors, transactions, and clickstream data on the website, you can piece it together to better understand how your audience engages with your email marketing and apps.  

An SCV allows you to see where a customer is interacting with your brand at every stage of the customer journey, inside or outside of your email channel, meaning that even if you can’t see the open or click, you’ll be able to see a website visit or purchase or maybe an app session.  

Hide My Email

With this new feature, it will be impossible for you to have a Single Customer View without a Customer Data Platform, like Upland BlueVenn, which shows you email engagement plus the other behavioral entities across all your channels.  

App notifications

For many, the introduction of Focus Mode and Notifications Summary will be unwelcomed. However, with a CDP, you’ll be better equipped to deal with these changes. 

With the new notification summary, any notifications delivered while the user is in Focus Mode will be delivered in bulk. The list, however, will not appear in chronological order. It will instead be ordered according to relevancy based on Apple’s algorithm, which takes into account factors such as media, app usage, and a user’s behavior patterns. To appear at the top of the notification summary, personalization is key, and to deliver truly personalized content, you need a CDP to provide the necessary breadth of data you need to perform personalization at scale.  

A Customer Data Platform paints a clear, full-rounded picture of your customers, meaning that as a marketer, you have access to all the information you need to deliver personalized messaging/content. For instance, if you can see that your user has recently browsed for trainers via your app, you could use this insight to deliver a tailored advert on Facebook, a personalized website offer, an email, SMS, or push-notification promoting a new pair of trainers that have just landed. You could even include an image of the new trainers to better your chances of appearing at the top of the summary.  

The benefits of a CDP don’t end there for the new changes. In addition to personalized content, timings will also play a crucial role.  

Focus Mode is designed to minimize distraction to the user by only delivering notifications at a convenient time to them. With a CDP, you’ll be able to see when a user uses your app, or perhaps visits the website (on mobile or desktop) and can use this insight to predict the best time to send your offers and push notifications, i.e., outside a user’s focus mode hours. Also, with the changes to the delivery of notifications, other forms of app communications will be more effective such as in-app messaging, so by being able to see when a user is actively using your app, you can trigger in-app messages in real-time, or to another channel when your CDP is recommending the optimized channel to use for that customer. 

App Privacy Report

Apple’s shift towards data privacy has been a long-time coming, however, the new App Privacy Report feature has put even more pressure on app marketers to prove they’re trustworthy.  

A Single Customer View stores all your customers’ preferences including their opt-ins and opt-outs, channel preferences, and permissions, and will update automatically with every change or interaction. This removes complications for marketers and makes compliance far simpler.  

If you’re compliant and transparent with your customers, this feature won’t cause any problems, and could instead help you gain your user’s trust.  

The role of Omnichannel Orchestration

Consumers now use 20+ channels to interact with brands so, whether your main channel is email or mobile app, the truth is you shouldn’t be relying on one single channel to communicate with your audience.  

Research shows that marketers using 3+ channels in a campaign earned a 287% higher purchase rate vs. a single-channel campaign. Moreover, companies with strong omnichannel efforts retain 89% of their customers vs. just 33% for companies with weaker omnichannel efforts, demonstrating the need to move away from a single-channel strategy. 

With Upland BlueVenn’s added Omnichannel Marketing Hub functionality, omnichannel orchestration is much simpler. By delivering cross-channel communications, you can mitigate your reliance on a single channel such as email, expand your audience reach and overcome the obstacles caused by iOS 15. An omnichannel marketing strategy will also enable you to move away from narrow metrics such as open rates and look at the bigger picture, focusing more on a customer’s progression or aversion to stages in their customer journey to better gauge their engagement.  

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If you’re looking to adapt your marketing strategy and want to see how Upland BlueVenn’s Customer Data Platform and Omnichannel Marketing Hub can help, book a demo tailored to your business and one of our experts will be in touch.   

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