iOS 15 - let’s talk about it

TomMonaghan
HubSpot Product Team

Hey folks,

 

So the iOS 15 changes are out in the wild and I thought it was best to start a fresh thread to give everyone a place to ask questions, help each other, and share their experiences.

 

Thanks,

Tom Monaghan

Director of Product for Email

72 Replies 72
KMcAfee
Member

Appreciate all this info, but still wondering how HubSpot plans to handle unegnaged contacts now? Currently a contact is categorized as unengaged if they meet one of the following criteria:

  • Never opened a marketing email from you and hasn't opened the last 11 emails you've sent them.
  • Previously opened a marketing email from you but haven't opened the last 16 emails you've sent them.

With inflated/fake opens from Apple's new pre-opens, we'll have tons of folks who aren't actually engaging with our emails that should qualify as unengaged but aren't because opens are being seen in HubSpot.

elanashama
Contributor

Thank you @dschwarz for the amazing post and all the info. Was really awesome. 

@KMcAfee , was wondering the exact same thing regarding unengaged contacts.

Any ideas/suggestions on how to tackle this? 

TerryB
Contributor

@TomMonaghan please can Hubspot consider @KMcAfee's question and advise us what the plans are around unengaged contacts.

 

Like many others who have upvoted @KMcAfee's message this is going to start impacting serveral businesses that use Hubspot.

Lmiahhh
Participant

Could HubSpot potentially filter data by email client? I feel like that would be our best bet initially to help filter out some of the false positives. For example, look at email open rates for Apple Mail pre and post update and compare them. Also, if a user becomes engaged for the first time in a long time, but uses Apple Mail, maybe designate that somehow. Just some of my thoughts!

BMulder
Participant

Agreed! Would love for there to be a contact property that indicates the email client most recently used by a contact

MMArketing5
Participant

@Lmiahhh This will not work because you can have an IPhone and connect your Gmail account, etc and it will count as an apple client. It will affect every client including yahoo, outlook, Gmail. 

 

webmikepdx
Participant

In addition to filters like "Email open was last using Apple Mail", or "Contact has ever opened with Apple Mail" etc., Hubspot could also work in the way the way Refine by Date is included in some filters.

KMcAfee
Member

Is someone from HubSpot going to respond about this concern? @TomMonaghan 

TomMonaghan
HubSpot Product Team

Some thoughts on how to think about Suppression in an Apple Mail Privacy Protection world.

 

First off, thanks for all of your comments, questions and participation in this thread.  We appreciate your input and feedback about this change from Apple.

 

In 2016 we added Sends Since Last Engagement (SSLE) and its related feature, Graymail Suppression, in an attempt to make a task that had been very difficult for most folks, that is list hygiene, much easier.  While neither feature was perfect, they did accomplish what we set out to do.

 

As you might expect, Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection has changed the way these features work, but probably not in the way you expect.  In this post I’m going to share some more details on how things work and what changes we’re going to make in the product.

 

A little bit about Bot Filtering.

 

There are security vendors who primarily play in the enterprise space that have been doing this “open every email and click every link” thing for a while now.  In fact, we’ve had an option to filter these so called “Bot Opens” in your portal’s settings since 2017 and it’s been defaulted to on for as long as I’ve known (see: Tracking & Analytics > Advanced Tracking and find the checkbox for “Bot filtering”).

 

Well as it turns out, our system is good, maybe too good, and it is correctly categorizing Apple iOS 15 opens as if they were from bots (because they are) and filtering them out automatically if you have this feature enabled.  Note: for Apple iOS 15 events, this does not filter clicks, unsubscribes, or spam reports, only opens.  While this prevents all the “false” opens from skewing your results, it also prevents you from having complete results.  

 

Here’s a simple example:  Presently about 10% of the traffic we’re seeing is being opened with Apple iOS 15 devices.  So if you send to 1,000 recipients and have Bot Filtering enabled, you’ll only see opens from about 900 recipients - all of the folks who are not using Apple iOS 15 devices with Mail Privacy Protection enabled.  But we do not actively remove sent events, so in effect, your open rate, in this example will actually appear to go down over time, though we believe the true activity has not changed.

 

So what happens if you enable check “Suppress my unengaged contacts” when you send?

 

If you have Bot Filtering enabled and suppress unengaged contacts, our system will not know if the contacts opening on an iOS 15 device are actually opening your mail.  In this case, after 14 messages, if there are no clicks or opens on other device types, and if this Bot filtering checkbox remains checked, our system will suppress contacts that may actually be engaging with Apple iOS 15 devices.

 

What if you don’t enable Bot Filtering in your portal?

 

If Bot Filtering is disabled in your HubSpot portal, our systems will report any open that we see from Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection system as a normal open.  The challenge in this case is that we will be unable to distinguish between a “true” open where the person actually opened your email and a “false” open where Apple is doing the opening on their behalf and then serving up the content from Apple’s own servers if and when that person decides to open the email.  In either case, the events look exactly the same, though there do seem to be some edge cases that I won’t exhaustively go into here.

 

So what should you do?

 

This is honestly a tough question to answer and it depends on what you’re trying to optimize for. Each has risks and potential unintended consequences.  Proceed with caution and care.

 

If you’re trying to optimize for list size and are not worried about triggering automations with lists filled with contacts that are added due to opens that might not be real, then you can periodically shut off Bot Filtering and deselect Suppress unengaged contacts when you’re emailing.  This will allow you to recapture those Apple iOS 15 opens for any send that occurs when the bot filtering setting is disabled.  So when Apple does their Mail Privacy Protection thing, you’ll receive the opens for contacts who would have otherwise been captured by our bot filtering and shown as unengaged.  But keep in mind, you will get all of the Apple folks who are not actually opening too.  As I said above, proceed with caution!

 

If you really want to make sure that you have very high confidence that those opens are truly opens, leave your Bot Filtering on and continue to suppress your unengaged contacts but really drive towards clicks as a new form of engagement.  Find reasons for anything from social likes to upvotes, or article views or regular old CTAs, but get those clicks!  Even if they are on iOS 15 with Mail Privacy Protection, we’ll know there’s an open when we see the click.

 

What is HubSpot going to do?

 

We’re continuing to work on filtering and identification systems for bots and other non-human opens.  We’re also working on different reporting filtering options to enable you to better understand what is happening with your data.  We understand that right now this is not easy and we are working to make it better.  Finally, we’re working on other ways to measure engagement that are not just opens.  While opens were certainly great, their time has passed.  They’ve long since been a directional metric at best, but now, they’re really just not all that accurate. 

RWaldrip
Participant

Hi Tom - thank you for your response-- wanted to specifically ask about the portion quoted below about the bot 'clicks'-- is there any way to filter this false behavior in addition to the false opens behavior to keep it from muddying the data? We've found a lot of contacts recently that seem to be 'highly engaged' - clicking content in our emails, 'visiting the site', etc. that we suspect is just bot security link checks. What's the best way to deal with this in addition to the false opens? Appreciate the active participation in the HS community on this!



@TomMonaghan wrote:

A little bit about Bot Filtering.

 

There are security vendors who primarily play in the enterprise space that have been doing this “open every email and click every link” thing for a while now.  In fact, we’ve had an option to filter these so called “Bot Opens” in your portal’s settings since 2017 and it’s been defaulted to on for as long as I’ve known (see: Tracking & Analytics > Advanced Tracking and find the checkbox for “Bot filtering”).

0 Upvotes
afu
Participant

There are so many implications to this. We in particular are getting numerous questions about how we as an email marketing vendor will handle this; meaning understanding true engagement, managing greymail suppresion, etc. Will there be out-of-the-box pre-built solutions within Hubspot to segment performance metrics based on device/OS? etc.

JLSB
Contributor

Thanks @TomMonaghan cc: @CTOD

Reposting on this thread. I was hoping you could answer a few more specific questions about this:

1. I posted a feature request for email throttling on the Ideas Forum in December 2019:

https://community.hubspot.com/t5/HubSpot-Ideas/Make-Throttling-Available-for-Email-Newsletter-Sends/...

Since the “send based on recipient’s time zone” feature is going to be compromised by the Apple IOS update, is there a plan to allow for email throttling (or something similar) to limit the send volume on IP addresses?

2. For the purposes of segmentation, what is the best way to know which contacts have this feature enabled? Does the “Apple Mail (iOs)” section of the “Opens by email client” metric accurately reflect all the contacts who will be affected by this?

3. In this video from Hubspot YouTube Marketing Manager Tory Bullock (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp_bEKjBoeE), he recommends utilizing text as another way to reach clients. Is there a plan for add a native text feature into Hubspot Marketing Enterprise?

Any info you can provide on the above (as well as any suggestions on how to handle list management / removing inactives moving forward) would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

DougDavidoff
Participant | Diamond Partner

Be sure to check out SeventhSense they do email throttling and more. We've been using them for several years now and they've been instrumental in streamlining our automation, improving email deliverability & engagement and gaining insights into our email effectiveness. If you'd like me to connect you with someone there, just let me know.

DavidVaassen
Participant

Well frankly opens has been a bit of a false signal of readership for a long long time.

Reply to or Clicking a link is a far better way of measuring success.

afu
Participant

although I would agree, as would many, many would disagree. our clients disagree and wants unique opens as part of reporting .

0 Upvotes
DavidVaassen
Participant

Mmmm I always think of it as a vanity metric.

Dallenback9
Participant | Partner

Hmm, had an interesting experience today. Not sure if I set up the workflow incorrectly or if it's possibly due to this update. I used the "Delay until an event happened" and somehow one contact moved on by opening the email and then went down the "Didn't open email" path so got a follow-up immediately after. It worked as expected for other contacts. I'll attach a screenshot here (Ignore the 21-day delay, I added that after). 

Screen Shot 2021-09-29 at 3.02.22 PM.png

 

0 Upvotes
MThorslund
Participant

I think you would have to delete the first trigger that checks if a person have opened the email. If they don't, the won't go to the if/then branch. As it is right now, no contacts would meet the "Not Opened" criteria.

 

Hope this helps 🙂 

0 Upvotes
Paula
Participant | Partner

SMS MARKETING

 

I know it was mentioned in a reply above, but I'm starting a new one with just this topic and more inclusivity (all paid marketing subscription levels).

 

Referencing blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-apples-ios-15-could-impact-email-marketers and in particiular the video, when is HubSpot rolling out a native text messaging / SMS marketing feature to all paid marketing subscriptions?

JLSB
Contributor

Thanks @Paula and agreed, even if Hubspot builds a native integration with Twilio so that we can cleanly send out broadcast texts to segmented lists, utilize text in workflows, set up automations and answer text responses in the conversations module... we would have no problem paying Twilio separately for the text fees.

0 Upvotes
auto-mate
Contributor

Ability to edit IP Timezone - this is another reason we need to be able edit/overwrite IP Timezone, because so many stamped IP Timezones will be inaccurate and workflow email sends using send in recipient's time zone will not function satisfactorily.

"Opens by email client" becomes very important as @JLSB said

And yes, strong Twilio integration or HS SMS would be good




HYuen
Participant

Interested in seeing how Hubspot will handle changes in Workflows, we want to add a condition of 'contact has not clicked a link' regardless of theye've opened Email A or not, then send email B'. Currently, the only option is 'Contact opened email but did not click a link'. With the new privacy changes in place, we won't know if the contact has opened the email or not with any certainty so this condition becomes unreliable.

elanashama
Contributor

In workflows and lists, is there a way we can segment IOS vs non-IOS users so that we can treat them differently?

TerryB
Contributor

Another setting that needs consideration in the platform is lead scoring contact that open emails.

 

With this IOS changes this is now unreliable

JTho
Member

How will this affect unsubscribes if HubSpot cannot see the actual email address?

Smiles1
Participant

Jtho, I believe they'll simply be treated as individual contacts, so while one person may be subscribed under multiple hidden email addresses, each unsubscribe is dealt with as if it is a single contact (which it is)

0 Upvotes
JTho
Member

@Smiles1So an unsub sent from any of the alias accts would unsub the actual email address, correct? This has to be the case or a lot of compaies are going to instantly be in violation of the GDPR et al.

 

Smiles1
Participant

I should let someone else with more knowledge chime in definitively because my comments are just based on my intuition and understanding of the software. However, my assumption is that no, an unsub sent from a single alias account will just unsub the alias account. This is because (by Apple's design) Hubspot has no idea if a single person is subscribed under multiple aliases.

CTodd
Participant

We use opens as a metric in our lead scoring. Obviously anyone using Apple Mail will be over-scored. I submitted an idea in the community, but it would be extremely helpful to surface a property for email client so we could simply exclude Apple Mail users from scoring. I'm sure it'd be helpful for tailoring other processes too. 

 

https://community.hubspot.com/t5/HubSpot-Ideas/Email-Client-Property-for-Use-in-Lists-amp-Scoring/id...