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iOS 15 Phrasee Customer Briefing


On June 7th 2021, Apple announced some updates to the Apple mail client across all devices – and one of them affects you directly. In a nutshell, Apple Mail users will be given the option to block open-tracking pixels.

Here’s what we know

What’s known about the update is this:

  • Instead of downloading images at read-time, it will download images at time of receipt – thus giving a false 100% open rate at the same moment in time for all emails received by those with this feature switched on.
  • This feature is set to begin rolling out in September 2021, and will likely take some time before adoption is widespread.
  • We understand this will be optional for Apple mail client users, and will be on an opt-in (vs opt-out) basis but it’s not officially confirmed yet.
  • According to Sparkpost, Apple mail client users represent roughly 40% market share of all emails opened in the US, and slightly less elsewhere.

Suffice to say, we know less than what we do know. Uncertainties abound, particularly around what the adoption of this feature will be, and how it will work technically. There are huge storage and server considerations, so it is unclear at this stage what will happen in practice.

With that said – it has given marketers focused on the email channel a wake-up call.

Here’s what this means for you

In the short and medium terms, the practical impact of this change will affect the proportion of your audience suitable for open-rate-only optimization. We do not know the actual amount – best case will be -0%, worst case will be -40%, and the actual number will be somewhere in the middle. This will *not* affect your ability to optimize other KPIs, such as clicks, conversions and ROI.

This does *not* mean that “open rates are dead”, as several rather misinformed people have decried. However, it *does* mean that open rates as a KPI will become noisier than before. Note: this is not to say that they will become useless. Just noisier.

There is no reason, however, that this will affect Phrasee’s ability to help you say it better. And here’s why.

Here’s Phrasee’s take

Since day one, Phrasee has supported user privacy. We were founded when GDPR was being drafted, and saw increased requirements for privacy coming a mile away, so from day one we fundamentally structured our technology to not require personal information. We support any actions that enhance the privacy of individual consumers, and encourage other companies to follow Phrasee’s lead.

Further, over a year ago we put the wheels in motion to ensure any impending privacy changes wouldn’t slow down any of our customers. When the issue hit the mainstream media a few months back, we sped up even faster, and I’m pleased to say that, as a result, we already have solutions in place.

As HG Wells wrote – “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature’s inexorable imperative.” And so – Phrasee has adapted.

Here’s how Phrasee has adapted

Phrasee X
In March 2021, we launched Phrasee X, the world’s first real-time Brand Language Optimization system for email. This technology, which is 100% proprietary, was built with a simple goal in mind: to optimize to the most effective language for your brand as quickly and efficiently as possible.

In essence: Phrasee X was built to allow you to focus on a hybrid of performance metrics, including clicks, opens and conversions, as an optimization metric, without sacrificing methodological robustness.

Phrasee X is available now for Phrasee React customers on Salesforce and Adobe, with Q3 seeing it integrated with several other leading ESPs and CX platforms. These integrations will be coming well in advance of any wide-spread adoption of iOS 15 and Mac OS Monterey. Further, we are building it into the Phrasee Engage product. So, for all your campaigns, be they big sends or small lifecycles, you’ll be able to benefit from Phrasee’s power regardless of this recent Apple mail announcement.

If you haven’t seen a demo of Phrasee X yet, I would encourage you to contact your Customer Success representative and they’ll be happy to show you how it works.

New deep learning prediction models
Phrasee’s deep learning models are world-leading at predicting the efficacy of language before it is put to humans. Our state-of-the-art systems use the latest deep learning libraries, which are layered on top of our unique-to-the-world data sets.

We’ve spent six years running email multivariate tests with robust methodology. Our prediction models have reached high accuracy, and will be able to compensate for noisier open rate data. This is alongside our integrating predictive models for clicks and conversions into our solution. This means that even when this new Apple mail feature goes live, Phrasee’s performance will not be negatively affected. If anything, it will improve over time – because the more KPI data Phrasee ingests for your brand, the better it will get.

These new methods allow us to mitigate for uncertainty in the feedback data from your ESP. With enhanced anomaly and outlier detection baked into our systems, Phrasee will continue to optimize your brand’s language and deliver you demonstrable ROI.

Cross-channel applications
Lastly, we are pleased to be bringing to market Phrasee Convert, for website optimization, and over the Summer we will be relaunching Phrasee Attract for social and display optimization, with a new and improved feature set. Our goal from day one has been to help brands say it better – and now we are able to extend that capability from the email channel to other lucrative optimization opportunities. We will be announcing the official launch of these products over the summer, so watch this space…

Here’s our final word

Phrasee prides itself on putting its customers’ needs first. To this end – we always ensure our technology is ready to weather whatever storms may pass.

That’s why we invested over a year ago in adapting our technology in case an email client started to block open tracking. That’s why we’ve launched Phrasee X, to ensure every message you put out to market is optimized as efficiently as possible. That’s why we are extending our technology to new channels so you can say it better, from your customers’ first interaction right through to their 100th purchase.

And finally, a note of thanks to YOU – our customers. We ran our biannual customer survey in April, and we were astonished with the results.

You gave us a +88 Net Promoter Score (NPS) – on a scale of -100 (terrible) to +100 (awesome). According to Bain & Co., the inventors of NPS, Phrasee’s score is “world class.”

So we would like to take a moment to thank you for your partnership with Phrasee. Whether you’ve been a long-standing customer from back in the day, or are new to the phamily – we appreciate you.

Our mission remains steadfast – to help your brand say it better. And we’ll stop at nothing until we achieve that.

Stay Awesome,
Parry Malm, CEO

To discuss this in more detail, please do get in touch: awesome@phrasee.co