Tapping in: How iOS 16 will hurt your SMS marketing campaigns.

With the iOS 16 update, push notifications are now the only channel where open rates will continue to exceed 90%.

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With Apple's release of iOS 16, the company has thrown ecommerce marketers another curveball.  

iOS 14 zeroed in on data privacy, sending customer acquisition costs on paid social skyrocketing.  iOS 15 focused on email tracking and privacy, which resulted in reduced efficacy of a brand’s email marketing campaigns.  And now, iOS 16 has its sniper rifle pointed directly at SMS marketers.

While Apple’s previous two updates focused on data privacy, the latest iOS 16 update centers on  giving mobile users more control over their own device.  Among these is the ability to control their SMS experience.

Why is this a big deal for SMS marketers and ecommerce brands?

Simply put, SMS open and conversion rates are set to drop in a big way over the coming 12 months, placing their retention marketing strategy at risk.  

Here are the two major changes that are going to reduce SMS campaign efficacy: 

SMS filtering will drop SMS open rates 30-40%

Equivalent to the dreaded "Promotions" tab in Gmail, text messages will be filtered into different categories and subcategories. Examples of these categories include: Promotions, transactions, and junk.  

Because of these filters, it becomes less likely that the user will see a brand’s message.  Brands are forecasting a drop of 30-40% in SMS open rates.  The days of 95% open rates have marked their end, because now there will be a huge percentage of your SMS subscriber base that will never see your SMS campaign.

The ability to Report Junk SMS is easier than ever

With iOS 16, when a user receives an SMS from an unknown number, there is now a prompt at the bottom of the text message that says “Report Junk.”  Previously, users had limited ability to prevent the receipt of unwanted messages.  However, with this new feature, it is so much easier to prevent spammers from landing in your inbox.  

For brands, this is going to send their opt-out rates higher.  Why?  Because until now, when the subscriber of a brand’s SMS campaign wanted to opt out, they would reply “stop.”  However now, this new “Report Junk” button makes it so much easier for the user to opt out.  

Where brands are already accustomed to high SMS opt-out rates to begin with, they are going to see those opt-out rates head even higher.

Here is the worst part.  When a user uses the “Report Junk” feature, this data will get sent back to the user’s mobile carrier.  As the mobile carriers receive more of these spam alerts from a higher number of users, the more likely the carrier is going to block and interrupt a brand’s campaigns.  And eventually, many of these brands will get flagged as spammers.

Brands are not the target of Apple.  It is the real spammers that Apple is after.  However, by virtue of these two iOS 16 feature, brands are the unintended consequence.  

How brands are solving this challenge with push notifications.

When a brand launches a mobile app, they are able to tap into the most powerful retention marketing channel yet… push notifications.

Push notifications convert at 10x higher than email, and 5x higher than SMS.

With the iOS 16 update, push notifications are now the only channel where open rates will continue to exceed 90%. 

After all, shoppers land right on the app's home screen, and are unaffected by the iOS 16 update.  Brands can effectively be guaranteed that their message will be seen by their users. 

SMS and push notifications have often worked hand in hand with one other as retention marketing tools.  But with Apple’s latest update, there has been a clear line drawn between these two retention marketing tools.  

Smart brands are proactively planning for this impact. 

Book a walkthrough and we’ll be happy to help you out.

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