Marketers: Anxious over iOS 10's easy unsubscribe option? This report says you're right to be

Yesmail has been crunching the iOS 10 unsubscribe numbers since shortly after the platform launched. What it discovered is bad news for marketers, but there is a bright spot.


Overall unsubscribes are up, and iOS is taking the lead from manual unsubscribing.

Image: Yesmail

Email: Almost all of us use it and most of us are sick of the bombardment of ads our inbox faces every day. Unsubscribing from marketing emails has traditionally been a bit of a pain: Users have to find the unsubscribe link, click through, and possibly answer questions before being able to stem the flow.

Apple has made unsubscribing from marketing mail simple in iOS 10. The email app now recognizes messages sent from mailing lists and prompts the user with a simple one button unsubscribe option. Great news for consumers, but not so great for businesses.

Yesmail has been running numbers on its clients' email sends since news first broke about the iOS 10 update, and its findings are startling, if not unexpected: iOS unsubscribes have increased nearly 75 percent since iOS 10 launched.

Who is most affected

iOS unsubscribe rates.jpg
Image: Yesmail

Unsubscribe rates have definitely jumped since iOS 10 was released, but they vary across different industries. Rates for consumer packaged goods and entertainment-related messages have skyrocketed, while others have seen a more steady increase.

Don't assume that means you've gotten away scot-free--everyone who uses email marketing is going to experience a dip in their ROI.

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If you rely on email marketing to sell products, motivate people to take advantage of sales, or do more than just update them on the state of your business you're likely to be the worst off as iOS unsubscribe rates continue to climb.

Why iPhones matter so much to marketers

It has been a solid fact for quite some time that Android dominates the smartphone market. iOS devices make up an increasingly small percentage of the global smartphone market, and they don't fare much better in the United States. Here's the surprise statistic: iOS users dominate mobile ecommerce.

Black Friday 2015 saw nearly 80 percent of mobile ecommerce purchases come from iOS devices, which means one thing for marketers: iOS is where the money is. It would be simple for digital marketing companies to write iOS 10 users off as a lost cause, but if they do they're ignoring the dominant demographic in retail purchases.

So what is a digital marketer to do about their shrinking iOS numbers?

What to expect from iOS 10's assault on marketers

Yes, reach will shrink and audience will decrease as more iOS users upgrade to 10. But it's not all doom and gloom, if you believe the report.

Spam complaints will likely decrease because users will just click the in-app button instead of filtering you to their spam folder. Increased unsubscribes will also up your open and clickthrough rates--the users who are taking advantage of iOS 10's new feature were likely ignoring your emails anyway.

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Since unsubscribers were low engagement/lapsed already there's likely to be little impact to your bottom line: Those who would buy or take advantage of emailed offers are not the same people.

There's also a result that will make any finance department happy: Fewer messages going out to people who won't read them means less cost per impression and more overall engagement.

Marketers who want to succeed in this new easy unsubscribe world don't need to make many adjustments, really. Just refocus your email marketing efforts for maximum success, take the advice of those who've already done it, and get ready to watch returns continue to climb.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. iOS 10 introduced an easy unsubscribe feature that allows users to unsubscribe from marketing emails with a single click.
  2. Since iOS 10's launch there has been a 75 percent increase in marketing unsubscribes from iOS devices.
  3. While overall subscriptions will decrease there likely won't be much impact on the success of digital marketing campaigns: Those unsubscribing were unlikely to convert to sales and were already on the low engagement side.

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