iOS 15 Means Time’s Up for Countdown Timers

adminEmail Marketing

In the build-up to the release of Apple’s iOS 15, much was made of its new privacy features and the impact they might have on the ability of marketers to track email opens. Now that the update has been released, it has become apparent that open rate tracking wasn’t the only thing affected.

In addition to basic privacy features, some forms of personalization, specifically time-based content, were also impacted by the iOS 15 update. This included countdown timers, a tool that a lot of email marketers use to build urgency and drive conversion.

Countdown timers work as soon as email content is loaded, refreshing every time the email accesses the server and its date and time stamp. This allows the countdown timer to show how much time remains. But with iOS 15, content is now only retrieved once, so countdown timers are limited to displaying the time remaining when the content was first downloaded.

Recognizing the threat that iOS 15 posed to the usefulness of countdown timers and the impact it would have on our clients, finding an alternative became a priority. Fortunately, we discovered a simple solution to create urgency: including sale deadlines such as “Sale Ends Tonight” as copy in the hero image.

To understand whether this new iOS 15-compliant tactic would be as effective as countdown timers, we conducted a test. The results showed that calling out a deadline generated nearly identical GA revenue and almost 10% more clicks than countdown timers. Calling out a deadline in the copy of an email turned out to be just as effective as using a countdown timer, while offering a potential boost in performance.