How Will iOS 16 Affect E-Commerce Marketing? - Ashworth Strategy

How Will iOS 16 Affect E-Commerce Marketing?

We have learned from iOS 14 and 15 that Apple is always keeping us on our toes in the world of digital advertising. With the next big iOS update coming later this month, it is crucial that e-commerce businesses prepare for all of the changes to come with iOS 16. From updated privacy settings to new Apple Pay features, you’ll want to plan for these updates ahead of time to avoid a big crash in sales and to take advantage of the updates that will help grow your business. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming iOS 16 update so that you can build out a solid marketing strategy before it happens.

While Apple is rolling out tons of new features in iOS 16, these 5 are predicted to have the biggest impact on e-commerce:

1. Personalized Lock Screen Settings

The Update:

The iPhone’s lock screen is getting a complete makeover with new ways to fully customize it. Options will range from a variety of fonts to reimagined widgets that will display data at a glance, such as the date, world clock, weather, alarms, calendar events, battery level, Activity ring progress, and more.

The Impact on E-Commerce Businesses:

Notifications will be easier to ignore as they will now show up on the bottom of the screen, which is bad news for sales. iPhone users will also have the option to create multiple lock screens and assign a specific Focus Mode to each of them, like “Personal”, “Work”, and “Do Not Disturb”. This can prevent companies from sending push notifications to customers’ phones while a certain Focus Mode is turned on, which means that many ads, text messages, emails, and push notifications from businesses will go unnoticed.

However, the new “Live Activities” in widgets will allow users to track real-time activities, such as package delivery progress, without unlocking their phone. This will give brands with iOS apps the opportunity to share real-time information (and down the line, even ads) with customers, but they will also have to learn when and how often they should notify users to avoid being removed from the lock screen.

2. New Apple Pay Options

The Update:

With apps like Klarna and Afterpay that allow customers to shop now and pay later, Apple will soon follow suit by launching Apple Pay Later. This form of payment can be used in-store or on any online shop that accepts Apple Pay. iOS users will also be able to track their orders directly in Apple Wallet with Apple Pay Tracking. 

The Impact on E-Commerce Businesses:

Because customers will have the option to pay for items in four interest-free installments over the course of six weeks, Apple Pay Later will be particularly appealing to younger and lower-income shoppers. This has the potential to expand the customer base of brands everywhere, and because they will still be paid immediately, this will pose no risk and many rewards for e-commerce businesses. Online store owners should take advantage of this feature as soon as it’s launched to make sure they’re not leaving any money on the table.

Apple Pay Tracking is likely to minimize frustration among customers as it will provide an easier and more convenient way to track shipments. It will also reduce the need for shipping notification emails and SMS, which can be both good and bad. On the one hand, it will provide a more seamless shopping experience and, in turn, more satisfied customers. On the other hand, this may decrease opportunities for interaction between the brand and its customers.

3. Privacy Protections for Consumers

The Update:

iOS 16 will be implementing new safety and privacy features, which will give users more control over their devices and how much data their apps can use. Apps will no longer have access to certain information to protect the privacy of iOS users.

The Impact on E-Commerce Businesses:

How will this compare to previous iOS privacy changes? At least for the time being, Apple’s new privacy changes aren’t expected to have much of a negative impact on digital advertising. If anything, new features will help advertisers to better measure campaign performance while maintaining the privacy of Apple’s customers. The tech giant does have plans to update App Tracking Transparency (ATT) again very soon, however. If you’re not familiar with ATT, it’s the feature that changed online advertising forever with the launch of iOS 14.5, so NOW is the time to prepare for the feature’s inevitable update and the next big marketing hurdle.

4. Expanded SMS Filtering

The Update:

As SMS marketing grows in popularity, Apple is cracking down on SMS messages sent from unknown senders. People with iPhones will be able to filter their messages into the following folders:

-Transactions (Finance, Reminders, Finance, Public Services, Weather, Orders, Rewards, Carrier, Others)

-Promotions (Coupons, Offers, Other)


The Impact on E-Commerce Businesses:

To start, iOS users will have to download a third-party filtering app in order to access this functionality. This makes it difficult to know how many users will actually take advantage of the new filtering options. As a result, it will be absolutely crucial for companies to encourage SMS subscribers to save the brand’s contact card or add the brand’s phone number to their contacts right after they subscribe.This will help e-commerce businesses get around the already in place “unknown senders” filter as well as the new ones.

5. SharePlay with Ad Breaks

The Update:

SharePlay, a FaceTime app introduced with the launch of iOS 15, is coming to iMessage with iOS 16. This will allow users to listen to a song or stream a movie/series together in real-time via the Messages app.

The Impact on E-Commerce Businesses:

Apple will incorporate ads into SharePlay, giving brands another opportunity for advertising. Media will be synced between users and therefore the stitched-in ads will need to be, too, which might be tricky for the brands creating these ads.

The features launching with the iOS 16 update will present new challenges as well as opportunities for e-commerce business owners. While privacy settings and SMS filtering will make it more difficult to reach certain customers, Live Activities and SharePlay ad breaks will give us even more space to advertise. The key is to come up with a strategic plan to tackle these new obstacles and make the most out of all of these new marketing possibilities.

Need some help creating this plan? Book a Strategy Call with us! We’ll discuss the ins and outs of your business, the steps you’ll want to take to get the most out of the newest version of iOS, and more.


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