When is it OK to Use a Shared IP Address?

Can you imagine handing the keys to your email marketing program over to a complete stranger? Me neither! That’s why I recommend using a dedicated IP address whenever possible.

On a shared IP address, your sending reputation is only as strong as the weakest sender. As a result, your mailing reputation and deliverability on a shared IP address is at the mercy of other marketers.  

However, there are some very specific circumstances where using a shared IP address may actually work in your favor.

  1. Your mailing volume is under 50,000 messages per month, AND
  2. Your domain distribution consists mainly of the top four B2C domains (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, and AOL), AND
  3. You mail to a long tail of smaller domains, OR
  4. Your email campaigns are infrequent (more than 30 days between each send), such as a seasonal mailer.

If this describes your email program, you may want to consider using a shared IP address. The benefit in this case is that you’re likely to have a less volatile complaint rate, and mailbox providers have an easier time assigning a reputation to higher volume mailers.

Keep in mind, however, that using a dedicated IP address has numerous additional advantages. In fact, it’s one of the most effective tactics to improve deliverability. In addition to giving you more control over your reputation, it allows you to sign up for IP-based feedback loops to directly receive reports on subscriber complaints and enroll in accreditation programs like Return Path’s Certification program.

Whether you choose to use a dedicated or shared IP address, make sure you understand the implications of your decision and how it impacts your business.

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