Should Your Email Program Be Sharing IPs?

If you’re just getting started with shopping for an Email Service Provider, you might not be aware of what IP addresses areor how they apply to your email program.  

IP addresses, short for Internet Protocol addresses, are unique numerical identifiers assigned to devices using Internet Protocol to communicate over a network. They exist for any email sender, and they are a major factor toward your reputation as a sender 

So let’s dig in to the difference between a shared IP address vs. dedicated IP address, and which types of senders should be on which.  

Shared IP Address. A Shared IP address is an IP address, typically owned by an ESP, on which multiple senders send their email. ESPs usually group these senders based on their volume, sending practices, and reputation.  

Dedicated IP Address. A Dedicated IP address is an IP address (also typically owned by an ESP) that only one sender mails across. If a sender has a high enough volume, they might have multiple dedicated IPs associated with their brand(s).   

Just as every sender’s program is different, the choice of whether a shared or dedicated IP is best for each sender varies as well. Here are some factors to consider when initially examining which would be right for you:  

Sending volume and frequency 

Senders who have low sending volume, or send sporadically or infrequently might fare better on a shared IP address. The other senders on that IP address will help keep your volume across the IP address consistent, which is an important factor for IP reputation. 

If your sending frequency is steady and normal, a dedicated IP address would be best for you. In fact, many ESPs require senders over a certain threshold to be on dedicated IPs.  

Deliverability outcomes:  

It is important to remember that the other senders on the shared IP might negatively impact your sender reputation if they have poor list hygiene, high complaint rates, or a variety of other factors. If email is critical for your business, you may not want to put your reputation at risk. 

On a dedicated IP address, you are the only sender and therefore have the power to strengthen your reputation through good sending practices. Having a dedicated IP address is a great way to protect mail streams that you can’t afford landing in the spam folder, such as receipts, account confirmations, etc. 

Program tools & support 

Different sized senders will need different tools and support to keep their email program optimized. Depending on the size of your email team, the amount of support you’re going to need for your program, or your desire to glean deeper insights about your deliverability may impact your choice.  

Return Path’s platform allows senders to gain unique insight into their campaigns, and to pinpoint deliverability issues on an ongoing basis. This is something that might benefit all senders but is especially valuable to those who are on dedicated IPs, as you’ll have better insight into the entirety of your program.   

One final benefit for senders on Dedicated IPs is that they might be eligible for Return Path’s Certification program, which is the industry’s most unique and powerful whitelist. This tool helps senders land more messages in the inbox.  

Getting started with a new email program, or making a change to your existing program, can be intimidating to navigate. Regardless of whichever choice ends up being the best for your email program, Validity has the tools and expertise to help elevate your email program.  You can learn more about email marketing basics by downloading our free guide— The Fundamentals of Email Marketing 

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