Dedicated IP Address for Email Marketing: Do I need it?
A dedicated IP address can do wonders for your email program, or so you might have. But dedicated IPs come at a cost and require maintenance. So how do you decide whether a dedicated IP is right for you or not? The decision depends on several factors. But first, the fundamentals:
What is dedicated IP?
A dedicated IP address is a unique Internet address dedicated to a particular hosting account. This IP can be used only by a single user or account to send emails. That means the reputation of the dedicated IP is solely determined by the sending frequency and the volume of emails sent by this single user.
So then what is a shared IP?
A shared IP is one that is used by multiple users for sending emails, which means the reputation of the IP depends on the entire group of users.
Here’s a simple representation of Shared vs Dedicated IP
Image source: 250oK.com
How does IP reputation impact email delivery and sender reputation?
An email’s delivery largely depends upon the reputation of the IP used to send it. If you’re sending from an IP which has an orderly, maintained reputation, then your emails are more likely to be seen by your subscribers. However, if the reputation of sending IP is low, then your emails may end up in the spam box.
By default, most service providers use a set of shared IP addresses to process and send your emails.
Sender reputation is defined by the activity of clients who share the same IP for sending emails. ESPs actively keep a check on shared IP’s reputation so as to ensure that the deliverability standards are maintained.
How do I know whether I need dedicated IP?
Most of our users ask whether or not should they use dedicated IP. There’s no exact answer to it.
Use a dedicated IP if..
- You send out a healthy volume of emails on a regular basis. But remember, you are the sole influencer of your sender reputation. You need to be sure that your email list is permission based and more importantly double opt-in.
- Some users also use dedicated IPs to separate their transactional and marketing volumes, so that the performance of marketing emails doesn’t harm that of transactional emails.
Do not go for a dedicated IP if..
- You are not sending large volumes. Your IP’s reputation might get impacted as the receiving servers are not getting hits with large volumes, keeping them in dilemma of whether or not to trust that IP.
- You have a higher than average bounce rate, which in turn affects your IP reputation.
On the other hand…
Even if you’re sending emails (it can be your transactional volume) through a shared IP, there’s no guarantee that your emails will perform well. But why?
The answer to this is “One bad apple spoils the the whole bunch.”
If other users on the same shared IP are sending shoddy emails, sorry to say this, but yes I am saying it. Hold on!
Performance of your emails are being heavily impacted! I repeat, heavily impacted!
If you’re sending transactional + promotional volume from same ESP, it is highly recommended to use a dedicated IP for the transactional volume.
Also creating a subuser account might prove handy in this scenario, where you can add different sender domains for different type of volumes you’ll be sending within a single account.
Where do I get a dedicated IP address for sending emails?
You can get dedicated IPs from your ESP. Some ESPs provide an interface to buy one, some give on a request basis, whereas some provide when you request a subuser feature.
What’s the cost of a dedicated IP?
The cost varies across ESPs. At Pepipost, a dedicated IP is available at just $20/month
Before closing the discussion on dedicated IPs let’s go recap:
- IP Reputation: Operating on a sharing IP is sharing your reputation with other companies. Whereas having a dedicated IP puts you in charge from the IP’s reputation perspective
- Monitoring & Maintenance: Working on a dedicated IP helps you to keep a check on its performance and take action on any issues that surface
- Queue: It’s all about you when it comes to dedicated IP. Only your emails are sent through your IP, so there’s no point of worrying that someone else is sending through your IP. Hence giving your emails the priority (by default)
- Cost: You have to pay the expense related to your IP
- Warm-up: As dedicated IPs are fresh (in majority cases) you would have to go through the warm-up process by limiting your sending volume for initial days.
Whether to go for a dedicated IP heavily depends upon the type and the volume of emails you plan to send through it.
Best practice is to assign different IP addresses to your marketing and transactional volume. This ensures that the promotional chunk does not impact the deliverability of transactional emails, which are time sensitive.