When it comes to email marketing, IP addresses do matter. After all, as you probably already know, all of your emails are delivered over an IP address.
But why exactly are IP addresses so important? And what is their role in email marketing?
So far, in 2019, 293.6 million emails are being sent every day. Still, many of those emails never reach the destined inbox, one of the main reasons being bad IP address reputation.If we keep in mind that 93% of B2B marketers distribute content via email, while 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis, it becomes clear how much you might be missing out if you’re not making the most out of your email marketing efforts.
One of the key prerequisites for successful email marketing campaigns is a high email deliverability rate. And one of the key factors that affect deliverability is the IP address used to send emails from. Even though there should be no question about the importance of IP addresses, one question remains – shared vs. dedicated IP addresses, which ones are better for email marketing?
Before we dive deeper into different types of IP addresses, let’s first briefly define them.
What is an IP address?
For those unfamiliar, IP stands short for Internet Protocol. Internet Protocol address (more commonly referred to as IP address) is a unique string of numbers given to each computer on a particular network.
When it comes to your website, an IP address is used to identify the server on which your website files are being kept. It provides the exact location of a computer (or a website) in a certain network.
Moreover, every website domain name has an IP address assigned to it. The main reason why we use domain names (such as www.inboxroad.com) instead of IP addresses (such as 123.456.78.9) is the fact that it’s much more difficult to remember long strings of random numbers.
Why exactly should email marketers care about IP addresses?
As mentioned above, one of the primary factors Internet Service Providers (such as Gmail or Yahoo) use to decide on the credibility of an incoming email (and whether to place it in the inbox or spam folder) is the reputation of the IP address from which the email comes.
Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have blacklists with suspicious IP addresses, which they use to fight spam. As a marketer you need to make sure your emails are coming from an IP address with a spotless reputation – it’s the only way to good email deliverability.
The difference between shared and dedicated IP addresses
Even though there are many differences in the use and maintenance of the two types of IP addresses (which we’ll explore in more detail later in the article), the main difference is very simple and straightforward.
A shared IP address means that several companies or email senders are using the same IP within one mail server. In other words, one IP address is being used by more than one sender.
A dedicated IP address, on the other hand, is used by a single sender only. It is the IP address used only by one person or company to send emails from.
Now that you’re familiar with the basic concept of shared and dedicated IP addresses, let’s take a closer look at some of the upsides and downsides of both when it comes to email marketing.
The Email Marketer’s Dilemma – Shared vs. Dedicated IP Addresses?
Let’s briefly examine some of the crucial differences between shared and dedicated IPs relevant to email marketing.
Dedicated IP addresses allow for better reputation control. When it comes to email deliverability, sender reputation is everything.
In fact, the success of the entire email marketing campaign often depends on the sender’s reputation. Many ISPs determine the sender’s reputation based on the reputation of the sending domain and, more importantly to us here, the reputation of the IP address they’re sending emails from.
Of course, the better your reputation, the more likely is your email to be delivered. Having a bad reputation means your emails are likely to end up in the spam folder or even not get delivered at all.
But how does reputation control relate to the shared vs. dedicated IP address dilemma?
With a shared IP address, your reputation depends on the email practices of every single sender using that IP. Basically, this means that the other senders’ bad email practices will affect your reputation too, even if you’re doing everything by the book.
Dedicated IP addresses, on the other hand, enable you to be the only one accountable for your reputation, which cannot be affected by other senders’ email marketing activities, or even worse, spammers. You don’t need to worry about what others are doing and therefore have full control over your reputation by following our best practices.
Contrary to that, with a shared IP, you’re at the mercy of other senders – every their bad move is seen as yours too. That being said, it’s also vital that your SMTP provider actively monitors sender activity to make sure only the best email marketing practices are in place.
Here at Inboxroad, we proactively monitor our customers’ email traffic to provide detailed delivery reports with personalized advice and ensure the spotless reputation of all our dedicated IP addresses.
What if I’m sending large volumes of emails?
In case you send out a large volume of emails on a yearly basis (100k+ emails), dedicated IP addresses may prove to be an additional benefit for your email marketing.
How come? Well, most ISPs just love seeing consistent sending patterns that span over a large volume of emails. By sending more than 100k emails a year, you’ll be able to establish a recognizable sending pattern and a solid reputation that will result in high email delivery rates.
If you don’t send enough emails, you may be at risk of ending up with no reputation whatsoever, which can negatively impact your email deliverability. In that case, what you want to do is either use a shared IP (and pray that your co-senders are using only the good practices) or increase the volume of emails sent from your dedicated IP address (while still keeping everything under your own control).
Does cheaper necessarily mean more cost-effective?
As common sense dictates, shared IPs are usually less expensive than the dedicated ones because the cost can be spread across more than one user. Plus, with dedicated IPs, you’ll probably have to pay an initial setup fee and/or monthly maintenance fees.
So if the cost is your only concern, you should probably opt for a shared IP address.
If your primary concern is good email deliverability and more effective email marketing efforts, dedicated IP is the way to go, even if you have to pay a bit more.
We at Inboxroad have learned what works and what doesn’t. That’s why we only offer dedicated IPs to our clients
As with pretty much everything in digital marketing, the “one size fits all” approach doesn’t hold ground when it comes to IP addresses. This means that the right choice depends on your specific needs and requirements.
Still, according to our comparison above, it seems that there are at least a few good arguments in favor of dedicated IP addresses. In fact, if you want to take your online business or organization to a higher level, it’s the only logical choice.
Long story short – if you’re looking for complete control over your own reputation management, plan to send a large volume of emails, and want to establish your business identity and credibility, dedicated IP addresses are probably the best choice for your email marketing.