Q&A: When Is It Okay To Use A Shared IP?

Posted by Tom Sather on

Using a dedicated IP address is one of the most effective, yet least used, tactics to improve deliverability.  Because your deliverability is only as strong as your weakest sender, your mailing reputation and deliverability is at the mercy of other marketers.  Can you imagine handing the keys to your marketing program over to a complete stranger?  Me neither!  That’s why I recommend using a dedicated IP address whenever possible.

However, it’s a good point to bring up that there are some instances where using a shared IP address may actually work in your favor. Here’s how:

  • IF your mailing volume is somewhere between 1 and 20,000 subscribers AND;
  • Your domain distribution consists mainly of the top four B2C domains (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and AOL) AND;
  • You mail to a long tail of smaller domains

THEN you may want to consider using a shared IP address.  The benefits in this case is that you have a less volatile complaint rate, and ISPs and e-mail providers have an easier time assigning a reputation to higher volume mailers.


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About Tom Sather

Email data and deliverability expert Tom Sather has worked with top-tier brands to diagnose and solve inbox placement and sender reputation issues as a strategic consultant with Return Path. As the company’s senior director of research, Tom is a frequent speaker and writer on email marketing trends and technology. His most recent analysis of new inbox applications’ effects on consumer behavior was widely cited across leading business media outlets including the Financial Times, Ad Age, and Media Post.

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