This article will help you understand whether you have a need to send from a dedicated IP address. If you do need one, or if you already have a dedicated IP address with us, this article also helps you better understand the process of our dedicated IP ramp ups.
It provides practical examples on why and how we plan these ramp ups and execute them for our users.
We will also soon be providing an email marketing gallery which we hope will give you plenty of inspiration for your own dedicated IP ramp-up campaigns.
Not sure if a dedicated IP is right for you?
Let's firstly look at the differences between, and the implications of, being in a shared IP pool compared to having a dedicated IP:
Shared IP pool
As it stands, you're on a shared IP, which means you're sharing a reputation with other senders in that pool. The reputation of the IP you're using is determined by the email practices of everyone who uses that IP/IP pool.
The good thing is that we’re very proactive about list cleanliness and have strict import rules (Data Watchdog), as well as proactive monitoring to prevent bad practices from hurting everyone’s deliverability. For this purpose, we’ve developed a proprietary Automated Reputation Manager which uses specific metrics and a scoring system to determine and move clients into the most appropriate pool, based on their email marketing program performance.
A dedicated IP is a single IP address assigned to a single sender with high volume and a high frequency of mailing. Multiple IP addresses may be dedicated for extremely high volume senders such as big corporate organisations or agencies.
A dedicated IP is protected against the the email practices of anyone else; it is solely affected by the practices of the single sender.
Should I make the move?
As a rule of thumb, you should consider moving to a dedicated IP address if:
- Your email list is fully permission based and highly engaged
- You need complete control over your sending reputation
- You consistently send a significant number of messages each month
- You send at least four campaigns a month
- You have special branding needs (for example, you are a healthcare, financial services or B2B organisation that requires a dedicated IP address for whitelisting purposes)
Pros and cons of a dedicated IP
It's important to be aware of the pros and cons of a dedicated IP too, when making the decision to move to one.
- Complete control: you're the one in charge of your reputation and you won't be adversely impacted by bad practice from other senders sharing your IP/IP pool
- Monitor and take action: you can monitor and take immediate action if any deliverability issues arise, using free tools such as Return Path’s Sender Score
- Accreditation and whitelisting: dedicated IP addresses are eligible for whitelisting programs such as Return Path’s Certification, which can help improve deliverability
- Protect critical email streams: you can protect transactional email like shopping cart abandonment email, receipts and shipping confirmations
- Cost: every IP and deliverability plan comes with a cost. IPv4 space is running out, which is significantly driving up the cost of IPs, while IPv6 isn’t widely adopted yet and will take time to come into play for email marketing (read more about IPv4 and IPv6). On top of this, additional costs can be accrued from whitelisting and monitoring.
- Reputation is your responsibility: reputation is a huge factor for mailbox providers in determining whether to filter your email to the junk folder or block it altogether. If they choose to block you, your subscribers will never get your messages. If you get blacklisted it might take months before you’re able to see good results from your campaigns again, which will drastically impact your bottom line.
- It takes time: a dedicated IP address has no history, so you won’t be able to send emails straight away. You need to follow an IP ramp-up plan to slowly establish a good sender reputation.
Why do you need to ramp up a dedicated IP?
A new or 'cold' IP address has no history, so you won’t be able to send emails straight away. Abrupt spikes in email sending volumes can have the effect of harming your IP’s reputation. Reputation is a huge factor for mailbox providers in determining whether to filter your email to the junk folder or block it altogether. If they choose to block you, your subscribers will never get your messages! To prevent this from happening, you need to follow a ramp-up plan.
What is ramping up?
‘Ramping up’ or IP warming is the practice of gradually increasing the volume of email being sent via a dedicated IP address according to a predetermined schedule. This helps to gradually establish a positive reputation with receivers such as Google, Yahoo, BT Internet, and so forth, as a legitimate email sender.
Our ramping up process
A ramp-up plan is necessary to gradually establish a good sender reputation and is critical for new users or existing users who are adding a new dedicated IP address to their account. So how do we build your ramp-up plan?
Deliverability questionnaireTo kick off the project, we’ll ask you to fill in our deliverability questionnaire to gain information on your list size and composition, sending cadence, frequency and your engagement statistics. We’ll then set up a kick-off call with one of our deliverability experts to go over your questionnaire in more details and discuss next steps.
IP ramp-up planOur ramp-up plans are individually created based on your own deliverability questionnaire and receiver-side compliance - this is what makes them so successful.
To be able to create your ramp-up plan, we require you to provide:
- Your engagement data for the last 90 days.
- Your historical permissioned database.
- Your suppression list (all unsubscribes, plus hard and soft bounces).
We utilise one of the most comprehensive ramp-up plans in the industry, created using years of email delivery experience combined with input from some of the world’s largest receivers (Google, Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo! and Comcast – just to name a few).
Ramp-up plan reviewUpon receiving your ramp-up plan, we’ll then set up a call to walk you through it and highlight timelines and assets required. Your ramp-up plan could go something along the lines of a xx-day model, in which we specify the daily sending volume per ISP (Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, BT Internet, Apple, AOL and 'others'), until we get you up to a 'business as usual' level by the final day.
Execute the ramp upWe’ll execute your ramp up for you. One of our campaign managers will be in touch to gather the email campaigns needed during the ramp up and will take care of data segmentation and deployment.
Why is a ramp-up plan needed?
A ramp-up plan, or IP warming plan, is necessary to gradually establish a good sender reputation and is critical for new users or existing users who are adding a new dedicated IP address to their account. ‘Ramping up’ or IP warming is the practice of gradually increasing the volume of email being sent via a dedicated IP address according to a predetermined schedule.
Is there an average time for ramp up?
Due to the nature of ramp ups, we can't give an average time duration - but it would be safe to say that it can take anywhere between six to 10 weeks, depending on how big the overall list is in combination with the amount of engaged data you have. Please note that reputation is built over time and therefore, in some cases, it may take longer to establish a positive reputation.
How can we reduce ramp-up time?
Unfortunately it is not possible to reduce the duration of a ramp-up plan. Nearly all email receivers have various, specific and proprietary sending volume restrictions. We automatically adapt sending pace as needed based on what we learn from the receivers. On occasion, if a plan is performing quite well, it would be possible to increase the volume of the segments which may speed up the plan and potentially reduce the time to completion.
Does a dedicated IP address always require a ramp-up plan?
In 99.9% of situations, yes. Moving an email stream to a new dedicated IP address must be done with caution and a proper ramp-up plan can ensure this.
How do we complete your ramp up when we are still sending from our previous ESP?
We understand that sometimes it's not possible for you to interrupt your email marketing programs, and therefore you might need to continue sending with your previous ESP until you've completely moved over to us. Whereas this can add an extra layer of complexity to your plan, it can still be done successfully. If this is your case, then one of our campaign managers will get in touch to explain how we’ll both need to proceed.