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Dedicated vs. Shared IP Addresses: The Pros & Cons

Richard Ly December 22,2016

I’m currently helping a subdivision of a larger parent company with their onboarding process. Recently, this client asked if they should have their own dedicated IP address, or if they should send their emails via their parent company’s existing IP address. My first thought was that of course each company should have its own IP address.

However, the more information I gathered on this topic—from both the client, and from my own research—the more I started to question my initial thought. As I discovered, there really are great benefits to both options, and it’s up to your brand to decide which makes the most sense for you. Let’s take a closer look at what each choice has to offer:

The Pros of Setting up a New IP Address:

Whether you’re switching ESPs (Email Service Providers), or implementing your very first ESP, setting up a new IP will obviously be easier to execute at the very beginning of any onboarding. Any new IP addresses need to be warmed up to build a good reputation among all the ISPs (Internet Service Providers), thus the initial deployments will be limited to a small portion of the contacts list. Typically, during an onboarding, promotional and transactional emails are brought on slowly and increased in volume over time—this ensures that the reputation of the IP address is in good standing. Once the new IP is fully up and running, it will allow you to freely send both promotional and transactional emails without any risk to the parent company's IP reputation and vice versa. This goes without saying, but it’s also important to consider the most obvious benefit of independently operating IP addresses: if one account were to experience any problems, the other wouldn’t be affected, which makes troubleshooting deliverability issues easier.

The Pros of Sharing an IP Address:

If the number of deliverable records in your contacts list is considered small, the frequency of your sends are few and far between, and/or cost is a concern, then sharing an IP address might be the best option for you. However, you should do your due diligence—you’ll need to look into who else is sharing the IP address, how the address is assigned, how you’ll be informed if a user is added or taken off your IP address, and what the next steps are if your deliverability takes a hit because a shared user hurts the IP’s reputation. These are just a few questions that you should consider and at least discuss with your ESP. Each ESP is different, so educate yourself and make your choice based on what’s acceptable to you or your client.

The safer choice is always to be on your own IP address, but what I’ve learned is that—like everything else in life—there are benefits to both options. With a little research, you’ll be able to confidently select the one that best fits your needs or the needs of your client.

Tags: Digital Marketing, Digital Strategy, Email Marketing, Email Strategy

About The Author

Richard Ly

Richard Ly

Manager, Strategic Accounts, Shaw + Scott (San Francisco) Richard is an innovative accounts leader with five years of experience in the marketing industry. He specializes as a liaison between clients and the Shaw + Scott technical services team, seamlessly anticipating and delivering the technical needs of each campaign and project. Richard began his career as a Campaign Specialist with Oracle Responys, where he mastered the Responsys Interact platform and worked with clients to leverage data, maximize efficiency and dynamically drive creative. Richard has put his strategic know-how to work with brands including RIM, United Airlines, Cost Plus World Market, Prosper, Snapfish and Thumbtack.