Ramping up your IP

IP addresses are one of the main elements used by webmail providers (Gmail, Microsoft, Yahoo...) to calculate a sender's reputation. It also determines if an email is delivered, and whether it is delivered to the recipient's inbox or to the spam folder.

IP addresses are therefore a key element for your sender reputation score. They are like the geographic coordinates of the sending server, as it identifies every device connected to the Internet.

However, IP addresses are not the only element that webmail providers take into account. Domains (sending, redirection or image-hosting domains) and the message's content also play a decisive role. The Google algorithm, to name an example, uses around 800 different parameters to calculate a sender's reputation!

An IP address that has never sent out an email is considered neutral. Its reputation is still to be built. It's therefore very important to show the webmail provider that the emails generated by the IP are legitimate so that its reputation is highly ranked.

This is what happens during a ramp-up process —if it's well managed.

The ramp-up process is crucial if you use dedicated IPs

If you use a shared IP pool from your sending platform, you will benefit from the reputation achieved by those IPs. In this case, the ramp-up process is not that important. It will rather depend on the reputation achieved by your domains.

When is a ramp-up process necessary?

In Actito, we usually advice to start using a shared IP pool. You may eventually be proposed to start using dedicated IPs, depending on the characteristics of your campaigns.

This method makes easier the transfer of your sending volume to Actito without what is usually called a 'double run', that is to say, without managing your emails both from your previous sending solution and from Actito.

If you chose this option, our deliverability experts will be in charge of the transfer during your set-up process and you won't have to do anything.

It is sometimes the case that using shared IPs is not possible for you, be it for security reasons or for whatever other reason. In this case, you should define a ramp-up plan. The aim is to increase the capacity and the reputation of your dedicated IPs.

Here's an approximate summary of the duration of a ramp-up process depending on the database size:

Database size

Process duration

Less than 50,000

From 2 to 3 weeks

From 50,000 to 100,000

5/6 weeks

From 100,000 to 250,000

7/8 weeks

From 250,000 to 500,000

8/10 weeks

From 500,000 to 1 000,000

10/12 weeks

More than 1,000,000

12 weeks and more

Apart from your database size, the duration of the process depends on some other elements:

  • Your data quality: if your stored addresses are engaged and recent and have a good quality (you don't have many invalid addresses in your database), the ramp-up will be faster.

  • Your campaign performance: if your opening rate is usually over 25% and your click rate is usually over 3%, the process will be faster.

  • The frequency of communication: the share of every webmail provider in your database will affect the needed number of IPs, but not the duration of the process.

You should consider all these factors before deciding to go through the process faster or slower than average.

How to proceed in practice?

A slow and progressive start, targeting the most active addresses.

There are two basic rules to warrantee an efficient ramp-up process:

  • To start by a first sending to 5,000 addresses and progressively increase the volume.

  • To target your best addresses: those with openings in the last 30 days and clicks in the last 90 days.

Consider completely excluding the recipients that stayed inactive during the last six months and, of course, those who unsubscribed, as well as those with previous hard bounces.

Furthermore, there is a third principle that should be taken into account: sending your emails on a regular basis and spreading them along different days.

If, for example, during the first week you have to send a message to 10,000 recipients, consider sending 5,000 emails a day on two different days.

It is very important that the process is not interrupted once started. The sending frequency must be regular, and the volume must be increased progressively. During the following weeks, you should progress from 5,000 to 10,000 emails a day and slowly introduce the least active addresses.

Another important aspect is including every webmail provider in the ramp-up process. It is not very helpful to target first all your Gmail contacts and then, your Microsoft's. You should actually mix all the domains so that they represent every webmail in your database. In this way, each one receives its dose.

Additional tips:

  • At first, editorial and attractive content should be prioritized over purely commercial messages.

  • Do not launch email acquisition campaigns during the ramp-up process.

How to tell when the process is over?

Once you have sent messages to your whole database and your metrics are back to normal.

Before starting, set your goals in terms of opening rate and sending volume for every webmail. These goals will be a reference so that you know when the process is successful.

Stay realistic when setting your goals —dreaming of the goals that you could achieved in a perfect world will not help you at all.

This is just an example, figures to be replaced by yours:


Expected sending volume

Expected opening rate

Status of the last sending






































Conclusion from the example in the image: The situation is good in global terms, but the cases of Yahoo and Google are still to be stabilized.

If you have been using your previous sending solution for several years and your IP reputation was very good, you might need some extra time to achieve a similar performance.

You should consider it as expected behaviour and rest assured that your reputation will progressively improve.