Let’s get started with some technical background here. From Wikipedia, “Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) is a version of the Internet Protocol that is designed to succeed Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). IPv4 is the first publicly used Internet Protocol and has been in operation since 1981.”
So here we sit, 29 years later, with less than 50 million new IPv4 addresses available. At the current rate, these will be gone in about a month. So, for the last decade or so, IPv6 has been in development to create a fresh and virtually inexhaustible (at least for now) supply of new IP addresses, 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 to be exact.
So how does this affect email marketing conversions and revenue? Deliverability.
For the longest time, IP addresses have been used by blacklists to identify spammers and senders with a bad reputation. By tracking the IP address of the outgoing mail SMTP server, ISPs have had a fairly reliable way of filtering SPAM from legitimate emails.
The problem that IPv6 introduces is that with such a large number of available IP addresses, blacklists could become so large that they would be virtually impossible to operate efficiently.
With a the primary filtering technology about to become extinct, what will replace them? How will emails be filtered? The replacement is a move towards a reputation based on the sender’s domain and inbox engagement.
Domain-based email marketing reputation is different from your IP address’s reputation because it follows you and your website regardless of the server hosting your site or sending your email. It can be based on the domain attached to the From or Reply to addresses used, or possibly the Mail-By or Signed-By headers.
So unless you change your domain — and who can afford to do that? — your reputation is likely to stick with you.
Have you tried Gmail’s Priority Inbox? How about Hotmail’s Sweep feature? This is inbox engagement in action! By tracking who you communicate with, how you communicate with them, and many other factors, your inbox is attempting to become smarter than you. That means blocking, bulking, and filtering messages before you even look at them.
For email marketers with low engagement, this is a real wake-up call. Low engagement rates can quickly snowball out of control and lead to bad email marketing deliverability.
Prepare Yourself Now
It’s not all doom and gloom, just think of it as the next step in the evolution of email marketing where the strong will get stronger and the weak will meet an unfortunate end. Next Friday, I’ll explore the steps you can take to survive and even generate more conversions and generate more revenue from your email marketing.
Check out our white paper for 6 secrets to improve email deliverability. You’ll learn how making the inbox can mean big dollars for your business. Includes a case study of adaptive deliverability that boosted customer response by 19%.