Why you shouldn’t use Multiple ESPs (Email Service Providers)

By Aniel Bhaga | aniel.bhaga@ungapped.com

It may seem like a great idea to use multiple email service providers all together such as Ungapped, MailChimp & SendGrid for various business activities.  You may even feel that it is improving your business processes or it poses no issues at all. In the short term if you are testing out various systems it won’t, outside this it will.

At Ungapped we believe that you should not use multiple ESPs. If you do want to change to another ESP then change everything together. We have our top 5 reasons and will share them with you below. Along with this I have found some excerpts from interviews with other experts in the field and what they have to say. Overall we come to the same conclusion that using more than one ESP is not a helpful at all.


Why you should stick with one ESP

  1. You will have a whole picture view of what your customers are interacting with and how engaged they are with your emails.
  2. Managing subscribes and unsubscribes is simpler, you don’t have to cross check and update various systems.
  3. You have a holistic view of what emails are being sent out and to who so not un-intentionally overwhelm your customers.
  4. Your sending reputation will grow, as you are sending from one ESP you reduce the risk of being seen as a spammer.
  5. Using one platform enables you to see what emails are performing better or worse, with open rates, bounces, clicks. Enabling you to iterate fast and update each communication.


What the other experts have to say:

“I’d not recommend it unless you are a global organization where there is no centralized control and in region requirements that differ dramatically. You are minimizing the value of engagement by separating transactional from triggers and promotional/batch. You also lose the aggregate value of ‘seeing’ what’s happening across your customer base, market and people that may be in different markets but exhibit like-behaviors. It’s just as hard to manage at scale without a mission and the mission shouldn’t be to Band-Aid your existing ESP, as you’ll get fractional value from each. I would only use multiple vendors if you plan to switch to help ease the transition, or you are so big you aren’t centralized to reap the benefits.”
– David Baker, Cofounder and Chief Strategy & Operations Officer, Cordial


“My advice would be to avoid messaging sprawl. Messaging sprawl can lead to a dangerous over messaging of clients. Let me give you an example: the marketing team uses one ESP, the partner and loyalty team uses another, a third is used by customer service, and legal/compliance uses some in-house tool. It’s nearly impossible to know when or how often one of these groups sends a communication. The likelihood that someone could hear from all four groups in the course of a single day can be quite high. Additionally, there is the question of efficacy: how do you analyze performance and understand the impact of all that messaging? You wind up burdening yourself with building a BI system, getting all the data into it to analyze, synching things like bounces, suppression lists etc. across platforms. You see where I’m going with this? Choosing the right ESP is important, it’s your bridge, a conduit, a critical line of communication to your customers and it is highly measurable and should feed your understanding of your company’s performance.”
– Len Shneyder, VP of Industry Relations, SendGrid


“Using multiple ESPs is like a frequent traveler staying in multiple hotel chains: most don’t do enough volume to build reputation across both. If you’re spreading yourself across multiple ESPs, odds are you will not only lack the volume per IP to build reputation with the internet service providers (ISPs), you’ll also put yourself at risk of being identified as a snowshoe spammer.”
– Mike Hillyer, Director of Product Marketing, SparkPost


“Using multiples ESPs is no replacement for a proactive, well thought out deliverability sending strategy. However, there are use cases where sending from more than one ESP fits into a company’s business goals. For example, if your company has both B2B and B2C divisions, this could warrant using different ESPs to cater to each market. Keep in mind that there are higher costs associated with using multiple ESPs. Splitting your volume across ESPs will usually increase your CPM costs since CPM rates typically drop with higher sending volumes. There are also labor costs associated with learning and training staff on a second ESP platform. These labor costs can be easily overlooked, but could become significant over time.”
– Dan Deneweth, Senior Director, Strategic Services (Deliverability), Oracle Marketing Cloud


“Not as a long term solution. If you’re evaluating or testing various solutions out (running a proof of concept, for example), that’s one thing. Some senders will also send transactional, triggered, and marketing mailings from different ESPs, but that can get messy. Ideally, one ESP handles it all.”
– Roger Barnette, CEO, MessageGears


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