Email Service Provider versus In-house

A common question among professional senders is: should I use an Email Service Provider (ESP) or can I send my emails in-house? To find a good answer can be difficult. There are a lot of ESPs and a lot of software vendors ready to help you, but where to get objective advise from? My customers are senders that use ESPs, in-house senders, and the ESPs themselves. In this post I will try to help with some considerations.

Some senders think that ESPs are essential to good deliverability, as if they are a gateway to email delivery nirvana. Well, ESPs certainly understand and monitor deliverability, and they do help getting the technical pre-requisites right. But in the end it is the sender’s list and content what drives the deliverability, and infrastructure is not more than an important pre-requisite.

Quite the opposite, some think that sending in-house just requires a server with email software. As soon as you start sending more than a few thousand emails you need to know about best practices, provider policies, and deliverability management. This doesn’t have to be a hurdle, since there are resources and consultants to help, but it will either cost effort or money to address these matters.

So what are the advantages of using an ESP? I think the most important are the following:

  • Low setup costs
  • Easy provisioning
  • High availability
  • Deliverability management
  • Email marketing support

And for in-house infrastructure, the following are important advantages:

  • No CPM (per mail) fees
  • Tight integration
  • Dedicated system resources
  • Full control over deliverability
  • Data remains in-house

How this works out in the situation of a specific sender depends on the situation, and how one values certain aspects. With regards to the costs, volume is very important. The ESPs charge a rate per thousand (CPM) of about € 0,5 to € 3. The one-time costs of an in-house system typically vary between € 5K and € 30K and the monthly costs between € 500/mo and € 1500/mo.

If you ask me, senders that send less than one million per month are most often better of using an ESP. Above that, it can be interesting to send in-house. Because it is cheaper in the long run, because it integrates well with other in-house systems, or just because a self-owned system is of strategic importance.

More information?
If you would like to know more about how we can help you, just send us a message via our contact page.

Share this

Comments are closed.

There are many more interesting blogs by category for you to read.

Would you like to know more about this blog article?

    Postmastery respects your privacy, we will never cold-call you or share your data with others.