The bounce rate is a top concern for any email marketing campaign; read on to get some answers to your most common questions on this topic.

What Does Email Bounce Mean?

Email bounce occurs when the emails that you send out are unable to be successfully delivered to their intended recipients for any reason. The sender’s email will notify them that the email that they sent has either not been accepted, or another underlying issue has resulted in a failure to deliver the message.

If an email has bounced back, you will usually get an email from your provider stating why a bounce has occurred and offering suggestions to rectify the situation.

What is Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce in Email Marketing?

Hard bounces in email marketing occur when the email is completely rejected. For example, if your recipient’s email address no longer exists, the email’s domain name is no longer available, or if you have entered an incorrect email address that is not in use. A hard bounce is usually a permanent, unfixable problem.

On the other hand, a soft bounce will not be as serious as a hard bounce. More often than not, these will be caused by a temporary issue, like the recipient’s inbox being too full or the server not responding.

You’ll usually get an email from the server to inform you that the email has bounced and why, and in most cases, you can try again to successfully redeliver the email at a later time. In most cases, the causes of soft bounces are not a cause for concern and will usually be fixed without the need for you to take any action.

What Causes Emails to Bounce Back?

Emails bouncing back can happen for a number of reasons. Among the more serious reasons that are likely to be permanent including having the wrong email address for your recipient, sending an email to an address that no longer exists, or the domain name of the email address no longer being available.

The causes behind soft bounces are usually temporary and can either be fixed by yourself, the recipient or the email provider. For example, if a recipient’s inbox is full, emails will no longer bounce after they have deleted some messages. Misspelling of a name in an email address that caused the message to bounce can also be easily rectified by double-checking the spelling before resending.

Non-existent email addresses are the most popular reason for bounce backs and are usually caused by typos and misspellings rather than the email no longer exists. It may occur if you are trying to email a professional email address and the recipient has left the organisation.

What Happens When an Email Bounces?

An email bounce occurs when a message fails to send to a recipient’s inbox. You will get an error message from the email server or the destination email server in the form of a Non-Delivery Report when this happens. This message will inform you of what caused the email delivery to fail.

To understand what happens when an email bounces back, it can help to know what the steps for delivering an email are.

After you compose and send an email, it is given to your SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server for delivery. This server checks your email with the DNS (Domain Name Server), which works like an address book for domain names and server IP addresses.

Once the recipient’s server has been located, the message is passed to their Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) to complete the delivery, and the email is delivered to your recipient. But when an email bounces, the last step doesn’t go to plan – instead, the email bounces back.

What is an Acceptable Bounce Rate for Emails?

Ideally, you will want to get your email bounce rates as low as possible. The best number to aim for is below 10%.

This is because a high number of consistent email bouncebacks can be very harmful to your email marketing campaign. Not only will it affect your company’s IP reputation, but it can also impact the deliverability of your emails in the future.

All companies that conduct email marketing campaigns are given a sender reputation score, which works in a similar way to your credit score.

The more emails that are bounced back or unwanted, the lower your sender reputation score will be. And since it can be difficult to rebuild your sender reputation score back up, it’s always best to prevent it from dropping initially.

How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate?

There are several methods to consider when it comes to reducing your email bounce rate. It is often worth taking some time to figure out what the main reason for your bounced email is; can you see a pattern?

If you are often dealing with bounced emails due to spelling mistakes and typos, you may want to compare your email list to the emails that you have for your recipients in other records to see where you can correct these mistakes.

In addition, it’s likely that you have a lot of invalid email addresses in your list if you have a high bounce rate, and the list may need cleaning.

You can prevent further mistakes by offering an online sign-up form to gather contacts and using double-opt-in where recipients are asked to confirm their email by clicking a link that is sent to their inbox before they’re added to the mailing list.

How to Check Bounce Email?

You should already have a vague idea at least when it comes to how many of your emails are bouncing back since you will be receiving messages in your inbox to inform you of the non-delivery of your message.

You can calculate your email bounce rate easily; it is the number of emails that have bounced back as a percentage of the total emails that you have sent. You can work this out by dividing the total number of emails sent by the total number of emails that have bounced back, to get your bounces per email.

Then, multiply this number by one hundred to get your bounce rate as a percentage of the total emails you have sent. If your bounce rate is above 10%, consider using the strategies listed above to reduce it.