A bounced email is a significant problem on two levels.
First—the potential customer or client is never going to respond to a message they didn’t receive.

Second—bounce rates can affect the quality and reputation of your email domain. An email domain with a poor reputation can go on to prevent further campaigns from arriving with their intended recipients.

What is email bounce rate and how can it impact your email marketing?

Email bounce rate is the percentage of addresses in a mailing list that didn’t receive the email because the recipient’s server returned it.
In other words, an email bounces when it can’t be delivered to its intended recipient.

An email bounces for all sorts of reasons. A soft bounce is a temporary problem, where a hard bounce is permanent. You need to strip out the hard bounces straight away. A soft bounce is one you should monitor.

Soft bounces

Reasons an email might bounce temporarily:

  • Inbox is full
  • Message size is too large for the server
  • Your domain was blocked
  • The message content is rich with spam terms or an overly-heavy ratio of images to text

Hard bounces

Reasons an email might bounce permanently:

  • Invalid or expired email address/account
  • No mail server for the address
  • Incorrectly typed or supplied email

What is a good bounce rate?

Bounce rates aren’t a one-size-fits-all problem. Different industries have different acceptable bounce rates. So, looking at the topic in general terms, what is an acceptable bounce rate for emails?

If your bounce rates are under 2%, whatever field you operate in, that’s okay. Keep doing what you’re doing, but don’t get complacent. Those figures can change at any point. Vigilance is key to keeping hold of those healthy figures.

If your bounce rate is over 2%, you need to look at why, and the best way to fix it.

Bounce rates approaching 5% require serious action.

If they’re as high as 10%, then it’s time to instigate a full-blown plan of attack. You need to turn things around and get those rates back to where they should be.

Average bounce rates for email campaigns

We looked at two major industry players to try and confirm some kind of email bounce rate benchmark.

Mailchimp

released statistics from campaigns during 2019 with over 1,000 subscribers. The campaigns were delivered throughout a range of industries, revealing the average email bounce rate (soft and hard) as well as open and click rates. The campaigns were delivered by businesses right across the board—from single-person start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

The average hard bounce came in at 0.4%
The lowest hard bounce was 0.25% in religion, closely followed by e-commerce at 0.27%.
The highest hard bounce was 0.86% in construction, and in second place, insurance with 0.72%.
The average soft bounce was 0.58%.

Campaign Monitor

analysed over 30 billion emails sent across the globe throughout 2019. They found a total average bounce rate of 0.7% with the same size of fluctuation between industries.

The key takeaway each platform noticed was how much the figures are improving each year. This shows the importance placed on high-quality lists and the effort made by marketers to attain them.

How to fix high bounce rates?

There are plenty of measures you can take to clean your lists and reduce problem numbers. Here’s a list of the procedures you should be carrying out already—and not just when the bad bounce rates start to appear.

Clean your lists

Using an email checker (like Bouncer!) to clean your lists is a must. It’s easy to do and guaranteed to clear out the addresses that would bounce before they can do any damage.

Use double opt-in and permission-based email marketing

A double opt-in (one where the recipient has to confirm they chose to be added to a list) will help to filter out fake sign-ups and misspelt email addresses.

Buying an email list is always a bad idea. You have no idea if the recipients are interested in your product or service, so could well be heading straight for the spam folder. There’s also a chance that your new list is full of broken addresses.

Do yourself a favour; gather your data correctly. Give yourself the best chance of a healthy list and just as healthy returns.

Authenticate your emails

Authenticating your email signature in your campaign settings is one more technical step to add credibility to your email deliverability.

Don’t send emails from free email providers

As much as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and the host of other free email services are generally trustworthy providers, sending emails from their addresses will often fail DMARC checks and be bounced or sent straight to their junk folder.

Send your email campaigns from your domain, and maintain as high a domain reputation as possible at all times.

Send quality emails

Email filters monitor messages and subjects for phrases that are typically associated with spam emails. Run a spam check on your email content before delivery, to check the content and score of your email.

Only ever send out professional-quality emails. Include your correct contact and official information, and always include an unsubscribe option.

Send emails consistently and frequently

Sending out regular emails will help filter your contacts at a steady, manageable pace. Emailing campaigns twice a month is a fair rate for a typical business.

If your company delivers relevant and current information that customers are hungry for, then you can send them multiple times each week. It’s essential to understand which is right for you and never to over-send, annoying your recipients.

Regular delivery gives you a chance to monitor campaigns steadily, keeping your bounce rate low. If you only send twice a year, the number of expired addresses will have grown significantly, resulting in much higher bounce rates impacting on your domain reputation.

Confirm engagement and remove inactive subscribers

Checking that your information is relevant and of interest to your recipients is good practice.

Those who have changed jobs, lost interest in a pastime, or no longer require your service or product, could be hitting the spam or delete button every time your email lands. That will have a negative impact on your domain.

It’s better to weed out a bad address than keep marketing to a list full of out-dated leads.

Monitor the bounce rates of every campaign

You should be doing this already, as your average bounce rate for email campaigns can vary week-to-week.

Monitoring all of your results (not just the click-throughs and conversions) is a must. The bad results tell you just as much as the good ones. You should be removing all the hard bounces as soon as you detect them.

Keep a clean list, and its quality will improve consistently.

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