Email Marketing Bounce: What Is It and How To Avoid?


Bounce is the delivery and rejection error that occurs when sending emails. It is a strong indicator of the quality of your contact base.

The origin

When visitors to your website or portal sign up to receive your emails, the information collected there will necessarily be in some contact base. Unless you create ways for the users update their data themselves, this information will probably no longer be updated. As a result, you will have an old email base over time. When you use this database to send email marketing, some of the campaigns sent may be returned by the recipient server, generating the infamous bounce.

Types of bounce

Emails can generate a bounce for many reasons. The e-mail address may be invalid, inactive, the recipient’s mailbox is full, the mail server is down, or the system detects spam or offensive content.

The two types of email bounces are called hard bounce and soft bounce. Sounds simple enough? Not quite!

Let’s look at the two types and how to deal with them.

Hard bounce

A hard bounce happened when you send a campaign to an email address that no longer exists. This type of problem can occur for some reasons: one possible reason is with the increasing adoption of broadband internet services, people are changing their internet service providers and thus also change their email address, or your old email address no longer exists.

Another very common reason for hard bounces is the job change. The corporate email of a dismissed employee is usually suspended.

Because about 50% or more of the contact lists originates from a customer, business, or prospect contacts, not personal email, this cause of bounce is relatively common.

The only thing you can do to tackle hard bounces is to include a short paragraph in each of your emails, with an informative text and a link that allows your customers to update the information and eventually exchange the old email with the new one.

Soft bounce

The soft bounce occurs when you send an email to an active email address, but the message wasn’t delivered. Often, the problem is temporary – the mail server may be down, or the recipient’s mailbox is full. The e-mail may arrive at the recipient’s server later, or the sender’s e-mail program may try to send it again.
It can also occur because a person has an out-of-office notification enabled in their e-mail account, this corresponds to most cases of soft bounce. As it is not good business to remove these people from your mailing lists since they will eventually read the message and have the ability to receive future messages.

Keep in mind: this type of error sometimes might not be as accurate on the reports because they often do not show all the bounces or the real reason for them. When comparing email marketing platforms, ask to see a bounce report to analyze the data that is offered. If the vendor can’t produce a sample report, ask them what information they display about the soft bounce.

Hard or soft? Soft or hard? What’s the worst? What to do?

What you should do:

Stop sending to your base contacts that result in a hard bounce. This will save you money and will prevent your sender’s reputation from being harmed.

Regarding soft bounce is more complicated. Monitor the numbers, and if your email marketing provider allows you to read the return messages, analyze the reasons.

However, it is not recommended to remove these contacts from your list unless you notice a particular email result in this type of bounce for a few more months.

Always offer an unsubscribe link, most email marketing solutions provide these links to you. Be sure to keep your contact lists clean, and you will save money.




Whittington, Rick. “Why Do Emails Bounce? Understanding Email “Bounces.””Digital Marketing Trends. Whittington Consulting LLC, N/A. Web. 18 August 2017. Retrieved: