Monday Technology Series

Hard Bounce Vs. Soft Bounce

In the world of Email Marketing, not all emails make it to the recipient’s mail box. While some reach, few of them fail to make room for themselves. And, it is extremely important that you keep track of the emails that have not been delivered successfully.

An email is said to be bounced when it is rejected by the recipient’s server. There are many reasons why an email could be rejected and they can be categorized into two categories- Hard Bounce and Soft Bounce. Let’s see the difference between the two.

Hard Bounce

  • Generally, a hard bounce is an email that couldn’t be delivered for permanent reasons.
  • Examples –
    • Invalid/Incorrect email address – A subscriber might have given an incorrect email address while signing up or he gave his corporate email but then left the job in which case the email address became invalid.
    • Incorrect email domain.
  • Since, these are permanent failures, it is best to clean the mailing list and remove these accounts.

Soft Bounce

  • A soft bounce is an email that couldn’t be delivered for temporary reasons.
  • Examples –
    • Recipient mailbox is full.
    • Auto-reply or vacation responder is on.
    • The email message is too long.
  • Since, these are temporary kinds of failures, any email marketing software tries to resend the email to a set number of times (three or five maybe). If the email still fails to make it after the designated number of tries, it is best to remove such emails from the mailing list.

It is best to manage the mailing list from time to time and keep a check on accounts that bounce. If some accounts are bouncing again and again, it is best to remove them from the mailing list.

It is advisable to keep the bounce rate below 2%. If it is above 2%, you really need to check the accounts on your list and see if they are valid subscribers or you even may have to check your subscription process to make sure correct email addresses are collected.

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