Understanding and managing email bounce rates is crucial for successful campaign delivery. High bounce rates can have a detrimental impact on deliverability and sender reputation, hindering the effectiveness of your efforts.
This article delves into the intricacies of email bounce rates, exploring the different types of bounces, their causes, and strategies to mitigate them. By gaining insights into this important metric, marketing professionals can optimise their email campaigns, improve deliverability, and enhance overall engagement with their target audience.
Email bounces are split into hard bounces and soft bounces, with each caused by different issues that either need to be fixed by the sender or the recipient.
Hard bounces occur when an email is permanently undeliverable to the recipient’s mailbox. The most common cause for a hard bounce is an invalid or non-existent email address. If the recipient’s address is misspelt, deactivated, or no longer exists, the email server will reject the message, leading to a hard bounce. Email distribution lists should be regularly reviewed and updated, as hard bounces will naturally build up over time if using the same list as contacts move between organisations.
Other factors that can cause hard bounces include domain name errors, such as a domain that does not exist or has expired, and technical issues with the recipient’s mail server, such as a misconfigured or blocked server. Because hard bounces indicate a permanent delivery failure and require corrective action, email marketing or automation platforms will not include these addresses in future campaigns.
Soft bounces occur when an email is temporarily undeliverable to the recipient’s mailbox. There are various reasons why emails result in soft bounces, such as a recipient’s mailbox being full and exceeding its storage capacity. In such cases, the email server may be temporarily unable to accept new messages, resulting in a soft bounce. Network or server issues, such as temporary connectivity problems or maintenance activities, can also lead to soft bounces.
Additionally, some email providers may implement temporary delivery limits, which can cause soft bounces if the sender exceeds those limits. Soft bounces indicate a temporary issue, and usually, the email will be retried for delivery later, with email automation platforms typically allowing email addresses to build up several soft bounces before they are automatically excluded from future campaigns.
A high bounce rate will negatively impact your sender’s reputation, as it signals poor list quality and can result in being marked as spam. Over time, high bounce rate increases the chances of your email being moved to a recipient’s junk folders or outside of Microsoft Outlook’s ‘Focused’ inbox, meaning your messages cannot reach your intended audience.
This can be incredibly damaging, wasting resources, skewing the results of your campaigns, and harming the engagement that high-quality content merits. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor and manage bounce rates to maintain healthy email deliverability and campaign performance.
Particularly poor-performing email domains can also be blacklisted, meaning that your domain or IP address is penalised as a source of spam or suspicious activity. Emails sent from blacklisted domains may be blocked or marked as spam by various email providers and filters. Such penalties severely impact your email deliverability, causing significant decrease in the number of emails reaching recipients’ inboxes and potentially damaging your sender’s reputation. Resolving blacklisting issues requires identifying the cause, remedying the problem, and requesting delisting from relevant blacklist authorities – with no guarantee that this request will be fulfilled.
The best way to maintain your sender score is to maintain a clean and up-to-date email list, regularly removing invalid or inactive addresses.
Your choice of lead generation platform will have a huge impact on your sender score, with some providers providing contacts with a bounce rate of between 20-30%. Most platforms use basic methods to attempt to verify contact details, involving ‘pinging’ email servers in an attempt to reach the email address. However, around half of these requests go unanswered, with contacts often added to these services if it can’t be disproved that they no longer work there.
As part of independent research run by TAMI earlier this year, we found that a third of marketing professionals who have previously purchased email contact data expect this to have at least a 20% bounce rate or higher, with an astonishing 12% of respondents expecting half of any purchased contacts to bounce.
TAMI uses a completely different methodology. We are the only market intelligence and lead generation platform to verify contact details all the way to the inbox, guaranteeing contact data with a bounce-back rate of less than 5%.
Outside of improving your contact lists, make sure to adhere to anti-spam regulations and best practices, such as using a double opt-in process and providing a clear unsubscribe option. Monitor sender reputation by avoiding spammy content, using authenticated sending methods, and monitoring blacklists. It is also recommended to engage with recipients through personalised and relevant content, as higher engagement can positively impact deliverability.
Email marketing remains an incredibly powerful tool for businesses, and having a high-quality contact list is crucial to its success. By regularly monitoring and addressing bounce issues, businesses can improve their sender reputation, increase deliverability, and ensure that their messages reach the intended recipients, maximising the effectiveness of their email marketing efforts and avoiding emails not being received by recipients.
TAMI is the world’s leading marketing intelligence and lead generation provider, trusted by Fortune 500 companies across the globe for actionable market insights.
If you’d like to see how TAMI can transform your email deliverability and help you reach new prospective clients, click here to submit your details, and our team will be in touch to arrange a no-obligation free trial.