Bounce Management

While bouncing can certainly be a fun thing (trampolines anyone?), in the realm of email marketing, it carries a different connotation. A bounce occurs when a mailing cannot be delivered to a particular email address. There are several bounce classifications: soft bounces, hard bounces, and blocks. Ultimately, if you are experiencing multiple bounces, you may need to clean your subscriber lists and target groups to improve your deliverability.

Bounces

As noted above, there are several classifications for bounces: soft, hard, and blocked. Let’s take a look at the key reasons you might experience these.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce generally occurs for one of the following reasons:

  • The mail server was down.
  • The mail server was not accepting mail.
  • The subscriber’s inbox was full.

You can generally resend a mailing to subscribers that soft bounced at a different time to ensure that they receive your message. Soft bouncers are automatically retried (i.e. resent a mailing) at certain intervals based on domain.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce generally occurs for one of the following reasons:

  • The domain does not exist.
  • The domain does not have a mail server.
  • The email address does not exist in the domain.

These addresses cannot receive a message because there is no place/address to receive the mailing!

Blocked Email Addresses

A blocked email address is any email address that may remain deliverable, but is rejected by the receiving mail server (for example, an anti-spam filter rejects your mailing). 

Repeat Bouncers

When a specific email address bounces multiple times, email addresses become known as repeat bouncers. These can be determined by soft, hard bounces, and blocked (see rules below). Repeat bouncers are automatically unsubscribed.

Rules

Because bouncing can cause deliverability problems, Informz uses the following rules to evaluate bounce status and suppress the email address when it reaches the repeat bouncer status. Note that these rules draw on data from the past 90 days of mailing activity.

  • After three consecutive hard bounces, a subscriber’s delivery format is automatically switched to Text.
  • After four consecutive hard bounces, a subscriber becomes a repeat bouncer.
  • After six consecutive bounces (a combination of soft, hard, or blocked), a subscriber’s delivery format is automatically switched to Text.
  • After seven consecutive bounces (a combination of soft, hard, or blocked), a subscriber becomes a repeat bouncer.
  • After one hard bounce, an AOL email address becomes a repeat bouncer.
  • Admin, Login, and Test email addresses do not become repeat bouncers.