Email Bounce Rate: Definition and Tips to Reduce it

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Author: Raul  |  

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What is the email bounce rate?

Email bounce rate is the percentage of email addresses in the list to which you sent the email, that didn't receive the email because the email server on their end didn't accept it.

There are 3 types of email bounces: Hard bounce (permanent), Soft bounce (temporary) and Pending bounce (temporary).

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How do you calculate the email bounce rate?

Here's how the formula looks:

Email bounce rate = (number of emails bounced / number of emails delivered) x 100

You don't have to calculate this every time you send an email. Your email service provider will be able to give you this data under their analytics dashboard.

The difference between a hard bounce, pending bounce, and a soft bounce

Hard bounce: When there is no chance of delivering the email to the recipient's email server even after multiple attempts, or ever, it's called a hard bounce.

It will get returned with a failed delivery notification. This happens in cases where the email address is wrong or doesn't exist anymore. You can not send any more emails to these addresses.

Soft bounce: When there is a chance that the email might get delivered, it's called a soft bounce.

This happens because of temporary reasons such as the mailbox is full or there is some technical problem. These email addresses can receive your future emails.

Pending bounce: When there is a temporary issue with either the sender's or the receiver's email server, the emails are not sent. But the email service provider keeps attempting the delivery for a certain time (2-3 days). This state is called pending bounce.

If the email is not delivered even after this time, the email is said to be soft bounced.

Is there such a thing as a good email bounce rate?

No brand in the world has the coveted record of 100% delivery and 0% bounce.

Some or the other email will be dead, mistyped or some server somewhere will have a technical glitch. So we will never get to a 0% bounce rate. But here are the percentages that are nothing to worry about:

  • Hard bounce rate: 2%
  • Overall bounce rate (soft and hard): 5%

Meaning, if you send 1000 emails, you should have less than 20 hard bounces & less than 50 total bounces. If there are more, you should inspect your list. We will discuss more actions in the next section.

7 Tips to reduce email bounce rate

1. Clean your email list

Remove the email addresses that have been hard-bouncing your emails for a while now.

It's not easy, possible, or sensible to do this manually one by one. That's why check with your email marketing software on how it can help you segregate emails that have hard bounced. And then, simply delete those.

You can also segregate email addresses that haven't opened any email you sent them in the past 4-6 months. These people have probably churned or not been active at their given email address.

2. Use list verification service

Services like email list validation, validity, or Zero Bounce help you clean lists to remove emails that might look like legit emails and might have opened a few emails in the past but are actually spam traps.

You can remove emails with invalid domains, duplicates, or emails that are not active now.

3. Use double opt-in

People make typos while signing up for newsletters or lead magnets, so many times. This will send emails to your database, which are basically worthless.

Someone can also try a malicious attack on your subscription form to fill it with random, invalid IDs or spam traps.

You can avoid this from happening by sending a confirmation email to people once they give you their email address.

This ensures that the email address is not mistyped or invalid. It will also avoid people who are not genuinely interested to receive your emails, from getting added to the list.

4. Don't use a free domain

If you are sending promotional, content, or sales emails to an email list, avoid using free services like Gmail or yahoo because or can not be authenticated. Why is it important? Let's see in the next section.

5. Authenticate your domain with DMARC, SPF, and DKIM

An email server wants to protect itself and its users from any harmful viruses or messages. So before it allows any emails to pass through it, it will make sure that the email wasn’t spoofed by some hacker or it’s not forged. This protects the recipients from spammers & hackers.

It does that by making sure that the email received actually came from the sender listed in the ‘from’ field.

To signal that your emails are authentic, you will need to follow three email authentication processes: SPF, DKIM & DMARC.

6. Don't exceed your daily sending limit

Almost every email server gives you a certain limit of emails that you can send every day. If you send more than your allocated quote, your emails will start getting bounced because of limits at your server end.

Usually, brands send max one or two emails per day, but if you suspect that your volume might increase suddenly, consult with the person who is handling your account at your ESP and get to know an upper limit of emails you can send. And then don't exceed it.

7. Analyze your email campaigns' data, regularly

Check out your ESPs analytics dashboard to get the data on how many email addresses are getting bounced with each campaign.

If you are using a free service like Gmail or Yahoo mail, sorry, this won't be provided. So even if you are sending emails to 100, 500, or 1000 people, choose an ESP that provides you insightful data.

Wrap Up

Understand and accept that some of your emails addressed are going to bounce your emails. You should focus on fixing the issues if the numbers go above the industry and your own benchmarks.

If you are looking for an ESP that can provide you the right metric and clean dashboard to track your bounce rates, we would suggest SendX. It is intuitive to use, has analytic dashboards for all metrics, and is affordable at just $7.49/mo. Before you commit, you can try it for 14-days, without any credit card.

Author: Raul  |  

My name is Raul, editor in chief at Technivorz blog. I have a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing.

Read more posts by this author.

Email Bounce Rate: Definition and Tips to Reduce it
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