Email Bounce Back: What is it and How To Reduce Them?

No matter how much effort you put into your email marketing strategies but bounce rates can ruin it.  

Hence before you set up your email marketing campaign, it becomes essential to understand the intricacies of bounce rates and know how to reduce them. 

You spend a lot of budgets, time, and investment in crafting, designing, and automating your emails, but when you send them, it bounces back to you! 

That’s disappointing for any marketer or business owner. Whether you’re at the start of your email marketing campaign or in the midst of it, here is everything you need to know about bounce rates. 

You also need to know how to reduce them to assure high deliverability and hence, more conversion. 

What Is Email Bounce Rate? 

When your email doesn’t reach your recipient and doesn’t end up in their inbox for multiple reasons, that is called Email bounce or email bounce back. 

And when this happens on a consistent basis, you get your email bounce rate. It is the rate of how much percentage of your emails that are sent regularly are bounced back. 

The calculation itself contains the total number of sent emails divided by the bounced emails to find out the rate of email bounce. 

This percentage helps you understand how big of a problem you have and how seriously it could be impacting your campaign. 

Using this measurement, you can check how many bounced emails you are getting and improve by lowering it. 

What Is Email Bounce Back? 

Email bounce back is the situation when your sent email to a subscriber or recipient cannot be delivered to their inbox due to any reason.

For emails to bounce back, there can be plenty of reasons which definitely are not good for your email marketing campaign. 

This is something no marketer would want and try to avoid

Especially businesses and marketers invest so much of their time to find relevant email addresses, then craft highly personalized and segmented emails, but then it never reaches the subscriber. 

This is one of the biggest technical tragedies of email marketing which hampers the result of the campaign. 

What If Your Emails Bounce Back Too Often And Too Much? 

If your emails are getting more bounce-backs, and it is happening too often, this evidently increases what is called the bounce rate of your campaign. 

And when you have a higher bounce rate consistently, it has a negative impact on your marketing efforts and overall outreach. 

Bouncing back emails on a regular basis creates a bounce rate for your campaign, putting another constraint or factor along with the other performance metrics of the email campaign

How Do You Calculate Your Email Bounce Rate? 

Calculating your email bounce is essential as it gives you a more quantifiable understanding of how far you’re from the ideal scenario. 

To calculate the email bounce rate of our campaign, all you have to do is find out the total number of emails that bounced and the total number of emails that were sent. 

Once you have both of these numbers, you will apply this particular formula to find your email bounce rate  :

Email Bounce Rate =  Email Bounced /  Emails Sent x 100 

So suppose you have sent a particular email to your 10,000 subscribers from which you get 100 of those bounced back, then apply this formula : 

100 / 10,000  x 100 = 1% 

Your bounce rate for this campaign will be 1% which is lower than 3%, so does that mean it is good? Or good enough?  Or you should try to lower it. 

What Can Be An Acceptable Email Bounce Rate?

Now that you know to calculate the email bounce rate, your next question will be : 

What is considered to be a “good” email bounce rate for your email campaigns? 

Well, an acceptable email bounce rate, as we mentioned earlier, is 2%, so if your bounce rate is any less than 2%, you’re good to go. 

However, you should consistently strive to lower your bounce rate anyway. 

Average Bounce Rate Per Industry

However, you also have to consider in what industry you’re running your email marketing campaign because it changes. 

The average hard bounce rate for every industry is different, so a good bounce rate will be considered; anything lower than the average bounce rate of your industry. 

According to MailerLite, here are the different bounce rates depending upon their respective industries. However, the average bounce rate across all the different industries is 0.83%

IndustryAverage Bounce rate
Recruitment and Staffing0.92%
Online courses0.34%
Medical, Dental, and Healthcare1.25%
Public Relations0.49%
Photo and Video0.57%
Agriculture and Food Services0.33%
Education and Training0.46%
Travel and Transportation0.50%
Real Estate0.55%
Creative Services/Agency0.54%
Home and Garden0.37%
Art and Artists0.36%
Business and Finance0.62%
Media and Publishing0.30%
Beauty and Personal Care0.49%
Software and Web App1.93%
Health and Fitness0.31%
Architecture and Construction1.63%
Entertainment and Events0.39%
Marketing and Advertising0.33%
Music and Musicians0.57%
Computers and Electronics0.33%
Daily Deals/E-coupons0.21%
Source:  MailerLite

You also need to see what kind of email marketing campaign you’re running because the bounce rate also depends on that. 

For example, cold email marketing campaigns can have a higher bounce rate as compared to an opt-in email marketing campaign. 

The Impact Of High Email Bounce Rate 

When you have a constantly high email bounce rate, it will drive a negative impact on your marketing strategy and approach. 

But more than that, it impacts your sender’s reputation. The sender’s reputation is a crucial factor in your email deliverability as it authenticates your email sender’s name. 

Sender reputation is basically a score that every Internet Service Provider (ISP) assigns to an email-sending IP address. 

It basically tells them how trustworthy and authentic that IP address is. Based on that, it will be judged when you send emails to different people. 

It also impacts whether your email will end up in spam or inbox. 

With a low sender reputation score, you have a higher chance of your emails ending up in the spam folder of your recipients. 

So, if you have a high sender reputation score, such as 99 out of 100, your emails have the least chance of getting trapped in spam filters or bouncing back. 

Even the Email Service Providers (ESP) evaluate the sender’s reputation and other authentication or verification methods to see whether your emails should go to the spam folder or the inbox. 

There are ESPs like Outlook and Gmail that penalize the sender’s reputation if their bounce rate is anything over 5% 

So this means you should aim to lower your bounce rate below 2% to be on the safe side and not end up in the spam folder or get bounced back. 

Does Email Bounce Also Affect Your IP reputation?  

In short, yes, it does! 

Email bounce directly impacts the email deliverability and also the sender’s reputation, which is used by both Email Service Providers (ESPs) and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

When you have a higher bounce rate on a consistent basis, it impacts how ISPs, ESPs, or email clients evaluate your email or authenticate it. 

Poor deliverability impacts the sender’s reputation and records a track that you have a consistently bad reputation when it comes to sending emails. 

In fact, chances are due to high email bounce, you will be added to the blacklist, which means your email won’t be able to reach the inbox of your recipients. 

You will be labeled as a ‘spammer’ and be blocked from sending emails through your usual domains. 

And since your domains will be blocked, it definitely happens when your IP reputation is affected very badly. 

Types of Email Bounce 

There are two types of email bounces : 

  • Soft Bounce 
  • Hard Bounce 

If you are hearing these categorizations of emails for the first time, here is how you would explain them. 

Soft Bounce 

The soft bounce or soft bounce back of your emails is not as serious as the hard bounce. The reason why your emails get bounced isn’t permanent with a soft bounce. 

This means your email is bounced just temporarily and probably for reasons which are not in your control. 

Simply put, your emails don’t have any problems and are also it doesn’t associate with email authentication at all. 

Even chances are your recipients are going to get your emails after a time, and it is just on in transit or holds for some temporary reason. 

Some examples of Soft Bounce emails are : 

  • The recipient has a full inbox. 
  • Email client server down or offline
  • Auto-reply 
  • Out-of-office status 

Hard Bounce 

Hard Bounce is how you identify what the real bounce is. It is definitely serious, way more than a soft bounce. 

Hard bounce states that there is a problem with your email deliverability, and it can be due to many reasons. 

The reasons behind the hard bounce are dominantly your mistakes or shortcomings in authentication, verification, or credibility of your sender’s reputation. 

It also states that your email is simply not delivered. You have to do some real work to prevent or correct a hard bounce. 

Why Do Your Emails Bounce Back? 

reasons why your emails bounce back

You have to explore the reasons why your emails are bouncing back so you can fix them from the roots of the cause. 

There can be multiple reasons why emails get bounced back, but yet there are some prominent ones that you can optimize or control. 

Your Recipient Email Address Do Not Exist

This is one of the prominent reasons for your emails getting bounced back. A lot of times, you cannot get through to the recipient’s email address because your email can’t find it. 

Well, this happens for two major reasons. The first is that the email address you’re sending emails to doesn’t exist at all. 

So, it means you might have entered the wrong email address, and another one is it could be misspelled or discontinued by the recipient only. 

Misspelled email addresses happen a lot of times. When you send an email to an invalid email address, you will receive an auto-reply message stating that the email is not found. 

If you’re sure about the spelling of the email address, you need to make sure it is a valid email address. 

The errors, however, are quite minor to notice, they can be typos, spaces, or interchangeable letters, and even a full stop right after the email was mistakenly added. 

Make sure the structure of the email address is intact such as this : 

[email protected]  

Now the first part is the local part which is usually the name or username of the recipients; then there is @, followed by the 

The Inbox Of Your Recipients Is Full 

This is another known reason which usually gets overlooked, but if you don’t see any problem with your email spelling and it is a valid email address, then this can be the reason. 

If your sent email to your recipients is marked “undelivered,” it can mean that your recipient’s inbox is full. 

Every email user gets a certain storage capacity, and when it gets full, they become unable to receive more emails from their senders. 

However, this is a case of a soft bounce. You can count this as a temporary issue. Your recipient might get his or her inbox cleared after some days or at any time. 

And when they again have enough stores, you will be able to send them emails. 

When you send an email and it doesn’t get delivered due to their inbox being full, you tend to get this auto-reply message informing the same. 

Your Recipient Email Account Is Temporarily Suspended 

This doesn’t only establish one of the reasons for the bounce-back of your emails but also clearly states that subscribers need to be cut off from the email list. 

When your subscriber is not signed in to their email account for more than 365 days, that is a year; then their account gets temporarily suspended. 

Or it also happens when their server detects some kind of suspicious activity going on through that email address. 

However, they will be locked out from their accounts temporarily but since they didn’t open it for a year or doing some suspicious activity, they are certainly not going to come back. 

Your Recipient Set Up an Auto-Reply or Out of Office 

At some point in time, you will receive an automated message from your recipients saying they’re out of the office or OOO’ when you send them an email. 

This is a common cause of a soft bounce back. In this case, you still will be able to reach them after a time, as they are only temporarily unavailable. 

A lot of professionals set up auto-reply messages informing the email sender that they are not available currently and will be available after a certain date or expected time around. 

So if you get the same, you can at least know this is not a hard bounce back; the message will be delivered as they come back. 

Have a look at the Out-Of-Office Email Examples.

Your Recipients Blocked Your Email 

Another reason for the bounce-back of your email can be blocked emails. It is also a common reason for email bounce back. 

This usually tends to happen with organizations like reputed government institutions, schools or etc., where their servers are more strict in their policy of incoming emails. 

They do not want to get unrelated marketing emails and want to be particular about who they contact through their official email address. 

So when you email them, instead of a deliverability message, you will get an auto-reply stating that your recipient has blocked your message or your message sent is blocked. 

They also could be doing it to prevent spamming and getting too many unsolicited emails and fraud emails. 

You Have Sent A Over-Sized Message

This usually happens very rarely, but it can be one of the reasons for the email bouncing back. 

Some inboxes or email clients have sensitive filters that do not allow all messages not entered into their inbox with higher than a set size limit. 

This is also why it is not recommended to attach any files or images to the email. Apart from that, you have to make sure you are not overloading your email with GIFs and images. 

Highly Effective Tips To Reduce Email Bounce Rate 

ways to lower your email bounce rate

Make Sure Your Establish A Permission-based Email Marketing Campaign

The permission-based email marketing campaign is also known as opt-in email marketing. 

This type of email marketing is basically about sending emails to only those users who confirm their subscription with you. 

The subscribers need to allow you to send them emails based on the promise on which you ask for their email addresses in the sign-up form. 

Opt-in email marketing reduces the chances of your email getting bounced dramatically, to begin with. 

Email bounces because the subscriber probably does not want your emails in their inbox or you haven’t taken their permission, so they know you enough to even open it. 

When you ask for permission for your emails to your potential subscribers, they tend to know you and also have expectations. 

They remember you or have some idea and experience of communicating with you. They may remember you on the basis of a lead magnet. 

So chances are they might recognize you or at least bother to click on the emails you send them since they recognize the sender’s name or brand. 

Prefer Double Opt-In Email Marketing 

Since permission-based email marketing is essential to reduce bounce rates, preventing the chances of getting your emails ignored right away. 

Double opt-in email marketing is just reassuring that the users confirm and they want your emails or newsletters badly enough. 

When you run a Double opt-in email signup form, the subscriber has to confirm twice, first when they actually enter their email address and click for ‘subscribe’ and again through clicking on the confirmation link in their email inbox. 

Double opt-in email marketing also makes your brand more recognizable, which encourages more email opens. 

Have a look at the Double Opt-In Email Examples.

Conduct Email Verification Of Your Email List 

You have to consistently check the authentication of your email contacts. This is especially when you are about to start an email marketing campaign. 

However, regular email verification of your email list is also recommended to keep your mailing list healthy.  

A healthy email list has higher chances of email deliverability which also increases the chances of open rates. 

In this way, your email campaigns will be more accurate to study and analyze and use the statistics and data further to improve it. 

Invalid emails can disbalance this equation. It also helps you to be away from the spam folder and, more prominently, drops in the inbox of the user’s emails. 

How Do You Verify Your Email List? 

You can verify the emails by either checking one single file at a time, which only should be the case when you have a double on a particular email address. 

Then there is an option to check your entire emailing list of subscribers and verify to find out if there are some invalid email addresses. 

For verifying the email list, you can use an email marketing tool or platform on which you are running your campaign. 

There are other online free tools or platforms also to specifically check single or multiple email lists. 

Never Use Your First Email Campaign To Clean Your Email List 

What you have to understand is that your email service provider doesn’t act as a list cleaner, and you shouldn’t use it like one. 

Some businesses use their first email campaign to see what works and what doesn’t. They use it as the test case to see which are inactive subscribers and a way to clean the email list. 

But when you send emails constantly to an email list that is not up to the mark, to begin with, it has some serious ramifications on your sender’s reputation. 

Sending so many emails regularly to a list that is not converting well enough endangers your sender’s reputation. 

It is always better to first verify your list professionally or through email marketing tools; otherwise, bad email list testing in your first campaign can make your overall email marketing effort ineffective. 

Authenticate Your Emails Through Different Email Technical Standards 

One of the most prominent and credible ways to prevent or reduce email bounce rates is to authenticate them. 

Now, verification is sort of the first level of email authentication, but for further process, you have to use the technical standards. 

You have to sign emails with Domain Key Identified Mail (DKIM) which adds credibility to your email. 

This not just improves deliverability but also increases the chances of your email landing in the inbox rather than spam folders. 

Another technical standard called Sender Policy Framework (SPF) also allows marketers to assure email clients or authenticators that they are genuine senders. 

There is always a ‘Service Setting’ in your email tool or platform where you can generate email authentication. 

Be Consistent With Your Emails 

Consistency plays a major role in the credibility or authenticity of emails. 

A good email marketing campaign that provides value to its subscribers is about consistently dropping emails when they expect high-value content. 

This is why if you send emails untimely or randomly through weeks or days, it will create red flags for email clients or even subscribers. 

To begin with, it doesn’t look professional or serious at all. 

You have to make sure you’re using email scheduling, automation, and segmentation techniques to deliver emails regularly. 

This increases your chances of being opened, and when more and more people open your emails and engage with them, it will signal to the email clients that you’re a genuine sender.

Don’t Use A Free Domain For Emailing  

This is another common mistake made by newbie business owners as they often use free domains to send their promotional content. 

These email clients include Gmail and Yahoo, so this means your emails shouldn’t be like [email protected] or [email protected] or anything like this. 

Make sure you get an email address from a custom domain, as these are not authenticated through multiple email standards such as DMARC, SPF, and DKIM. 

Run Re-Engagement Campaigns 

There will always be a list of subscribers in your email list who will respond far less than others. In fact, they won’t even open your emails. 

This can not just impact your email open rate and conversion rate but also reduce the engagement with your customers and boost your bounce rates to the roof. 

In fact, bounce rates pretty much come from these emails, which are consistently not opened or don’t land in the inbox. 

What you need to do is run a re-engagement email campaign that will feature custom email content and design primarily to re-engage with inactive or less active subscribers. 

This is your chance to shift these inactive users to active ones cutting the bounce rates right off the bat. 

You have to aim for all those subscribers that have gone cold for a while and try to reignite them with all you got. 

Here you have to use all the tricks in the book, such as offering them some exclusive fat discount on your product or providing some free content to get their attention. 

Never Exceed Your Daily Email Sending Limit 

Every email server has some limitations about how many emails you can send per day to your subscribers. 

So if you are sending more than how much you have been allocated by your email client and increasing your quota, your emails will start getting bounced. 

And bounded emails only going to raise suspicion about you and your sender’s reputation. And that happens too many times; it can also hamper your IP reputation. 

Remove Inactive Subscribers Time To Time 

Well, you already see how re-engaging with inactive subscribers can reduce the bounce rates dramatically. 

But then there are still some inactive users who won’t engage even after the re-engagement campaigns. 

They might be gone for good, and when you have no other option and no other tricks up to your sleeve to get them back, you need to cut them off from the list. 

Since they are not responding by any means, simply stating that they are not interested in your product or even in your content, hence it is better to remove them. 

This can help your email campaign get back on track with boosted open rates and high deliverability, and more engagement. 

Monitor Your Email Bounce Rate 

Email marketing campaigns or platforms have extensive and detailed monitoring and analyzing systems to track and record the campaign performance. 

So you have to be vigil, especially more towards the email bounce rates through multiple email campaigns. 

See how and what causes the email bounce rates and how it is responding when other factors in your campaign change. 

This will help you to optimize your email bounce rates to respect other performance metrics of email campaigns, such as deliverability rates, open rates, engagement, and conversion. 

The moment you see a spike in your bounce rates, if you’re monitoring, you would know, and you can investigate right away and control it by making necessary changes.

Make Your Emails Personalized 

Personalized emails are exactly the opposite of spam emails. 

So one of the best things you can do to not just reduce your bounce rate but also increase your open rates is to make your emails personalized. 

Personalized emails tend to get past the spam filters, and spam traps easily as they are usually more opened and engaged. 

It increases your sender reputation and establishes you as a recognized and authentic sender in the eyes of ISPs and ESPs. 

More engagement will boost your IP reputation, so it will reduce the chances of your emails landing in the spam folders, naturally reducing the bounce rate. 

Avoid Being Spammy 

Spam emails are the real culprit of the email marketing industry as they are a debrief of poor email marketing strategies. 

It impacts the psyche of an average prospect as when they tend to get too many spam emails from time to time, they become suspicious and ignorant of marketing emails at. 

This makes reaching out to prospects for genuine senders and marketers extremely hard. 

You have to avoid all kinds of factors and reasons that hint you are being spammy. 

There are like 55% of all emails sent across the web are considered to be not spam and are legitimate content. 

So you have to cut through all the spam emails that your recipients are habitual to get. 

This is why you need to focus more on sending emails that are extremely valuable and helpful for prospects to drive their attention through content. 

Also, in this way, you need to avoid spam filters and spam traps because any tiny mistake can put you in the spam folder. 

This is actually the primary reason for getting high bounce rates because a lot of emails make mistakes that make them potentially spam or suspicious. 

Send High-Quality Marketing Emails Only 

You have to live up to your reputation by building it as being a genuine sender focused on building an audience through high-quality content. 

So even if you are emailing the marketing content or somewhat blended, you need to make sure it is high-quality and adheres to all the standards. 

Even if you follow all the rules of email deliverability and prevent yourself from a high bounce rate, to begin with, but your content is not up to the market, you will eventually get there. 

High-quality marketing emails aren’t a gimmick but a consistent practice and a promise to your subscribers. 

When you will be providing the utmost value, it will be almost impossible to get a bad sender reputation, as people will be engaging with your emails.  

As the engagement goes up, the open rates, conversion rates, and all get better and taken care of. 

So just focusing on the content you offer and the approach you take, you can resolve most of your problems related to email deliverability. 

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