What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing

What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing


What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing: In email marketing, understanding the different types of bounces is crucial for maintaining a healthy sender reputation and ensuring successful delivery of your messages. One common type of bounce is known as a “soft bounce.” Unlike a hard bounce, which indicates a permanent delivery failure, a soft bounce signifies a temporary issue that prevented the email from reaching its intended recipient.

A soft bounce can occur for various reasons, such as a full mailbox, a temporary server issue, or a message that exceeds size limits. It can also happen if the recipient’s email server has strict filtering rules or if the email is flagged as spam. Soft bounces suggest that there is a chance for successful delivery if the issue is resolved or the email is retried.

Understanding and monitoring soft bounces is important because excessive bounces can negatively impact your sender reputation and deliverability rates. By identifying the underlying causes and taking appropriate actions, such as retrying the delivery, updating contact information, or optimizing your email content, you can minimize the occurrence of soft bounces and increase the chances of your emails reaching your intended audience effectively.

What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing

What is a soft bounce of an email?

In email marketing, a soft bounce is an email which is temporarily undeliverable, usually because of some problem on the recipient’s side. Soft bounces are measured in ecommerce email marketing campaigns, indicating addresses which are still usable but currently unavailable.

A soft bounce is a term used in email marketing to describe a temporary failure to deliver an email to the recipient’s inbox. Unlike a hard bounce, which indicates a permanent delivery failure, a soft bounce typically occurs due to temporary issues that prevent the email from being delivered successfully.

Some common reasons for a soft bounce include:

1. Temporary server issues: The recipient’s mail server may be experiencing temporary problems, such as being temporarily overloaded or undergoing maintenance.

2. Inbox full: The recipient’s email inbox may be full, preventing new emails from being delivered until space is freed up.

3. Message size limit exceeded: The email message may exceed the size limit set by the recipient’s mail server, resulting in a bounce.

4. Auto-reply or vacation responder: If the recipient has set up an auto-reply or vacation responder, the email may bounce back with a soft bounce notification.

5. Content filtering: The recipient’s email service provider or spam filter may flag the email as suspicious or spam-like, causing it to be temporarily rejected.

What are the different types of email bounces?

There are two types of email bounces — a soft bounce and a hard bounce. While one is temporary, the other is permanent.

Email bounces occur when an email fails to reach its intended recipient. There are two main types of email bounces:

1. Soft Bounce: A soft bounce is a temporary failure to deliver an email. It occurs when the email is rejected by the recipient’s mail server for reasons such as a full inbox, a temporary server issue, or a message that exceeds size limits. Soft bounces may also occur if the recipient’s email server has strict filtering rules or if the email is flagged as spam. In most cases, soft bounces can be retried and successfully delivered in subsequent attempts.

2. Hard Bounce: A hard bounce is a permanent failure to deliver an email. It occurs when the email is rejected by the recipient’s mail server due to reasons such as an invalid or non-existent email address, a blocked domain, or a recipient who has unsubscribed or marked previous emails as spam. Hard bounces indicate that the email address is no longer valid, and further attempts to deliver emails to that address are unlikely to be successful.

Monitoring and managing email bounces is important for maintaining a clean and engaged email list. It helps ensure that future email campaigns are delivered successfully and that efforts are focused on valid and active email addresses. By regularly reviewing bounce reports and removing hard bounced addresses from your list, you can maintain a healthy email deliverability rate and improve the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

Should I remove soft bounces from email list?

Another reason to regularly clean up your email list is to reduce bounces. Emails sometimes bounce, meaning they just don’t reach the intended recipient. This might be because the email address has been changed, the inbox is full, or there is a technical error.

Yes, it is generally recommended to remove soft bounces from your email list after a certain number of unsuccessful delivery attempts. While soft bounces indicate temporary issues that prevent email delivery, continuing to send emails to addresses that consistently soft bounce can negatively impact your email deliverability and sender reputation.

Here are a few reasons why removing soft bounces from your email list is important:

1. Maintain a healthy email list: Soft bounces can accumulate over time if the issues preventing delivery persist. By regularly removing soft bounces, you ensure that your email list remains up-to-date and consists of active and engaged recipients.

2. Improve email deliverability: Internet service providers (ISPs) and email service providers (ESPs) closely monitor bounce rates as a measure of sender reputation. A high bounce rate, even if it’s due to soft bounces, can signal poor list hygiene and may result in your emails being marked as spam or being filtered out by ISPs. By removing soft bounces, you improve your chances of reaching the recipients’ inboxes.

3. Focus on engaged recipients: Soft bounces may indicate that the recipient’s email address is no longer valid or that they are not actively engaging with their email. By removing soft bounces, you can focus your efforts on recipients who are more likely to receive and interact with your emails, leading to better engagement and conversion rates.

However, it’s important to establish a reasonable threshold for the number of soft bounces before considering removal. The specific number of attempts and time frame for removal may vary depending on your email service provider and industry best practices. It’s advisable to consult your email service provider’s guidelines or seek advice from email marketing experts to determine the appropriate approach for your specific situation.

What email bounce rate is good?

In general, 2% or less is accepted as a good email bounce rate benchmark. So, if you send 100 emails and have 2 or fewer bounces, you’re good. If your bounce rate is above 2%, then you should take some action to improve it.

A good email bounce rate depends on several factors, including the industry, target audience, and the type of email campaign being sent. Generally, a lower bounce rate is desirable as it indicates that a higher percentage of emails are reaching their intended recipients successfully. However, the acceptable bounce rate can vary based on the following guidelines:

1. For transactional emails: Since transactional emails, such as order confirmations or password resets, are typically sent to verified and active email addresses, a very low bounce rate (less than 1%) is ideal.

2. For marketing emails: Marketing emails often have a slightly higher bounce rate compared to transactional emails. In general, a bounce rate of 2-3% or lower is considered good for marketing campaigns. It indicates that the email list is well-maintained, and most emails are reaching the intended recipients.

How do I manage email bounces?

  • Reach out to the recipient a different way. You can reach out to the recipient through a different email address or phone call to better troubleshoot with them as to why your emails are bouncing. 
  • Clean up your bounced list.

Managing email bounces is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy email list and improving deliverability. Here are some key steps to effectively manage email bounces:

1. Understand bounce types: Bounces are typically classified into two types: hard bounces and soft bounces. Hard bounces indicate permanent delivery failures, such as an invalid or non-existent email address, while soft bounces signify temporary issues preventing email delivery. Understanding these distinctions helps you determine the appropriate actions to take.

2. Monitor bounce rates: Regularly monitor your bounce rates to identify any issues or trends. Most email service providers (ESPs) provide bounce reports that categorize and track bounce rates. Keep an eye on the overall bounce rate and the rates for individual campaigns or segments.

3. Classify and handle bounces: Analyze the bounce reports to classify bounces as hard or soft. For hard bounces, promptly remove the email addresses from your list since they are unlikely to ever receive your emails. Soft bounces can be managed differently based on the specific bounce reasons and the number of failed delivery attempts. Consider implementing a reasonable threshold for soft bounces before removing them from your list.

4. Update and clean your email list: Regularly update and clean your email list to remove bounced email addresses and ensure accuracy. Remove hard bounces immediately, and periodically review and remove soft bounces if the issues persist. Consider using an email verification service or employing double opt-in processes to prevent invalid or mistyped email addresses from entering your list.

5. Identify and address underlying issues: Pay attention to bounce patterns and common bounce reasons. If you notice a significant number of bounces due to specific email providers or domains, investigate and address any potential issues that may be causing the bounces, such as technical problems or content triggering spam filters.

What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing

How to fake bounce back email?

Bouncing an Existing Email

  • In Gmail, open the email you want to bounce.
  • Click the Block button.
  • Select the “Reply with…” option.
  • Make sure “Fake Bounce-Back” is selected in the dropdown that pops up.
  • Click “Send response”

Faking bounce back emails is not only unethical but also goes against the principles of responsible email marketing. It can harm your sender reputation, damage trust with your subscribers, and potentially violate anti-spam laws.

It’s essential to maintain transparency and integrity in your email marketing efforts. Instead of resorting to deceptive tactics, focus on building a high-quality email list, using confirmed opt-in methods, and regularly cleaning your list to remove invalid or inactive email addresses. By sending relevant and engaging content to a genuinely interested audience, you can improve deliverability, increase engagement, and build strong relationships with your subscribers.

What is double bounce email?

A double bounce is produced when the original sender of a message cannot be notified that the message was not delivered. The double_bounce_sender parameter specifies the sender address Postfix uses for mail that should be discarded if it cannot be delivered.

A double bounce email, also known as a “double bounce message,” refers to a notification or error message that is generated by the sender’s mail server when an email delivery attempt results in a bounce, and then the subsequent attempt to deliver the bounce notification itself also fails. In other words, it is a bounce message sent in response to a bounce message.

The occurrence of a double bounce can happen for several reasons:

1. Invalid bounce address: The bounce notification is sent to an invalid or non-existent email address, causing the delivery attempt to bounce again.

2. Mail server issues: The recipient’s mail server may be experiencing temporary or permanent issues, preventing the delivery of bounce notifications.

3. Filtering or blocking: The recipient’s mail server or spam filters may categorize the bounce notification as spam or unwanted, leading to its rejection or blocking.

4. Misconfiguration or routing problems: Technical issues or misconfigurations within the email infrastructure can cause the double bounce scenario.

Double bounces can be a sign of potential issues with the email delivery process, such as incorrect bounce settings, routing problems, or mail server limitations. They can also indicate challenges in receiving proper bounce notifications, making it difficult to manage and address delivery failures effectively.

Can a valid email bounce?

Emails sent to valid addresses can still bounce if the contact’s inbox is full, or the email server happens to be down when we try to send. When an email bounces, the receiving server sends a response to iContact saying that the email was undeliverable.

Yes, even valid email addresses can bounce. While valid email addresses typically have a lower chance of bouncing compared to invalid or inactive addresses, there are several reasons why a valid email may still bounce. Some common reasons include:

1. Temporary issues: The recipient’s mailbox may be full, the mail server may be experiencing temporary technical difficulties, or the email may exceed the recipient’s mailbox size limit. These issues can cause a temporary bounce, also known as a soft bounce.

2. Server-side filtering: The recipient’s email server may have strict filtering rules that flag certain emails as spam or apply other restrictions. If your email triggers these filters, it may result in a bounce even if the email address is valid.

3. Recipient-side filtering: The recipient’s email client or filtering software may have settings that automatically block or redirect certain emails, including legitimate ones. These filters can cause valid emails to bounce or be sent to the recipient’s spam folder.

4. Unsubscribes or complaints: If a recipient has actively unsubscribed from your email list or has marked your emails as spam in the past, subsequent emails sent to that address may bounce or be blocked.

What Is A Soft Bounce In Email Marketing


In email marketing, understanding the concept of a soft bounce is crucial for effectively managing email campaigns and maintaining a healthy sender reputation. A soft bounce refers to a temporary failure to deliver an email to the recipient’s inbox. Unlike a hard bounce, which indicates a permanent delivery failure, a soft bounce occurs due to temporary issues that prevent successful email delivery.

Soft bounces can result from various factors, including temporary server problems, a full recipient inbox, message size limits being exceeded, auto-reply or vacation responder settings, or content filtering. These issues are typically temporary in nature and may resolve themselves over time.

Managing soft bounces involves monitoring bounce rates, categorizing bounce types, and taking appropriate actions. While soft bounces are temporary, consistently sending emails to addresses that bounce can negatively impact email deliverability. It is advisable to set a reasonable threshold for soft bounces and remove them from your email list after multiple unsuccessful delivery attempts.