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Understanding Hard Bounces
Understanding Hard Bounces

Why delivery fails

Amanda Payne avatar
Written by Amanda Payne
Updated over a week ago

I want to demystify the Bounce Rate. It's one of the metrics on the tinyEmail Campaigns report page.

If you've been in the email marketing game for any length of time, you probably know jargon can sometimes have different meanings across the industry. So let me lay out what Bounce Rate means here at tinyEmail.

tinyEmail email delivery kpis

We show hard bounces

The Bounce Rate figure you see on the Campaigns report shows hard bounces. A hard bounce means a message sent to a particular address that could not be delivered now and likely won't be successful in future campaigns.

Usually, one of two factors causes a hard bounce:

  • The email address isn't real (e.g. someone mistyped their address in your form).

  • The receiver's email server prevented message delivery.

When tinyEmail records a hard bounce, we flag that email address on the back end. We don't remove the address from your audience, but we won't send any more messages to that address, even if it is in your campaign audience.

We can't show you email addresses with a hard bounce status, but we do display bounce stats on the Email Analytics page.

email hard bounces chart

Too many hard bounces?

Well, that's not good.

Here's a hard truth. tinyEmail monitors the bounce rate of every campaign. If your bounce rate is too high, we'll take action. We'll pause the campaign and freeze your account.

Sounds harsh, I know, but the reason is simple. A high bounce rate correlates with spam. And we hate spam.

If there are special circumstances, reach out to us. We'll listen, and if everything is on the up and up, we might restore your account.

Oh btw

There's another kind of bounce. A soft bounce is a failure caused by a temporary glitch somewhere in the delivery chain. That glitch is way beyond tinyEmail's control. The email message could not be delivered today, but in future campaigns, things might change.

There are lots of reasons for a soft bounce. Here are three.

  • The recipient's email box is full.

  • The recipient's email account has a file size limit, and your message is digitally too flabby.

  • The recipient's email client is down.

tinyEmail doesn't display soft bounces on the Campaigns report page. However, we do track the number of soft bounces caused by an inactive mailbox on the back end. If an email address records five soft bounces, we mark it as a hard bounce and don't send messages to that account anymore.

What's an acceptable email bounce rate?

Many industry watchers say 2% or less is an acceptable hard bounce rate. That rule of thumb depends, of course, on many factors.

If your bounce rate is consistently over 10%, I suggest you take a good look at your list. You could, for instance, clean your list by asking users to re-opt in. This would help focus the list on interested parties and identify inactive or inaccessible email addresses.

You might also consider hiring a company to inspect your list. For a fee, these companies claim they can check your list and flag bad email addresses.

I can't recommend any company here, but a simple search (keywords bulk email verification) will produce a list of options.

That's it.

Here's to fewer hard bounces!

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