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Email Bounces Types and How to Deal With Them
6 min read

Email Bounces Types and How to Deal With Them

Email Bounces Types and How to Deal With Them

One thing that every marketer will be able to admire about digital marketing is the increased transparency regarding spending, results, and the impact of each particular tactic in the overall strategy as well as their impact in terms of revenue, new business, or other KPIs that we track. In this context, it is critical that we clearly understand what each metric that we are reporting on means, while also making an effort to identify solutions and develop improvement plans whenever the situation calls for it.

Email marketing metrics

In the email marketing space, we are dealing with two main types of metrics, categorized based on engagement. First of all, we have engagement metrics, where we would include open and click rates. Secondly, we are talking about disengagement metrics, unsubscriptions, bounces, and complaints. Open rates and click rates in email marketing can precisely point out how many users have opened an email and how many have clicked a link within the email.  The most important thing about these metrics is the fact they indicate how successful a campaign is and how well it has anticipated interest for subscribers.

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Unsubscriptions are pretty straightforward, as we are talking about the number of users who have chosen to stop receiving emails from a particular sender, opting out from an email list. Now, bouncing emails can happen for a variety of reasons. Most often, this is a symptom of a poorly built email list, where email addresses that are not valid anymore have been entered, or even worse, have been purchased. As for complaints, they are easy to grasp as well. The important thing to remember about complaints is that they are a symptom of the quality of the email reputation and it suggests that the sender is not following regulations, best practices or continues to send emails to unsubscribed users. Users that have received a specific email will mark it as spam, an action that will count as a spam complaint.

All in all, you can probably deduce that metrics can relate to any number of KPIs. This represents a major challenge for marketers, as we will need to determine which metrics would be most important for our business, goals, or current context. As marketing and advertising have become more sophisticated over time and more companies have invested in these functions, the means to measure the effectiveness of digital marketing spending is a need that has also increased the field’s accountability. Marketing departments are now expected to prove that their campaigns are working and provide a return on investment (ROI). The question that arises from this assessment is what are the metrics that negatively impact the outcome of email marketing campaigns and what can marketers do about them. Let’s analyze both aspects and see what kind of solutions we can identify.

Types of email bounces

When it comes to bouncing emails, we have to take into account the two main types of bounces: soft bounces and hard bounces. A soft bounce is caused by a temporary error and the email is, in fact, reachable but due to a server error or other issue, it needs to be resent at a later time. This type of bounce is also known as a “recoverable” bounce and you should make sure to understand the problem that has caused it and take mitigating actions to fix it as soon as possible. A hard bounce is a permanent error and the email is not reachable, as it has been flagged as an invalid one. This type of bounce is also known as a “non-recoverable” bounce and you should not attempt any further communication with this contact.

There are many potential causes of email bounces. Some of them might imply that the marketer has acquired the list through less clear practices. One thing that we, at DataValidation, have tried to underline is the fact that you should never, under any circumstances, purchase email lists. It might seem like a simple solution to growing your email list, but emailing contacts that have not opted in is not only illegal in most countries, it will also drag the performance of your email campaigns down. There are very few things that can get you in trouble with your email service provider as using purchased email lists.

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Another thing that can explain email bounces is not verifying the quality of an email list periodically. Email verification solutions, such as the one provided by DataValidation, are here to help you identify deprecated email addresses. Using a simple and easy-to-understand system of grades, DataValidation can precisely point out contacts in an email list that need to be removed before deploying a new campaign to protect your sender reputation and maintain or improve your email deliverability. When you register for a new account you get 200 free verifications but you also receive a free quality report for each email list imported or uploaded in our app, so you can always know when your list needs cleaning.

How to fix email bounces

First of all, make sure you follow the two points we have already discussed. Never purchase email lists and make a habit of verifying the quality of your lists periodically, at least once every quarter. Otherwise, one of the best measures that you can implement in order to reduce the number and impact of email bounces is to diversify the channels you use to build your email list. You may collect email addresses through several channels, such as a blog, Facebook, registration forms on your website, via an app, or through newsletter signups. The key is to ensure that you do not depend on a single channel for growing your email list. If one channel performs poorly, your entire process is compromised, but with a diversified approach, when one channel delivers unreliable email addresses, such as false or temporary emails, you know that you can still rely on the other to bring in consistent and reliable results.

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Furthermore, you should implement a double opt-in system for adding new contacts to your list. This will ensure that only real email addresses will get through. Double opt-in is a good strategy if your inbound marketing efforts are generating email addresses that bounce. Another approach you can try is creating segments from your overall email list and remove soft bounces before they become a more serious problem for your email marketing campaigns.

Regardless of the measures you put in place, email bounces are a normal occurrence and you shouldn’t stress about it as long as you treat them seriously and act fast to address any issues that arise from them.