What is the difference between a soft bounce and a hard bounce?

Thomas founder at Enrow

Thomas

July 6, 2023

3 min read

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

TABLE OF CONTENTS

When we start an email marketing or cold emailing campaign, we often try to improve our performance indicators (KPIs). As a result, we quickly become aware of the critical indicators, among them the bounce.

There is a widespread belief that a bounce will negatively impact the deliverability of a campaign and can penalize your domain in the long run.

This is simultaneously true and false.

If you have bounced on your campaigns, I will explain as simply as possible how to avoid them and what to do in case of a too-high bounce rate.

What is a bounce in emailing?

A bounce is an email sent to a recipient whose email has a technical problem or does not exist.

When an email bounces, the recipient's email service returns an email telling you that the email could not be delivered.

consequence of an email hard bounce

The bounce is one of the points of attention to regularly monitor in its campaigns — a high bounce rate will cause your emails to land in the spam folder instead of the recipient's primary mailbox.

You can use a free Spam Check tool to determine if your email address has good deliverability.

What are the reasons for a bounce in emailing?

There are two types of bounces, soft and hard; in the first case, it does not impact your deliverability. In the second case, you increase your chances of getting spam if you have too many bounces.

The soft bounce is a temporary rejection of the reception of an email by the recipient's inbox. For example, a soft bounce happens when your recipient's inbox is too full, the recipient's email server has a problem, or the message is too large.

Good news! The email exists and is valid. You can try again later.

A hard bounce is a definite refusal of an email receipt by the recipient's inbox. A hard bounce occurs when there is a syntax error in the email (e.g., thoma@enrow.io instead of thomas@enrow.io), a syntax error in the domain (e.g., @enraw.so instead of @enrow.io), the address no longer exists or your email is blocked by the recipient because of a spam report.

How to avoid bounces?

We advise our clients to implement different actions depending on their use of the email channel.

If you do email marketing (newsletters, promotional emails, etc.):

  • Set up the double opt-in; when a person gives you his email, he is invited to click on a link sent by email. This way, you avoid fake emails.

  • Avoid messages that are too large, such as those containing many images.

  • Regularly check your email lists with email verification tools (like Neverbounce or Debounce)

If you do cold emailing (commercial prospecting by email):

  • Avoid scrapping and enriching your contacts too far in advance of the launch of your sequence; this will prevent you from changing positions.

  • Prefer image links to classic images and avoid attachments.

  • Use a Cold Emailing tool like Emelia that groups all user bounces in a maxi-list and will automatically remove them from your campaigns if they detect an email that has already bounced in another client's campaign.

What is the ideal bounce rate not to exceed in an email campaign?

An acceptable bounce rate is between 3% and 6%, and an anormally high bounce rate is between 10% and 12% — thus, exceeding 6% increases your chances of ending up in spam.

What should I do if I already have too many bounces?

  • If you have too many bounces in a campaign, pause it and recheck your list with an email verifier.

  • If your list is clean, do you have the proper certificates, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? If you still need to set up these certificates, here is a step-by-step installation tutorial.

  • If your list is clean and your certificates are up to date, maybe you have been declared spam by several recipients, don't panic; you need a warmup tool. With Mailreach, you will get out of the spam lists in a few weeks, depending on the status of your domain.

  • Remove the catch-all emails from your campaigns and add them little by little in your campaigns when your domain score is high enough.

When we start an email marketing or cold emailing campaign, we often try to improve our performance indicators (KPIs). As a result, we quickly become aware of the critical indicators, among them the bounce.

There is a widespread belief that a bounce will negatively impact the deliverability of a campaign and can penalize your domain in the long run.

This is simultaneously true and false.

If you have bounced on your campaigns, I will explain as simply as possible how to avoid them and what to do in case of a too-high bounce rate.

What is a bounce in emailing?

A bounce is an email sent to a recipient whose email has a technical problem or does not exist.

When an email bounces, the recipient's email service returns an email telling you that the email could not be delivered.

consequence of an email hard bounce

The bounce is one of the points of attention to regularly monitor in its campaigns — a high bounce rate will cause your emails to land in the spam folder instead of the recipient's primary mailbox.

You can use a free Spam Check tool to determine if your email address has good deliverability.

What are the reasons for a bounce in emailing?

There are two types of bounces, soft and hard; in the first case, it does not impact your deliverability. In the second case, you increase your chances of getting spam if you have too many bounces.

The soft bounce is a temporary rejection of the reception of an email by the recipient's inbox. For example, a soft bounce happens when your recipient's inbox is too full, the recipient's email server has a problem, or the message is too large.

Good news! The email exists and is valid. You can try again later.

A hard bounce is a definite refusal of an email receipt by the recipient's inbox. A hard bounce occurs when there is a syntax error in the email (e.g., thoma@enrow.io instead of thomas@enrow.io), a syntax error in the domain (e.g., @enraw.so instead of @enrow.io), the address no longer exists or your email is blocked by the recipient because of a spam report.

How to avoid bounces?

We advise our clients to implement different actions depending on their use of the email channel.

If you do email marketing (newsletters, promotional emails, etc.):

  • Set up the double opt-in; when a person gives you his email, he is invited to click on a link sent by email. This way, you avoid fake emails.

  • Avoid messages that are too large, such as those containing many images.

  • Regularly check your email lists with email verification tools (like Neverbounce or Debounce)

If you do cold emailing (commercial prospecting by email):

  • Avoid scrapping and enriching your contacts too far in advance of the launch of your sequence; this will prevent you from changing positions.

  • Prefer image links to classic images and avoid attachments.

  • Use a Cold Emailing tool like Emelia that groups all user bounces in a maxi-list and will automatically remove them from your campaigns if they detect an email that has already bounced in another client's campaign.

What is the ideal bounce rate not to exceed in an email campaign?

An acceptable bounce rate is between 3% and 6%, and an anormally high bounce rate is between 10% and 12% — thus, exceeding 6% increases your chances of ending up in spam.

What should I do if I already have too many bounces?

  • If you have too many bounces in a campaign, pause it and recheck your list with an email verifier.

  • If your list is clean, do you have the proper certificates, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? If you still need to set up these certificates, here is a step-by-step installation tutorial.

  • If your list is clean and your certificates are up to date, maybe you have been declared spam by several recipients, don't panic; you need a warmup tool. With Mailreach, you will get out of the spam lists in a few weeks, depending on the status of your domain.

  • Remove the catch-all emails from your campaigns and add them little by little in your campaigns when your domain score is high enough.

When we start an email marketing or cold emailing campaign, we often try to improve our performance indicators (KPIs). As a result, we quickly become aware of the critical indicators, among them the bounce.

There is a widespread belief that a bounce will negatively impact the deliverability of a campaign and can penalize your domain in the long run.

This is simultaneously true and false.

If you have bounced on your campaigns, I will explain as simply as possible how to avoid them and what to do in case of a too-high bounce rate.

What is a bounce in emailing?

A bounce is an email sent to a recipient whose email has a technical problem or does not exist.

When an email bounces, the recipient's email service returns an email telling you that the email could not be delivered.

consequence of an email hard bounce

The bounce is one of the points of attention to regularly monitor in its campaigns — a high bounce rate will cause your emails to land in the spam folder instead of the recipient's primary mailbox.

You can use a free Spam Check tool to determine if your email address has good deliverability.

What are the reasons for a bounce in emailing?

There are two types of bounces, soft and hard; in the first case, it does not impact your deliverability. In the second case, you increase your chances of getting spam if you have too many bounces.

The soft bounce is a temporary rejection of the reception of an email by the recipient's inbox. For example, a soft bounce happens when your recipient's inbox is too full, the recipient's email server has a problem, or the message is too large.

Good news! The email exists and is valid. You can try again later.

A hard bounce is a definite refusal of an email receipt by the recipient's inbox. A hard bounce occurs when there is a syntax error in the email (e.g., thoma@enrow.io instead of thomas@enrow.io), a syntax error in the domain (e.g., @enraw.so instead of @enrow.io), the address no longer exists or your email is blocked by the recipient because of a spam report.

How to avoid bounces?

We advise our clients to implement different actions depending on their use of the email channel.

If you do email marketing (newsletters, promotional emails, etc.):

  • Set up the double opt-in; when a person gives you his email, he is invited to click on a link sent by email. This way, you avoid fake emails.

  • Avoid messages that are too large, such as those containing many images.

  • Regularly check your email lists with email verification tools (like Neverbounce or Debounce)

If you do cold emailing (commercial prospecting by email):

  • Avoid scrapping and enriching your contacts too far in advance of the launch of your sequence; this will prevent you from changing positions.

  • Prefer image links to classic images and avoid attachments.

  • Use a Cold Emailing tool like Emelia that groups all user bounces in a maxi-list and will automatically remove them from your campaigns if they detect an email that has already bounced in another client's campaign.

What is the ideal bounce rate not to exceed in an email campaign?

An acceptable bounce rate is between 3% and 6%, and an anormally high bounce rate is between 10% and 12% — thus, exceeding 6% increases your chances of ending up in spam.

What should I do if I already have too many bounces?

  • If you have too many bounces in a campaign, pause it and recheck your list with an email verifier.

  • If your list is clean, do you have the proper certificates, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC? If you still need to set up these certificates, here is a step-by-step installation tutorial.

  • If your list is clean and your certificates are up to date, maybe you have been declared spam by several recipients, don't panic; you need a warmup tool. With Mailreach, you will get out of the spam lists in a few weeks, depending on the status of your domain.

  • Remove the catch-all emails from your campaigns and add them little by little in your campaigns when your domain score is high enough.

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