In the digital marketing industry, if an e-mail is said to have ‘bounced’ there’s a problem with it being delivered. Bounces are categorised as ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ bounces. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what each of these means and what the implications of a hard bounce are.
What is a ‘soft bounce’?
If you see that you have an exceptionally high soft bounce rate for a particular e-mail campaign, this means that the e-mail client which you use (for example MailChimp, Constant Contact or something similar) is not able to deliver a certain number of the e-mails.
This can be due to:
- The recipient’s mailbox being full,
- The e-mail message that you’re trying to send the recipient being too big for their e-mail servers to accept, and/or
- The recipient’s e-mail server being down so that it can’t receive the message that you’re trying to send it.
Although a soft bounce is not something that you need to be too worried about, you need to keep an eye on this rate in addition to which e-mail addresses are soft bouncing. This is because if a particular e-mail address soft bounces seven times, the e-mail client will re-classify this as a hard bounce. This means that you need to correct the temporary inability to deliver mail before this problem becomes more serious.
What is a ‘hard bounce?
A hard bounce refers to a permanent inability to deliver mail to a specific address. Reasons for such a bounce include:
- The recipient’s e-mail address no longer is no longer in existence. This most commonly happens when a person leaves the company.
- If the domain name is no longer in existence the e-mail will be classified as a hard bounce. The most common cause of this is if a company closes down which means that the domain name becomes defunct or if the domain holder no longer wishes to keep the domain.
• A hard bounce can also occur if the recipient e-mail server blocks the sending e-mail server entirely. This will happen if the e-mail is constantly flagged as spam