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  • Jennifer Heppell

What is Email Bounce Rate and How to Reduce it?

Bounced emails can be a significant hurdle in email marketing, as they indicate that the intended recipient did not receive or engage with your content. This issue can be particularly damaging to the sender’s reputation, especially when high bounce rates are involved. 


However, managing your email bounce rate doesn’t have to be a daunting task. There are several steps you can take to enhance this metric and your overall email marketing strategy. While spam complaints can be a nightmare for marketers, high bounce rates can be equally problematic. But don’t worry, in our blog post, we’ll navigate you through the complexities of email bounce rates and offer valuable tips to keep them under control.


What is Email Bounce Rate?

The email bounce rate is a measure of the proportion of sent emails that fail to reach the recipient’s inbox, including their spam folder, and are returned to the sender as undeliverable. This failure of delivery can be either temporary or permanent. The bounce rate is calculated as the percentage of these undelivered emails out of the total number of emails sent.


There are two categories of bounces: soft bounce and hard bounce. Each type of bounce affects the bounce rate, and understanding the distinction between them is crucial.

A man standing looking at the bounce rate wall.

2 Types of Email Bounce

1. A hard bounce refers to an email that has been returned to the sender without being processed by the recipient’s email server. The common reasons for a hard bounce include:

  • Non-existent email address

  • Non-existent domain

  • The recipient’s email server has entirely blocked the delivery

2. A soft bounce, in the context of emailing, describes an email that has been returned to the sender after being accepted by the recipient’s mail server but not delivered. The typical reasons for a soft bounce include:

  • The recipient’s mailbox is full (over quota)

  • The recipient’s email server is down or offline

  • The email message is too large


What is an acceptable email bounce rate?

Email bounce rate measures the percentage of recipients who didn’t receive your message. When an email “bounces,” it means it didn’t reach its intended recipient. Lower bounce rates are better because they indicate that more of your emails are reaching their targets. Ideally, aim for a bounce rate between 2% and 3%. However, keep in mind that each industry has its own unique rate, so understanding your specific industry’s numbers is crucial.


When your bounce rate exceeds 5%, it’s cause for concern. High bounce rates signal email service providers that something’s wrong. They may redirect your emails to spam folders, even for users who typically engage with your messages. This negatively impacts engagement rates, click-through rates, and ultimately, your sales. Remember, every undelivered email affects your reputation. Put effort into reducing your bounce rate for better email deliverability.


How to Reduce your Email Bounce Rate?

  1. Maintain Clean Email List

  2. Don’t make your email look like spam

  3. Use Your Verified Own-Custom Domain

  4. Require a Double Opt-In


Maintain Clean Email List

Maintaining a healthy email list is crucial for successful marketing campaigns. Regularly updating your list ensures that you reach engaged subscribers and avoid bouncing emails. Rather than starting from scratch, focus on removing inactive users and validating your addresses. Use tools like ZeroBounce or Verifalia to keep your list accurate and maintain acceptable bounce rates.


Don’t make your email look like spam

To ensure your emails evade spam filters and reach your recipients' inboxes, it's crucial to avoid resembling spam in any way. Despite maintaining a clean email list, your messages might still bounce if they land in recipients' junk folders. With more than 60% of global emails being spam, email service providers are vigilant in filtering out unwanted messages. 


Additionally, beware of factors that trigger spam filters, such as using untrusted IP addresses or overwhelming recipients with too many links. Crafting emails with user experience in mind reduces the likelihood of them being flagged as spam and ensures optimal deliverability.


Use Your Verified Own-Custom Domain

Avoid free domain send-from addresses like Gmail or Hotmail. Using such addresses can cause your emails to fail DMARC checks, leading to automatic bounces or rejections by various receiving domains. Instead, opt for a send-from address at your business domain and authenticate it to enhance email deliverability and reduce bounce rates. 


Investing in a private or custom domain not only enhances professionalism but also signals legitimacy to receiving email servers, increasing the likelihood of your emails being delivered. Domain authentication further safeguards against unauthorised use of your domain, protecting subscribers from phishing scams and spammers. By steering clear of free webmail addresses, you improve your campaign's chances of bypassing spam filters and reaching the intended audience's inboxes.


Require a Double Opt-In

Requiring a double opt-in for new contacts stands as a reliable method to ensure accurate email addresses on sign-up forms. Unlike single opt-in processes, double opt-in mandates individuals to confirm their submitted email addresses, typically through an automated confirmation email. 


Double opt-in diminishes the risk of invalid or inactive email addresses, thereby enhancing campaign performance and metrics. Automation is recommended for managing double opt-ins efficiently, as it verifies email authenticity and contributes to maintaining healthy mail servers. 



Final Thought

The email bounce rate may often be underestimated, yet it holds significant importance as it directly impacts your email deliverability. While occasional bounces are inevitable, maintaining a low bounce rate and nurturing a healthy subscriber list are paramount for successful email marketing campaigns. Understanding your average bounce rate is crucial for optimising ROI and identifying delivery challenges. If your campaign's bounce rate isn't satisfactory, immediate action is necessary. 


Recognize that while some bounces are normal, persistent high rates may signal underlying issues with list quality or maintenance. Taking proactive measures to manage your list effectively and prevent excessive bounces is key to maximising email campaign success and fostering stronger audience engagement.


If you're struggling with high bounce rates in your email campaigns, you're in the right place. At Starchelle Communications, it's our specialty to assist small businesses like yours. Reach out to me today, and let's start tackling your email campaign challenges together.


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