What's a "bounced email"?

A bounce is a known issue when an email cannot be sent to a contact. For example when emails are sent to and invalid email address or if there's a network error or emails are rejected by a spam filter. Since a bounce is a known issue it can be reported on.

Bounce management is automated

  • ‚ÄčBounced emails are automatically excluded from future e-blasts as it's best practice not to keep sending to known invalid emails. You don't need to manually remove or exclude these contacts.
  • Bounced emails are not deleted from the database so you have a record of them. Deleting would also mean skewed and inaccurate reports.
  • Bounced emails don't count towards the number of active contacts so you're not paying for these contacts: The monthly subscription fee is based on active contacts only and since emails aren't sent to these contacts they don't use credits if you are on the pay as you go billing plan.

Bounce vs. spam

Spam filtering happens on two levels. The first round of spam filtering is performed by email servers. Emails rejected by mail servers are considered bounces.

If an email passes the mail server's spam check - and other checks to ensure the email is valid in the first place - then the email is considered delivered. At this point a second round of spam filtering takes place by the recipient's email program. This determines if emails are placed in the inbox or in the spam folder. If the email is placed in the spam folder at this point it is not considered a bounce. Also, since this happens after the email is delivered there is no way to report on it.

Impact on your account

High bounce rates can create deliverability issues as too many bounces are an indication of poor list quality or sending unsolicited emails.

Bounces are not the same as consent

Bounces are a technical issue, not the same as consent status, which is managed by contacts indicating their opt-in status. For example a contact can have express consent and bounce at the same time.

Types of bounces

There are two types of bounces: A hard bounce indicates a serious issue that is unlikely to be resolved, for example an invalid email. A soft bounce is less serious and often temporary. Examples of soft bounces are: mailbox full or server down.

Tracking bounces

Bounces are tracked for each individual contact record for email campaign you send.

A fail score is maintained for each contact record in your account. Fail scores start at zero for each new contact that's added to your list and they are increased when bounces occur: fail scores are increased by one for soft bounces or more than one for hard bounces. When a contact's fail score reaches a threshold it will automatically be marked as an invalid email.

Reporting on bounced contacts

The database overview page shows how many contacts are marked "invalid" due to too many bounces.

For each contact the following metrics are available related to bounces:

Fail score: A numerical value, starting at 0. It's increased with each bounce.

Failures: Shows how many times an email bounced.

Send email: A yes/no marker that determines if an email is in good standing. If a contact's "send email" field is set to "no" you cannot send emails to that contact.

Resetting the fail score

You can reset the fail score of a single contact from the contact details page using the "Reset" link. Fail scores cannot be reset in bulk.


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