Your message was not delivered. This is a vexing statement that no one needs to hear. It’s a direct indicator that something went terribly wrong in your email marketing.
Email bounces (which account for a portion of overall delivery) occur when an email is made undeliverable in any manner. When this occurs, you will typically receive an auto-reply to your message explaining why it was undelivered in your email marketing platform. Without going into deeper technical aspects, your emails often bounce due to two reasons. They are either hard bounces and soft bounces.
Hard bounces are addresses that have been immediately denied. A hard bounce could occur because the recipient’s address or the domain no longer exists. Hard bounced emails are marked on both the mailing list and the email unsubscribes list. Many email marketing platforms will do this automatically to prevent you from sending to those addresses again with the next blast. As a result, it guarantees that the deliverability and IP integrity are not jeopardized by repeated sends to addresses that no longer exist.
Soft bounces are addresses that were refused because of a temporary problem, such as a recipient’s mailbox being full or an out-of-office reply. These causes are not flagged because they are temporary. You will likely be able to contact that person safely at a later time. However, if five successive failed attempts to send to a previously soft bounced email address are made, the email address will be marked as hard bounced. This is done to protect your email deliverability and IP integrity from being harmed by frequent sends to inactive email addresses.
That’s the short of it.
Hard bounces = permanent delivery failures.
Soft bounces = temporary deliverability failures.
Although the two terms are different, they can both equally damage your marketing efforts.
Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce
A soft bounce is an email delivery failure that occurs temporarily, such as when a recipient’s inbox is full or the email server is down. A hard bounce is an email delivery failure that occurs permanently, such as when the recipient’s email address is invalid or the email is blocked by the recipient’s email server.
How Email Bounces Hurt Your Marketing
Email bounces and spam reports will harm the overall marketing performance in a variety of ways. At the end of the day, whether it’s a hard bounce or a soft bounce, it’s always a bad sign. Here’s how email bounces and high bounce rates affect various aspects of marketing activities.
Email Service Provider (ESP) Will Put You on Temporary Block List
Email service providers, such as Google, each have their own set of rules for limiting bounce rates to avoid spam. When the bounce rates are consistently high, an ESP will suspend your email address to stop future messages from being delivered. In addition to the immediate termination of one sending address, the integrity of your company’s email domain can be harmed by organizations that control it. All of this makes it difficult for you to meet your target customers via your email marketing platform.
High bounce rates indicate the possibility of bad email sending activities to an ESP. That may be true in some cases because not everybody is aware of or employs email best practices. Other reasons may be technical problems on the backend between email marketing systems and ESPs, or the email list had incorrect details.
Whatever the true reason for your organization, when high bounce rates continue to happen ESPs will perceive it as something along these lines, “Hey! This sender over here does not seem to care about how old or how inaccurate their list is! What else do they not care about? Relevant and helpful content? Maybe. Being CAN-SPAM compliant? Maybe that, too.”
The good news is that your emailing tools such as HubSpot, Pardot, etc. have filtering mechanisms to keep this from happening. If your email tool starts seeing too many bounces, it will instantly stop you from sending any future messages to protect your email deliverability. If the action is egregious enough, they may put you on a temporary block list meaning you can’t send to the particular list that had high bounce rates.
Negative Impact on Domain Reputation
A low sender credibility score can be caused by several reasons. If recipients often flag your messages as spam, your reputation will suffer. The same thing would happen if your open rates are too low or your bounce rates are too high.
This can happen when a company tries to save money by renting or purchasing an existing email list without reviewing it. However, it may also happen as a result of data decay. For a multitude of causes, email addresses naturally “go bad,” and sending so many emails to these “bad” or null addresses results in a high bounce rate.
For instance, if a subscriber to your email list signs up with a work address, the address can no longer be valid if they change jobs. Any emails sent to that address will bounce, causing your email credibility to suffer. Low credibility will result in your emails going straight to spam or junk folders instead of the inbox.
Impact On Your SEO Efforts
While SEO is not directly related to email marketing, it is impacted by domain reputation. Sending emails to recipients who are not responding or unengaged can lead to increased spam reports. Why they’re unengaged is largely related to what you’re sending. If a recipient doesn’t find it relevant, they can unsubscribe from your list, continue to ignore you leading to soft and eventual hard bounces, or simply ‘mark as spam.’
Spamming reports and practices will affect your sender score. It also harms your domain authority and ultimately affects your SEO performance (or Search Engine Ranking).
Google checks incoming email for spam signals and receives spam reports from users via Gmail. When Google detects spam email, it will examine the message to decide which vendors (or companies) are involved. Vendor-specific information is obtained by analyzing who sent the email and what links it contains.
Google will then use this information to create a confidence ranking for each provider. This confidence rating can then be added to the vendor’s web presence, which Google can either support or demote in its search engine rankings based on the situation.
Ensuring Higher Email Deliverability
Businesses tend to collaborate with data partners that have human-verified data for high-conversion email outreach initiatives. Hiring a trustworthy B2B data partner or using a trustworthy data portal has enabled companies to concentrate on maximizing the efficacy of their email campaigns.
SalesIntel not only ensures high email deliverability but also provides the required human-verified data points, such as firmographic and technological data. This helps you segment prospects and use customized messaging while cold emailing to increase engagement and open rates. To prevent data decay we re-verify our data every 90 days so you can use only up-to-date data while executing your email campaigns to avoid emails bouncing.