If you use salesforce’s pardot or marketing cloud, you may be familiar with email bounces. We certainly hope that all of your emails end up in the inbox of the intended recipient, but sometimes they just don’t. They “bounce” as the term goes, meaning a notification goes back to the sender to let them know the email did not reach the recipient. Bounces are different than SPAM filtering (which we will cover in a separate post).

The different types of email bounces

Emails bounce for many reasons. They don’t all mean the email address is not valid. Many are just common hiccups to delivery. That’s why both Marketing Cloud and Pardot will attempt to send emails to the recipient’s multiple times. With that knowledge, there are generally 2 categories of email bounces:

Hard Bounces

Hard bounces are typically thought of as permanent failures. Most often, hard bounces are caused by…

Hard bounced emails will be marked as “Do Not Email” in Pardot and Marketing Cloud and no emails will be sent in the future. You should always try to manually purge your emails or update them in the system if for example, they are a bad email address.

Soft Bounces

Soft bounces are more often temporary issues that will correct themselves in time. They include:

When soft bounces are detected, Pardot & Marketing Cloud will attempt to resend them up to 5 times at intervals in between that hopefully sees them get into the inbox eventually. After those five attempts, they will be marked as “Do Not Email” and no emails will be sent in the future.

Bounce Rate Defined

A bounce rate is the percentage score of your total hard and soft bounces as a percentage of your total email sent. For example, if you send 1,000 emails and you get 55 hard bounces and 28 soft bounces, you would divide the total of hard/soft bounces by the total number of emails times 100 (55+28=83/1000=.083 times 100 = 8.3%). So you would have an 8.3% bounce rate. Congratulations! Anything under 10% is pretty good as an industry standard.

Parting thoughts

Even in 2019, email, whether in bulk or one-to-one is still one of the most effective and measurable methods of marketing across the board. Delivery matters and why messages are not delivered becomes an important topic to help you hone your efforts. We recommend paying attention to your bounce rates, percentages and the reasoning to make your campaigns more successful.

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