Bounces: Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce

Updated 5 years ago

One of the advantages of using an email marketing service like ClickSend is it’s ability to provide valuable reporting to you. With your account, you can track opens, forwards, clicks, etc. This positive interaction data allows you to see the effectiveness of your campaigns.

It is also important to know the “negatives” of your campaigns: unsubscribes, bounces, complaints. ClickSend tracks these for you. Knowing your “negative” rates allow you to know more about the quality of your list. It exposes flaws that you may have with regards to your processes.

One particular metric that you should be concerned about is Bounces. The rate of your bounces gives you an indication of the quality of your list. Having high bounces can mean you may have an old list, your subscription process is flawed, etc.

It is thus important to understand what bounces are and what types there are.

What is a Bounce?

A bounce is basically a rejected email. When you send your campaign, ClickSend attempts to send it to the recipient. When the email gets to the receiving server (where your subscriber’s email is located), the receiving mail server either accepts the email or rejects it. The rejection is called a Bounce.
There are 2 types of bounces: Soft and Hard.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce normally happens when the receiving Mail Server is temporarily unable to receive the email.  There are several reasons why this would happen. The following are reasons for soft bounces:

  • A server is unavailable or it’s down
  • The server is overloaded
  • The recipient’s mailbox is full
  • Your message size is too big

Soft bounces would normally resolve itself. ClickSend would try 3 times to send your campaign. If the email address soft bounces 3 times, it would be considered as a hard bounce.

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce is more permanent. In terms of ClickSend, 1 hard bounce removes the subscriber from the list.
There are several reasons why an email would hard bounce. The main characteristic though, is that it is a permanent rejection.

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