Email Bounce Rate

We are going to take you back to the basics to define the term that is super important to email deliverability but still seems to confuse mailers – email bounce. It doesn’t matter what type of emails that you are sending, you should have to think about your email bounce rate. But you don’t have to be a complete nerd to understand bounce rate.

Here how it’s done:

  • What is Email Bounce Rate?
  • How to Calculate Email Bounce Rate?
  • What is the Average Email Bounce Rate?
  • Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce
  • Causes for High Bounce Rate
  • How to Improve Email Bounce Rate
  • Summary

What is Email Bounce Rate? 🧐

Email Bounce Rate is the percentage of emails in a mailing list that have not successfully reached recipients because their mail servers returned them. An email bounce occurs when a sender receives an NDR (Non-Delivery Report) for an email.

In simple terms, bounces happen when messages cannot be delivered to email addresses.

How to Calculate Email Bounce Rate? 🤓

The number of emails bounced divided by the total number of emails sent out gives the exact Email Bounce Rate.

What is the Average Email Bounce Rate? 🤔

An email marketing benchmark study by Campaign Monitor explains the average email bounce rate includes both hard and soft bounces.

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Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce 🥊

There are two types of bounces – soft/block bounce and hard bounce. Soft bounces are a short-term issue that you don’t need to permanently take the email addresses off from your list. While hard bounces are either invalid or non-existent email addresses should be removed immediately.

Soft Bounce

A soft bounce or block bounce means that the email address was valid and the message reached the recipient’s mail server.

The reasons behind soft bounces happen:

  • The recipient’s mailbox was full
  • The recipient’s server was down
  • The message was too huge for the recipient’s inbox

Hard Bounce

A hard bounce occurs when the message has been permanently rejected by the recipient.

The reasons behind hard bounces happen:

  • Invalid email address
  • The email address doesn’t exist

Causes for High Bounce Rate 😵

If you are seeing a high bounce rate in your email campaign, there are several reasons why that happened. These are some common causes for a high bounce rate.

  • Import had Formatting Errors

Formatting errors in the email can cause hard bounces. Before you import contacts, I advise you to review CSV files for formatting errors. So that you don’t include information to important fields in your audience.

  • Maybe You’re using a Free Email Service 🚩

Some email providers have changed their DMARC policies. If you are using a free email service like Yahoo or Gmail to send an email to the customer. It will fail DMARC authentication that causes emails sent to receiving servers to check for DMARC to bounce. I strongly recommend you use a private domain for an email address like the one you use for work or your website.

  • Your Audience is Outdated 🥺

If you see high bounce rates and your audiences are new or not regularly used, it may include stale or inactive addresses. Stale email addresses are either invalid or belong to contacts who sighed up for your email marketing a long time ago and haven’t been sent to regularly. If you have doubt on email addresses may include stale addresses, reconfirm your subscribers.

Inactive contacts may still be interested in your content, but don’t actively click links or make product purchases. So you send a re-engagement campaign to spark the interest of your inactive contacts.

  • Your Audience contains Bad Data 😏

If your new audiences are the reason for the high email bounce rate, there may be a problem with where your email contacts came from or how they have complied with your email campaign. Determine your audience is okay to use.

How to Improve Email Bounce Rate 🤒

The best way to reduce email bounces is by following some key email deliverability practices. This includes the followings:

  • Maintain Good Contact List 🤥

Get rid of invalid emails and non-responders from your list regularly. High bounce rates can affect your way to achieving higher email delivery rates by damaging your sender reputation so keep your lists clean.

  • Use Double Opt-in 👥

Send a confirmation email when customers subscribe to your content. This way you can ensure that the customer’s email is not only valid but that they in fact want to receive your email messages.

  • Monitor your Email Delivery 🔍

By paying close attention to your email bounce rates as well as your response rates, you can track your email delivery rates. With regular monitoring, you can catch potential failures before they happen or do too much damage to your email campaign.

  • Don’t Send Spam Messages

If you consistently send spammy-looking emails, gatekeepers of the email world – spam filters put a red flag to your email address or whole domain and bounce your messages right back to you. Spend some time getting a third-party service to test your messages from a spam filter or avoid including potential spam triggers from the beginning to maintain an ideal bounce rate.

  • Customize It 🤠

Customizing your emails has a dual benefit in that it is more likely to get past your emails from spam filters and get opened. By adding some customization to your subject line will help you reduce the chance of your message getting flagged as spam.


A high email bounce rate happens when a large number of emails sent out never reach recipients. Therefore double check your company’s message and relationship with useful contacts. Regularly managing email contact lists and performing email address verification can reduce your email bounce rate.

Verify email addresses in our email verifier with our 200 million unique corporate email addresses. Sign-up at LeadMine for free access.

Share your thoughts about the email bounce rate with us at LeadMine.

Janani is a Content Writer at LeadMine. She’s an avid reader and tries to give valuable information and advice on prospect's issues through storytelling and data-driven content.

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