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Soft bounces vs hard bounces

When you send your newsletter, there is always a chance that your message may not arrive. There are various possible reasons as to why this happens, and in your email campaign statistics you can see why an email bounced.

We recommend that you keep track of these statistics carefully, so you know for certain whether your message has arrived.

Soft bounce

A soft bounce usually indicates a temporary problem in delivering your message. For example, because your recipient’s mailbox is full, because the mail server is temporarily unavailable, or because the message is too large.

In the Webpower platform there are three soft bounce groups. After the first soft bounce the subscriber ends up in the soft bounce (1x), then in the soft bounce (2x) and finally in the definitive soft bounce group. Your emails will be sent to the subscribers in the soft bounce (1x) and (2x). If a subsequent mailing was delivered successfully to a subscriber in soft bounce (1x) or (2x), this subscriber is automatically removed from this group. As soon as a subscriber is in the definitive soft bounce group they will not receive emails anymore and therefore cannot be automatically removed from the definitive soft bounce group.

Hard bounce

A hard bounce means there is a permanent reason as to why a message cannot be delivered. Possible reasons include: the recipient’s email address doesn’t exist (anymore), the domain name doesn’t exist or the recipient’s mail server blocks all forms of traffic (from your server) a so called spam block.

Just like with the soft bounce groups, there are also three hard bounce groups. After a subscriber shows its first hard bounce, he will end up in the hard bounce (1x), then the hard bounce (2x) and finally in the definitive hard bounce group. This works the same for the soft and hard bounce groups, the only difference between the soft and hard bounce groups is: in case a hard bounce occurs during the very first mailing within a campaign, the subscriber will immediately be sent to the hard bounce group, without any in-between stops in (1x) or (2x).

Lowering your bounce rates

When it comes to reducing bounce rates, focusing on hard bounces is key. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay any attention to soft bounces. For example, an out-of-office reply may include information to prevent future hard bounces. Like a notification that someone’s email address will be terminated soon because they no longer work for the company.

Double opt-in

Use double opt-in to avoid hard bounces due to typos and incorrect email addresses.
Make sure people don’t enter a wrong address. Typos can happen easily, and people commonly enter the wrong email address by mistake. You can prevent this by asking people to enter their email address twice. Or, better yet: by using a double opt-in, with which you let someone confirm a subscription to a newsletter with a link in an email, for example.

Do not purchase email addresses

Comply with the law at all times. Do not purchase email addresses from third parties. Ever. Sending emailings to addresses acquired in this fashion is not only illegal, but it’s also an excellent way of destroying the quality of your sending list because you cannot check how these addresses were obtained. Scraping, an illegal practice whereby you scavenge the web for email addresses that have been posted online publicly, is strongly discouraged as well. Partially to prevent the acquisition of email addresses that have been posted to websites consciously by ISPs in order to identify spammers, the so-called spam traps.

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Want to know more? Contact us via our website or call +31 (0)342 423 262.

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Jochem Buisman