What is Soft Bounce & Hard Bounce in Email Marketing?

Growing an email marketing list is not a simple task for a blogger or any small business. Creating an ideal email marketing list can be time-consuming and takes considerable effort. So, when we’re giving tremendous efforts, we must be sure that the steps will grow an email marketing list correctly. We should try to build an email marketing list with quality subscribers because these email subscribers will be the best leads and stairs for your business growth. Still, your email marketing list is not the only factor that matters. Your digital email marketing strategy is another most effective element for your business.

Sometimes, we build our email marketing list and campaigns. Then, we map out those emails with different campaigns. And finally, we put all the campaigns in action to spread all the information as per the rules we decided. Now, some of the emails can’t be delivered due to specific reasons. It can be the worst feeling for a digital marketer. The process of undelivered emails is called email bounce. There are two types of email bounce we usually face in our routine life. The first bounce is a Soft bounce, and the second one is a Hard bounce. We will explain both types of bounce in this article. We will also discuss all the causes for the email bounce and how to overcome it.

Soft Bounce

The definition of soft bounce is an email that is transferred from your email marketing campaign to the client’s email server but bounces back just before the delivery to the inbox. But, it’s a temporary issue, and many reasons may be its cause. You don’t need to remove those emails from the email marketing list. Because perhaps there are some of the reasons that we can resolve in some time. So, here is the list of some logic behind the soft bounce, 

  • Maybe the recipient’s inbox is full or inactive.
  • Perhaps the client’s email server is down.
  • Maybe the email file size is large.
  • DNS Failure
  • Anti-spam or anti-virus filtration.

Now, the soft bounced emails can be re-sent again. Most automated email marketing campaigns have the setting of resenting the non-delivered mails in 48 to 72 hours. The email server or marketing campaigns will keep trying to deliver the mail. But, it’s not mean that the soft bounce of the email is less harmful. It will directly affect your email deliverability. So, you have to keep an eye on the mail campaigns and undelivered emails.

Types of errors in Soft Bounce

Let’s discuss some of the fundamental errors found at the time of soft bounces. We also explain the issue and suggestions with the error.

Temporary Issue

This error has specific fundamental issues like recipient server issues or configuration changes. Maybe the email server goes down, timed out, or overloaded. These kinds of reasons are the cause of soft bounce in general. You resolve it by sending an email another day.

Rejection by recipient’s email

This error comes when the email server’s security filters reject the email. Sometimes these filters find something unnatural in your email configuration and transfer it to the spam folder instead of the inbox. You should contact your email recipient and request them to safelist your IP address to resolve this issue. Then after you can send the emails in case they accept the request. Then you can easily add them to the new campaign and send the email later again.

Hard Bounce

Hard Bounce means the emails can’t be delivered for some permanent reasons. The reasons like the recipient’s email address are not valid, or the domain name is incorrect. In these cases, the email can’t be delivered to the recipient’s inbox because the server couldn’t find the correct information. Today’s marketing campaigns or email marketing software are smart enough to clear the unnecessary emails as they find them less helpful or harmful. But having many email lists can be a reason for the hard bounces. Here, you can see the reasons for the hard bounces,

  • The email address is incorrect or does not exist.
  • The domain name is wrong or does not exist.
  • The email server found the recipient’s address was blocked.

So, in case you found hard bounces on your email marketing campaigns, you need to remove those emails and incorrect details from your campaigns. It will help you decrease email transfer failures, and you don’t need to pay for those emails again. A hard bounce is more effective than a soft bounce, and it directly affects the sender’s reputation. To overcome the hard bounce, you need to keep your email list neat and clean.

Types of errors in Hard Bounce

Here, we describe some of the fundamental errors that appear because of some permanent issues. As we discussed, these types of errors are called hard bounces. Let’s discuss some of the errors,

The mailbox of the recipient is full.

It is one of the most frequent and permanent reasons for the hard bounce. When the recipient’s inbox is full and overloaded, the mail server can’t deliver the mail successfully. In this case, you should erase the contact from our email campaign. So, it won’t affect future email deliverability or brand reputation.

The security filter rejects the email.

This type of error appears when security filters of email servers reject specific types of sender’s emails. You should immediately remove these types of emails contacts that reject the emails because these types of emails are rejected because of hard bounce. 

Effects of high Bounce rate

So, what exactly happens when you face a high rate of Soft Bounces with your email list. There are too many unfair losses that occur just because of soft bounces. In terms of email marketing, any email bounce can increase bounce rates. You can stop these rates from growing by making considerable efforts to clean your mail list. So, here are some effects that happen while having high bounce rates.

  • After some time, you will notice that your emails will land in spam folders.
  • These high bounce rates can put your business at risk. Your email account can be suspended or blocked due to high bounce rates.
  • With the high bounce rate, you can’t reach your recipients.
  • To decrease the email bounce rates, you have to start delivering fewer emails.

Other Types of Email Bounce

Generally, each bounce email that is not delivered successfully returns with a Non-Delivery Report/Receipt called NDR. But, the sender only receives it when there’s a direct issue with the recipient’s email server or with the domain name. So, there are some more types of email bounces available that happen for specific reasons. So, let’s discuss them and increase our knowledge about email bounces.

Global Bounce

When a hard bounce occurs for specific reasons like an invalid email address or inbox is full more than three or more senders accounts will be known as a global bounce. So, whenever you feel that a hard bounce caused this contact, you should immediately remove those contacts from the email list. 

Pending Bounce

When your email campaigns or server finds some temporary issues like the recipient’s server is down or something else identified as a soft bounce. In this case, mostly all the servers and email marketing service providers will attempt to send that mail again within 72 hours. But, still, email campaigns can’t deliver that mail to the client’s inbox. That type of bounce will be called a pending bounce.


All the information available in this article is here to help you decrease the bounce rates of anyone’s email campaigns. As we discussed, we have many types of bounces that have some specific cause. As per this article, you can assume the reason for the email bounce and resolve it. We also mansion all the reasons behind the email bounce. So it will help you to create a perfect email campaign and fix the errors and bounces. We can not resolve some of the hard bounce; you should try to create an ideal email list that does not have any wrong email or information. It would be the best way to decrease the bounce rates.

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