Are you aware of the fact the bounce rates affect your deliverability rate? This article aims at making you acquainted with the bounce rates and how it occurs.

What is a Bounce?

If you send 100 messages to various contacts through automation, each one of them takes a unique path to land into the inbox. Let’s say, you have sent an email from Gmail to Kate at kate@gmail.com. Now here is an example of a technical conversation that happens behind the scene:

Aritic PinPoint: Hi Gmail
Gmail: Hi

Aritic PinPoint: We have a message for Kate
Gmail: Sure, give that message to us and we will forward it to Kate.

Now this entire conversation only takes a few milliseconds but at the same time, things don’t always go smoothly. There are road bumps and in that case, let us take an example of another person called John. Unfortunately, what seems like his address john@gmail.com doesn’t exist so here is how the conversation will look like:

Aritic PinPoint: Hi, Gmail
Gmail: Hi

Aritic PinPoint: We have a message for John
Gmail: John does not own a Gmail account; this account does not exist. Goodbye!

Here, Gmail informs us that there is no such account on which we are trying to send the email. It could be that John closed his account or probably it never existed in the first place. But whatever the reason is, this situation is called a bounce. Follow this guide to identify your bounced contacts.

How is the bounce rate important?

Bounces indicate that there is a high chance that the user might be using an old list of contacts. Furthermore, if the user continues to send emails to invalid contacts and that they keep bouncing, Gmail or any other inbox provider will start to consider it as “risky” and your emails will eventually land in the spam folder.

But, you need not worry because we have got your back here. Whenever a contact hard bounces, we mark them as “bounced” and they no longer receive messages from you.

Why my messages are getting bounced?

There are several cases where your messages may bounce. Let us look at them:

(1) Non-existing email address (Hard Bounce)

In this scenario, you can see 5xx at the beginning of the bounce code. While it is normal to have a handful of these, the reason could be that the service providers shut the email accounts that haven’t been used for years.

(2) A temporary or soft bounce

In this scenario, you can see 4xx or 5xx at the beginning of the bounce code. The reason could stem from the contacts having a full mailbox or temporary server interruption from inbox provider’s side. After having 3 consecutive soft bounces, we mark the contact as “bounced” as in the case of a hard bounce.

(3) Message content

Content in your message also plays a vital role, if it contains blacklisted link, link to a site having malware, a phrase or a bad image, the inbox providers will take no time to bounce such messages.

(4) Reputation

Reputation plays a crucial role, and if you have received a significant number of spam complaints, some inbox providers will choose to block your email, considering the mal sending reputation.

(5) Restrictive DMARC record for your sending domain

This can cause legitimate messages to bounce. If you have a p=reject record this will cause all messages to bounce if you haven’t setup DKIM.

(6) “Auto-bounce” email addresses recognized as ‘bad’

Some contacts get “auto-bounce” when they have a visibly bad email address like 2345@1234.com. they automatically get showed up as “bounced” in the message report along with a 9.1.5 bounce code.

(7) “From email” address

If you are using “From email” with the address you are not allowed to, like @yahoo.com, this will make the message bounce. Read why Gmail, AOL, Yahoo emails are not allowed as From Addresses.

Why do I see a spike in my bounce rate?

This could be stemmed from accidently adding some old contacts into your new list. These contacts could have expired email addresses and that is what could be spiking the bounce rates. For this, having a hard look at the list cures the problem. Another reason that could add in is your messages might have contained some phrases or links that triggered some major spam filters.

Now, this is not a big issue as it is temporary and can be resolved by avoiding such links in future messages.

Lastly, the block could contribute to high bounce rate; block arises because of high spam complaints. However, these issues resolve on their own if you have a sound background.

Reference: Reduce high spam complaint rate for emails

How can I reduce my high bounce rate?

Here are some steps you can take. But before that, know that as long as you are opting healthy practices like secure opt-in forms, you will notice a low bounce rate. At times, shut down of email addresses or contacts signing up with wrong emails like john@gmai.com, in such a case, it is completely normal to see 0.5-1% bounce rate. High bounce rates usually result from the reasons innocent and may not have to do much with your mistakes.  Now let us see some measures to cut bounce rates.

Employ a double opt-in:

Double opt-in does more good than you might think of. To be specific, let us reveal two of these:

  1. Eliminates all invalid email addresses entered by contacts due to spelling mistake or spam submissions by bots.
  2. You ensure that contact themselves submit their email account and are willing to hear from you

If you use Aritic PinPoint form for adding contacts, the double opt-in option will be by default enabled. If you wish to re-check if it is enabled or not, follow this guide to create double opt-in for your emails.

Setting up engagement management automations

We offer engagement management features inside automation campaigns. Automation tags can be used for your contacts on the basis of their activities; tags most frequently used are “Disengaged” “Inactive” or “Engaged”.  They are valuable because they can be used in segmentation, analytics, triggering, list hygiene, and other automations.

Dispatch communications in a regular, set interval

This is crucial because not being active or consistent might cost you heavily. The cost here means that either some of your contact’s address will not be available when you message them, or they might forget about you. Both situations can be heavy for you and end up getting your email marked spam.

Add a captcha to form

Doing so will prevent bots from creating any spam contacts on your account, whether you have enabled the double opt-in on your form or not.
To add/edit captcha, follow this guide on adding a simple captcha to forms.

For extra safeguard, use a real-time verification service

There are services like [add services] that can be used to identify an invalid email address instantly at the time of sign up so that it does not hurt your deliverability. This is advisable for senders who dispatch thousands of sign-ups in a day.

Why did my valid contact get bounced?

This could only happen when the recipient’s inbox provider blocked the message that you sent, for any reason that could be. This is again a temporary glitch that should resolve itself. However, there are some exceptions where the inbox provided gives a wrong code for the problem and you would fall into believing that it is the X problem whereas it was Y. Even after this, if you think that the address is valid and yet it was bounced, you should reach out to our support system and we shall handle the same.