Bounce Rate


Bounce Rates are between 0% to 100%; once you finish the equation, turn your answer to a percentage by multiplying by 100.

Tips for interpreting Bounce Rates:

Bounce rates are meant to show the fraction (or percentage) of emails that could not be delivered successfully to recipients.

There are two main categories of bounces: 

  • A hard bounce indicates the address you are contacting either does not exist or is not accepting messages at the time that you tried to contact them. 
  • A soft bounce is typically caused by transient errors in delivery (e.g., ‘try again later’) or an issue with sender reputation (e.g., ‘message has been flagged as spam’ or ‘blocked due to policy reasons’).

In general, the LOWER the bounce rate, the better. A low bounce rate is indicative of a healthy list collection process and database as well as a positive sender reputation. 

It is not uncommon for Welcome programs to generate higher bounce rates than other types of emails since this is the first email being sent to a new recipient by a particular brand. Methods such as syntax checks, email validation and asking recipients to enter their email address twice at the point of capture can reduce the likelihood of collecting an invalid address. 

A high bounce rate can negatively impact sender reputation, so it is important to monitor bounce rates over time in order to identify problematic trends in list collection and/or management. 

Note that bounce management policies can vary from one mailing platform to the next. For example, most ESPs will automatically suppress hard bounces after one send, ensuring you do not attempt to send to invalid addresses multiple times. If you’re using an ESP to send your emails, be sure you understand if they are automatically suppressing certain types of bounces for you, or if that is work you’ll need to handle directly yourself.

See our other articles for examples of metrics that can negatively affect sender reputation.

In summary, you can use bounce rates to help identify issues with:

  • List collection and/or maintenance (hard bounces)
  • Sender reputation (soft bounces)

Related Links:

Interested in learning more about bounce rates? Check out Making Sense of Email Bounce Rates and The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Email Marketing Success: 12 Key Metrics

Curious when bounce rates start to affect inbox placement? Check out Email Deliverability Unfiltered: All About Email Metrics

Facing an issue with high bounce rates? Check out “Email Bounce Back Decoded: 8 Ways to Reduce Your Email Bounce Rate” and Research: How Should You Follow Up A Mailbox Full Bounce? for tips to improve your bounce rates.