Bounces: Soft Bounce vs Hard Bounce
One of the advantages of using an email marketing service like ActiveCampaign is it’s ability to provide valuable reporting to you. With your account, you can track opens, forwards, clicks, etc. This positive interaction data allows you to see the effectiveness of your campaigns.
It is also important to know the “negatives” of your campaigns: unsubscribes, bounces, complaints. ActiveCampaign tracks these for you. Knowing your “negative” rates allow you to know more about the quality of your list. It exposes flaws that you may have with regards to your processes.
One particular metric that you should be concerned about is Bounces. The rate of your bounces gives you an indication of the quality of your list. Having high bounces can mean you may have an old list, your subscription process is flawed, etc.
It is thus important to understand what bounces are and what types there are.
What is a Bounce?
A bounce is basically a rejected email. When you send your campaign, ActiveCampaign attempts to send it to the recipient. When the email gets to the receiving server (where your subscriber’s email is located), the receiving mail server either accepts the email or rejects it. The rejection is called a Bounce.
There are 2 types of bounces: Soft and Hard.
A soft bounce normally happens when the receiving Mail Server is temporarily unable to receive the email. There are several reasons why this would happen. The following are reasons for soft bounces.
- A server is unavailable or it’s down
- The server is overloaded
- The recipient’s mailbox is full
- Your message size is too big
Soft bounces would normally resolve itself. ActiveCampaign would try 3 times to send your campaign. If the email address soft bounces 3 times, it would be considered as a hard bounce.
A hard bounce is more permanent. In terms of ActiveCampaign, 1 hard bounce removes the subscriber from the list.
There are several reasons why an email would hard bounce. The main characteristic though, is that it is a permanent rejection. Below is a list of bounce codes that we use and support.
|5.0.0||Hard||Address does not exist|
|5.1.0||Hard||Other address status|
|5.1.1||Hard||Bad destination mailbox address|
|5.1.2||Hard||Bad destination system address|
|5.1.3||Hard||Bad destination mailbox address syntax|
|5.1.4||Hard||Destination mailbox address ambiguous|
|5.1.5||Hard||Destination mailbox address valid|
|5.1.6||Hard||Mailbox has moved|
|5.1.7||Hard||Bad sender\’s mailbox address syntax|
|5.1.8||Hard||Bad sender’s system address|
|5.2.0||Soft||Other or undefined mailbox status|
|5.2.1||Soft||Mailbox disabled, not accepting messages|
|5.2.3||Hard||Message length exceeds administrative limit.|
|5.2.4||Hard||Mailing list expansion problem|
|5.3.0||Hard||Other or undefined mail system status|
|5.3.1||Soft||Mail system full|
|5.3.2||Hard||System not accepting network messages|
|5.3.3||Hard||System not capable of selected features|
|5.3.4||Hard||Message too big for system|
|5.4.0||Hard||Other or undefined network or routing status|
|5.4.1||Hard||No answer from host|
|5.4.3||Hard||Routing server failure|
|5.4.4||Hard||Unable to route|
|5.4.6||Hard||Routing loop detected|
|5.4.7||Hard||Delivery time expired|
|5.5.0||Hard||Other or undefined protocol status|
|5.5.3||Soft||Too many recipients|
|5.5.4||Hard||Invalid command arguments|
|5.5.5||Hard||Wrong protocol version|
|5.6.0||Hard||Other or undefined media error|
|5.6.1||Hard||Media not supported|
|5.6.2||Hard||Conversion required and prohibited|
|5.6.3||Hard||Conversion required but not supported|
|5.6.4||Hard||Conversion with loss performed|
|5.7.0||Hard||Other or undefined security status|
|5.7.1||Hard||Delivery not authorized, message refused|
|5.7.2||Hard||Mailing list expansion prohibited|
|5.7.3||Hard||Security conversion required but not possible|
|5.7.4||Hard||Security features not supported|
|5.7.6||Hard||Cryptographic algorithm not supported|
|5.7.7||Hard||Message integrity failure|
|9.1.1||Hard||Hard bounce with no bounce code found. It could be an invalid email or rejected email from your mail server (such as from a sending limit).|
As a note, the bounce codes displayed on your report page are the codes that our servers receive from the receiving mail servers. It is important to know that it’s possible that these mail servers may provide codes that do not really reflect the true nature of the bounce.
For more information about any feature of our Email Marketing software, please contact our Support Department. We would be happy to assist you.