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Bounced Email

Definition

A bounced email, or bounce, is an email message that gets rejected by a mail server. When an email bounces, it has for some reason not reached the intended destination.

A bounced email can be either a hard bounce or a soft bounce. A hard bounce means that the email address is permanently closed and not receiving electronic mail. A soft bounce is temporary, and may be caused by server outages or a full inbox. Most email service providers will designate soft bounces as a hard bounce after three failed sends.

Why do bounced emails happen? There are a variety of reasons that an email message can bounce: the email address doesn't exist, the inbox is full, server outages, poor sender reputation due to spam complains, flagged content in the message content, or a restrictive DMARC record for your sending domain.

Email bounces are not usually a large concern. You can reduce bounce rates by only sending to opted-in email addresses (already a requirement of many ESPs), sending regularly, regularly removing unengaged emails from your sending lists, or using a double opt-in process to collect emails.

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