Campaigns that have high bounce rates can be frustrating. It does not matter how much time you spent creating the most spectacular email; if your bounce rate is high, it means that the people on your mailing list did not even get a chance to read it.

Completely eliminating bounces might not be possible, as there will always be an email that has an error or perhaps was deleted. However, to have successful email campaigns, it is important to have an acceptable bounce rate.

There are multiple things you can do to reduce your bounce rate, and we will discuss these further on in the article. But first, let us understand what are acceptable numbers.

What is an acceptable bounce rate for email marketing campaigns?

The bounce rate is the percentage of emails that weren’t delivered to the recipients, out of the total sent. When this happens, the sender receives a notification in their inbox saying that the message was not sent.

Unlike other metrics such as open rates and CTR, you want your bounce rate to be as low as possible - in other words, you want the maximum number of people on your contact list to receive your email campaigns.

It is worth mentioning that the bounce rate in email marketing is a little different to the “bounce” often discussed in website traffic analysis. The latter is the percentage of users that visit your website without interacting with it.

What does it mean when an email is returned to your inbox?

An email can be returned for various reasons, some of which are permanent, and some are not. One of the main ones, of which you perhaps already know, is that the user deleted the email account or has been inactive for a long time.

Ideally, you should keep your mailing lists as clean as possible, to ensure that only users that are active are on there.

Other than inactive users, there are other factors which can increase your bounce rate, such as email addresses with errors or inactive domains. For this reason, your bounced emails can be classified as either soft or hard.

The difference between soft bounce and hard bounce

A soft bounce is when the reason for the return of the email is temporary. For example, the inbox of the recipient could be full, or perhaps your email had a very large file attached to it, which couldn’t be delivered.

On the other hand, hard bounces happen for permanent reasons. These could be - invalid email addresses, deleted domains, or simply a user blocking any incoming emails.

What is an acceptable bounce rate?

As we've seen, getting your bounce rate to 0% may be impossible - and you should expect some level of bounce, even if you collected all your email addresses organically.

Statuses of email accounts change every day, are deleted or people simply make mistakes when typing their details on your landing page. It's your responsibility to identify these issues in order to prevent your sender reputation from suffering.

Learn here how to prevent your users from typing incorrect emails in your forms.

Having said that, an acceptable bounce rate for your campaigns should be below 2%. This is an average calculated by Campaign Monitor for all industries.

While this number serves as a benchmark to evaluate the performance of your

campaigns, it is also important to check the acceptable percentages within the industry in which you operate.

For example, while the marketing area has an average bounce rate of 1.29%, retail stores face average bounces of 0.69%. Therefore, it is important to understand what is the acceptable bounce rate for your industry to make sure your competitors don't leave you behind.

How do bounce rates affect your sender reputation?

Your sender reputation is the reputation of your sending address in the figurative eyes of the email providers. ISPs use it to monitor the quality of messages received by their customers.

It is the sender reputation that defines whether or not the ISP will deliver your message to the user. This means that if you have a bad score, your campaigns might never reach your audience.

ISPs use a variety of indicators to define a company's sender reputation; among them is the number of bounces. This means that the more messages that return to your inbox, the more your sender reputation score suffers.

Therefore, maintaining an acceptable bounce rate is essential precisely to ensure that your messages always reach those for whom they are intended.

How to reduce your bounce rate?

There are some tactics to reduce your bounce rate. The first and most important one is to keep your mailing list clean, and this can be done using an email checker.

An email checker (also known as an email verifier), is a tool that analyzes all contacts on your list, indicating which are invalid (either because they were deleted or inactive), which addresses are wrong or are role-based.

The tool does this by performing a ping test, to identify if a message sent to that email address can return, before you send your email campaign. In other words, the email checker prevents your bounce rate from being high and, consequently, improves your sender reputation.

Find out which is the best email verification tool and start having better results from your email marketing campaigns.

In addition to using the checker, it is always important to collect email addresses on your list organically. This ensures that people who you are contacting, really want to receive your messages, and reduces the chances of having fake addresses on the list.

The big secret to understanding your bounce rate is knowing that a number of bounces will always happen, but that being dedicated to clean mailing lists, you can keep it under control.

In addition to the bounce rate, another nightmare for email marketers is the unsubscribe rate. Read here how to reduce yours and convince your leads to stay on your list!