What is email bounce rate and how can you reduce it?

One of the most common challenges for email marketers is finding ways to reduce email bounce and making sure that the emails will reach the inbox. Communicating with prospective customers lays the foundation of any email marketing campaign - but a high bounce rate could limit your reach.
August 09, 2018

One of the most common challenges for email marketers is finding ways to reduce email bounce and making sure that the emails will reach the inbox. Communicating with prospective customers lays the foundation of any email marketing campaign - but a high bounce rate could limit your reach.

What is email bounce rate?

An email bounce rate is the percentage of emails from your campaign that could not be delivered. Emails can bounce for many different reasons and are categorized as either soft or hard.

Soft bounces happen due to temporary issues, like greylisting, or recipient inbox over quota. For example, if you send to an email address with greylisting (or graylisting) enabled, the email could return a soft bounce.

A hard bounce instead, occurs when you send an email to an invalid or non-existent address. If you type the email address incorrectly, for instance, or send to an outdated address that's no longer in use, you'll receive a Non-Deliverable Report (NDR), also known as a bounce email.

In a modern world with constantly evolving technology, users frequently change their email addresses and no email marketing campaign can have a zero percent bounce rate. Nonetheless, to ensure solid bedrock for the future of your campaigns, do your best to keep your bounce rate as low as possible.

What is considered as a “normal” bounce rate? Even if email bounce rates (hard and soft) vary for each industry, according to a recent study, a total bounce rate of roughly 2% is considered average.

If the percentage of undeliverable emails in your email marketing campaigns is significantly higher, then you’ve got work to do! :)

What are the risks of a high bounce rate?

A high bounce rate can lead to a number of serious issues that could thwart future email market efforts. A high bounce rate could lower your sender score, as well as raise red flags with recipient mail exchanger (MX) servers. When MX servers notice repeated bounces, especially on a large scale, they may start sending your emails to spam filters, impacting your deliverability. Future emails you send to that MX server may be filtered completely, so even your most loyal subscribers can’t receive your marketing materials. Ignoring your high bounce rate could eventually lead to blacklisting

How to reduce email bounce rate?

Now that you know what an email bounce is and how many types of email bounces are, let’s focus on what matters the most: how to reduce email bounce rate.

The tips below will help you lower the bounce rate, increase deliverability and also improve your ROI (Return on Investment).

  1. Always use double opt-in
    In terms of preventative measures, implement a double opt-in for your email newsletter and integrate our groundbreaking email validation technology directly into your website or app to keep your bounce rate low! If you are a software developer, replacing your basic syntax validator with Verifalia's advanced email validation is quick and easy, as integrating with our secure API usually requires a matter of minutes thanks to our free and open source SDKs.
  2. Don’t use your first email campaign as a way to “clean” your list!
    That’s a big NO! Don’t make the same mistake as plenty of careless email marketers, by validating through trial and error. Newbie marketers send a test email and then flag email addresses that generate a bounce. Keep in mind that your ESP is not an email list cleaner. A little time spent on validating your list with an email validation service and making it as good as it can be before you actually send the campaign will mean a lot of saved time later as you work to repair the damage done to your sender reputation. At Verifalia, we use artificial intelligence and modern computing tools to verify email addresses quickly and accurately; we do that without sending any email, protecting your sender reputation and ensuring a low bounce rate.
  3. Don’t use your first email campaign as a way to “clean” your list!
    Lower your bounce rate by cleaning your list often, to remove any outdated or invalid email addresses. Email address validation services, range from basic syntax validators to sophisticated software. At Verifalia, we check not just for accurate email address syntax, but for 20+ validity issues. We flag invalid email addresses, spam traps and risky emails so that you can remove them from your email list before hitting send. Cleaning your email list regularly should become a routine task if you want to maximize your delivery rate and increase your ROI.
  4. Make sure that your email doesn’t look like spam
    This might seem pretty obvious, but how do you do it? The trick is that you can’t just "set it and forget it". Spam filters work in a very simple way: checking whether or not your email looks like spam. You need to make sure that your template remains up to date and hasn't taken on any characteristics that make it seem like spam. Spammers are always changing their tactics, the filters have to change too, meaning that from time to time, it’s recommended to use different tools that will help you understand what are the required changes you must do to make sure that your emails are not treated as spam.

By knowing what an email bounce is, understanding the difference between hard and soft bounces, verifying your email list with Verifalia and following the email marketing tips above, you’ll be on your way to reduce email bounce rates – which means more opens, more clicks and more conversions.

Ready to lower your email list bounce rate? Sign up now!

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