Hard vs Soft Email Bounce Rate: What’s the Difference?


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One of the goals of your email campaign is to reach out to an engaged subscriber and turn them into your loyal customer. You’ll need to know about so many metrics to track your email performance.

Bounce rate is one of the most important factors to note when dealing with email marketing as a whole. If you’re struggling with identifying why your email keeps bouncing and you’re looking for solutions to reduce your bounce rate, then this article is for you. 

In this blog post, we will help you to understand what an email bounce rate is, what’s the difference between a hard and soft bounce, and how you can reduce your email bounce rate.

What is an Email Bounce Rate?

An email bounce rate is the percentage of email addresses in a mailing list that do not receive sent messages.

Bounces happen when emails cannot be delivered, in most cases the email service tools will provide a reason for why your email bounced. 

There are two types of email bounces: hard and soft bounces.

Hard Email Bounces 

A hard bounce happens when an email fails to deliver to a recipient’s email server for permanent reasons, like an invalid recipient address. 

A high volume of hard bounces can be dangerous to your email deliverability because most email service providers immediately clear the recipient’s email address from your list if it doesn’t deliver after 72 hours.

Once this happens, the email address is removed from future campaigns or becomes placed in a suppression list. A suppression list is a different type of subscriber list that contains email addresses you don’t want to send to.

You may try resending the email again but it’s best to end further attempts so you can improve your bounce rate.

Soft Email Bounces

A soft bounce happens when an email doesn’t deliver to a recipient because of temporary and correctable issues, like a file attachment that’s too large or the recipient’s inbox being too full. 

Oftentimes, Email Service Providers (ESPs) will attempt to re-send the email to the recipient. When your email bounces, you’re likely to receive an automated notification from them explaining why your email couldn’t be delivered. 

If you don’t get the detailed reason, you can also contact the ESPs yourself for issues related to soft bounces. 

Most error messages contain the date and time of the bounce, the mail server that caused the bounce, and the Remote Function Call (RFC) code that contains the reason for the bounce. 

Why Do Emails Bounce?

A recent study has shown that the overall average business bounce rate is over 10%. When you understand why emails bounce you can take proper action that can help you to benchmark your campaign results

Here are a few reasons why you may experience both hard and soft email bounce rates 

  • Full Inbox 

If the recipient’s inbox is full, they will no longer be able to receive any new emails and this can cause the email to soft bounce. You won’t be able to send emails to them unless they clear their inbox. 

  • Invalid Email Address

The recipient’s email address could be incorrect and it’s a common reason why your email may bounce. It happens mostly because of a typo in the name of the recipient or the email domain. 

  • Buying Email Lists

This is a common reason for your email to hard bounce. If you buy an email list that contains old and inactive email addresses, your emails may not get delivered. 

It’s best to avoid this method of email acquisition and focus on getting quality email addresses that are owned by authentic people that are interested in your brand. 

  • Content Blockers 

Some recipients may use automated content blockers to block some content they don’t want to see. If your email contains a kind of content the recipient has flagged as inappropriate, it will definitely bounce. 

For example, a recipient can block content containing words like

  • “50% off”
  • “Act now!”
  • “Free offer”

If your email uses words that were flagged by the recipient, it will definitely be blocked. 

  • Inactive Inbox

A recipient’s inbox can be tagged as “inactive” if the person has not used or logged into their email for a long period of time. If you send an email to an inactive address, your email may be rejected until the recipient logs into the account. 

  • Email Message Size 

In some cases, your email can bounce because the size of the email is too big. The attached files you have are the primary cause of this. You can try to resolve the issue by compressing the files to make them smaller, or remove any files that are not that important. 

  • Domain Name System Failure

Your email can bounce if the recipient’s domain name system is experiencing issues, it’s mostly a temporary issue and can be fixed. Sometimes DNS services can crash for a little time or go down temporarily while they are being updated.

It can take longer than expected depending on the recipient’s domain issues, but as long as there’s an unresolved system failure, your messages won’t be delivered. 

  • Anti-spam Filters

In rare cases, your emails can bounce back from recipients that use anti-spam or anti-virus applications to ensure their email inboxes stay safe and clean.

In this case the recipient would have to disable the application for your email to get delivered if it has been flagged for whatever reason. 

How to Reduce Email Bounce Rate 

If you’re looking to reduce your email bounce rate, here are a few tips you should consider:

  • Keep your email list clean

Ensure that the email addresses you’re adding to your list are valid and active. You should check your email list frequently and remove invalid emails. This will improve your delivery rate and increase your reputation with email marketing tools. 

  • Frequently monitor your bounce rate

This can prove very helpful if you intend to get better, and track your bounce rate every day or as frequently as you need to. By regularly monitoring the rates you can make adjustments to better your email campaigns. 

There are email service providers and applications like SendinBlue and GetResponse that are available to help track your bounce rate and suggest how you can reduce it. 

  • Ensure you’re not sending spam emails

It’s very likely that your recipient has already blocked any spammy language, if you keep sending emails containing some of those phrases they will keep bouncing.

If you’re reaching out to a recipient for the first time, it’s best to avoid words that sound like you want to sell to them. 


You should always ensure you take note of why your emails may be bouncing, how frequently they bounce, and to fix it. More importantly, ensure you’re sending emails to a list of recipients who gave you consent to be on your mailing list and can identify with your brand or business.

That way you can get more engagement and conversion, this will also ensure that you’re abiding by all the laws governing spam and reduce your bounce rate. 

We’re all about helping you make the best decisions regarding email marketing, check our blog for free resources and information.

If you’re looking to scale your email marketing results, reach out to us, we offer the best services to double your conversion. 

Picture of Inioluwa Ademuwagun

Inioluwa Ademuwagun


Inioluwa Ademuwagun is a content marketing professional with many years of experience in writing content that drives sales. She has worked with different clients from Europe and North America. She’s passionate about writing and using social media for the right purposes. She loves to travel the world and is looking to be a globetrotter soon.

Privacy Policy

Last updated: June 08, 2022

This Privacy Policy describes Our policies and procedures on the collection, use and disclosure of Your information when You use the Service and tells You about Your privacy rights and how the law protects You.

We use Your Personal data to provide and improve the Service. By using the Service, You agree to the collection and use of information in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Interpretation and Definitions


The words of which the initial letter is capitalized have meanings defined under the following conditions. The following definitions shall have the same meaning regardless of whether they appear in singular or in plural.


For the purposes of this Privacy Policy:

  • Account means a unique account created for You to access our Service or parts of our Service.

  • Company (referred to as either “the Company”, “We”, “Us” or “Our” in this Agreement) refers to Kas Andz Marketing Group, International House, 24 Holborn Viaduct, London EC1A 2BN.

  • Cookies are small files that are placed on Your computer, mobile device or any other device by a website, containing the details of Your browsing history on that website among its many uses.

  • Country refers to: United Kingdom

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  • Service refers to the Website.

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  • Website refers to Kas Andz Marketing Group, accessible from kasandz.

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Collecting and Using Your Personal Data

Types of Data Collected

Personal Data

While using Our Service, We may ask You to provide Us with certain personally identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify You. Personally identifiable information may include, but is not limited to:

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Usage Data

Usage Data is collected automatically when using the Service.

Usage Data may include information such as Your Device’s Internet Protocol address (e.g. IP address), browser type, browser version, the pages of our Service that You visit, the time and date of Your visit, the time spent on those pages, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

When You access the Service by or through a mobile device, We may collect certain information automatically, including, but not limited to, the type of mobile device You use, Your mobile device unique ID, the IP address of Your mobile device, Your mobile operating system, the type of mobile Internet browser You use, unique device identifiers and other diagnostic data.

We may also collect information that Your browser sends whenever You visit our Service or when You access the Service by or through a mobile device.

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We use Cookies and similar tracking technologies to track the activity on Our Service and store certain information. Tracking technologies used are beacons, tags, and scripts to collect and track information and to improve and analyze Our Service. The technologies We use may include:

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Cookies can be “Persistent” or “Session” Cookies. Persistent Cookies remain on Your personal computer or mobile device when You go offline, while Session Cookies are deleted as soon as You close Your web browser. Learn more about cookies on the Free Privacy Policy website article.

We use both Session and Persistent Cookies for the purposes set out below:

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For more information about the cookies we use and your choices regarding cookies, please visit our Cookies Policy or the Cookies section of our Privacy Policy.

Use of Your Personal Data

The Company may use Personal Data for the following purposes:

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  • To contact You: To contact You by email, telephone calls, SMS, or other equivalent forms of electronic communication, such as a mobile application’s push notifications regarding updates or informative communications related to the functionalities, products or contracted services, including the security updates, when necessary or reasonable for their implementation.

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  • To manage Your requests: To attend and manage Your requests to Us.

  • For business transfers: We may use Your information to evaluate or conduct a merger, divestiture, restructuring, reorganization, dissolution, or other sale or transfer of some or all of Our assets, whether as a going concern or as part of bankruptcy, liquidation, or similar proceeding, in which Personal Data held by Us about our Service users is among the assets transferred.

  • For other purposes: We may use Your information for other purposes, such as data analysis, identifying usage trends, determining the effectiveness of our promotional campaigns and to evaluate and improve our Service, products, services, marketing and your experience.

We may share Your personal information in the following situations:

  • With Service Providers: We may share Your personal information with Service Providers to monitor and analyze the use of our Service, to contact You.
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Retention of Your Personal Data

The Company will retain Your Personal Data only for as long as is necessary for the purposes set out in this Privacy Policy. We will retain and use Your Personal Data to the extent necessary to comply with our legal obligations (for example, if we are required to retain your data to comply with applicable laws), resolve disputes, and enforce our legal agreements and policies.

The Company will also retain Usage Data for internal analysis purposes. Usage Data is generally retained for a shorter period of time, except when this data is used to strengthen the security or to improve the functionality of Our Service, or We are legally obligated to retain this data for longer time periods.

Transfer of Your Personal Data

Your information, including Personal Data, is processed at the Company’s operating offices and in any other places where the parties involved in the processing are located. It means that this information may be transferred to — and maintained on — computers located outside of Your state, province, country or other governmental jurisdiction where the data protection laws may differ than those from Your jurisdiction.

Your consent to this Privacy Policy followed by Your submission of such information represents Your agreement to that transfer.

The Company will take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure that Your data is treated securely and in accordance with this Privacy Policy and no transfer of Your Personal Data will take place to an organization or a country unless there are adequate controls in place including the security of Your data and other personal information.

Disclosure of Your Personal Data

Business Transactions

If the Company is involved in a merger, acquisition or asset sale, Your Personal Data may be transferred. We will provide notice before Your Personal Data is transferred and becomes subject to a different Privacy Policy.

Law enforcement

Under certain circumstances, the Company may be required to disclose Your Personal Data if required to do so by law or in response to valid requests by public authorities (e.g. a court or a government agency).

Other legal requirements

The Company may disclose Your Personal Data in the good faith belief that such action is necessary to:

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  • Protect against legal liability

Security of Your Personal Data

The security of Your Personal Data is important to Us, but remember that no method of transmission over the Internet, or method of electronic storage is 100% secure. While We strive to use commercially acceptable means to protect Your Personal Data, We cannot guarantee its absolute security.

Children’s Privacy

Our Service does not address anyone under the age of 13. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from anyone under the age of 13. If You are a parent or guardian and You are aware that Your child has provided Us with Personal Data, please contact Us. If We become aware that We have collected Personal Data from anyone under the age of 13 without verification of parental consent, We take steps to remove that information from Our servers.

If We need to rely on consent as a legal basis for processing Your information and Your country requires consent from a parent, We may require Your parent’s consent before We collect and use that information.

Links to Other Websites

Our Service may contain links to other websites that are not operated by Us. If You click on a third party link, You will be directed to that third party’s site. We strongly advise You to review the Privacy Policy of every site You visit.

We have no control over and assume no responsibility for the content, privacy policies or practices of any third party sites or services.

Changes to this Privacy Policy

We may update Our Privacy Policy from time to time. We will notify You of any changes by posting the new Privacy Policy on this page.

We will let You know via email and/or a prominent notice on Our Service, prior to the change becoming effective and update the “Last updated” date at the top of this Privacy Policy.

You are advised to review this Privacy Policy periodically for any changes. Changes to this Privacy Policy are effective when they are posted on this page.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, You can contact us:

  • By email: team@kasandz.com