Email Bounce Rate: What It Is & 5 Tips to Reduce

What is Email Bounce Rate
Email Bounce Rate

When you hit the send button on your carefully designed email campaign, you want to see customers engage with it, click on links, make purchases, etc. You don’t want to read messages like

“The email account that you tried to reach does not exist”


“Message temporarily rejected”

Emails bounce back for many reasons. It could be the recipient having a full inbox with no space for new messages, an email address that is no longer in use, the server being under maintenance… Irrespective of the reason, it skews your analytics and is frustrating to deal with. Left unaddressed, a high bounce rate can make your marketing efforts ineffective and affect your brand reputation. The good news is, you don’t have to feel helpless- here’s what you need to know.

When should you be concerned about your email bounce rate?

It would be lovely to have a 100% delivery rate but this may not always be feasible. If your customer has a full inbox, there’s little you can do about it. So, having a small percentage of emails bounce back is considered acceptable. Having up to 2% of your emails bounce back is understandable. Of course, it would be preferable to drop this even further. As your bounce rate decreases, your delivery rates and open rates increase.

A bounce rate higher than 5% should set off the alarm bells. Not only does this mean that your messages aren’t reaching your audience, but it also means that you’re at risk of having your IP address flagged as spam. Even worse, your domain could be blacklisted.

Easy Ways to Reduce Your Email Bounce Rate

The key to running email campaigns with a low bounce rate lies in having a clean, well-organized database. Here are a few things you should be doing.

1. Get consent – twice

It may be tempting to buy an email mailing list instead of expanding your audience, this may cripple your campaigns. Neither are these email addresses verified nor is there any way to know if the people using them are interested in your products/ services.

Instead, build your mailing list organically and get people to willingly sign up to be on your mailing list. From free e-book downloads to priority access, there are many incentives you could use. To protect yourself from fake signups, consider a double opt-in process where the person signing up has to click on a link in the sign-up email to confirm their account. 

2. Verify email addresses regularly

When people change their email addresses, they may not inform you of the change. Hence, you can’t assume that validating email addresses during the sign-up process is enough to keep your database clean. Statistically speaking, an email marketing database decays at a rate of 22.5% annually. Hence, you need to clean through your email database at least once every few months to ensure that you aren’t including an invalid email address in your mailing list.

The easiest way to do this is by using an email verification tool. This will compare the email addresses in your records against reliable third-party databases to verify that they are accurate and in use. In addition, these tools can identify and remove duplicate email addresses that may be skewing your campaign analytics.

3. Segment your mailing lists

A high spam score is one of the reasons why your emails may be bouncing back. If you send emails with irrelevant content, recipients may tag them as spam and send them out of their primary inbox. Thus, even if it is being delivered, the chances of it being seen and read are minimal. What’s worse, a high spam rate may result in your domain itself being tagged as a spammer. As a result, it could be suspended and blocked.

To keep this from happening, design thoughtfully with offers that the recipient has a high chance of being interested in. Further, segment your mailing list for every campaign to make sure emails are sent out only to people you think may be interested in the included offer. Mailing lists can be segmented by demographics, engagement with the brand, previous purchases, etc.

4. Use a business domain

When you’re sending out emails on behalf of a brand, do not use free sender domains. Gmail and Yahoo are great for personal email communication but as a business, you need a verified domain for email communication. An email from has a lower chance of being marked as spam as compared to It strengthens the brand image and encourages customers to click on it.

For your domain to be authenticated, it must be at least 30 days old, be a valid website and not just a blank page and have an MX record. There may be additional requirements based on the platform you’re using to send emails.

5. Review and analyze every campaign

The faster you address your bounce rate, the easier it is to fix. In addition to making efforts to include only valid, verified email addresses in your campaigns, review campaign analytics to identify other things that may or may not be working in your favour.

A/B testing of marketing campaigns can be very helpful in improving campaign deliverability and performance. Along with your bounce rate, monitor campaign open rates, response rates, un-subscription rates and so on.

Lower bounce rate = higher engagement

Lowering your bounce rate gives you many benefits. Most importantly, it protects your brand reputation and gives you opportunities to improve customer engagement. Fighting a high bounce rate isn’t as difficult as you might imagine.

All you need to do is pay attention to the email addresses in your mailing list, verify and validate them, use segmented lists and of course, create unique, well-structured emails with relevant content.

Using an email verification tool can play a significant role in maintaining a high-quality email database. Your efforts will reap rich dividends as your emails reach customer inboxes to nurture relationships with them and in turn, increase your conversion rate