Marketing Metrics and Analytics
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Hard and Soft Bounces… What’s the Difference?

Each Webinar series we run, we get questions about the difference between hard and soft bounces.

A 'Hard' bounce is a permanent fatal error such as – the domain no longer exists (company went out of business), the email does not exist (the person retired / left the company / died). Most Email solutions, including Pinpointe's on-demand B2B email marketing, automatically process bounces and either remove them from your email list(s), or change the email status from 'Active' to 'Bounced'. 

Hard bounces are automatically flagged and removed from your list so that you do not 'waste' email credits sending to non-existent emails (doing so can also damage your email credibility).

A 'Soft' bounce is an intermittent, temporary condition. For example, the recipient's email server might be temporarily overloaded or offline; the recipient might be over their inbox quota size or there might be a temporary problem with the remote server configuration.

The most common type of 'soft' bounce reported is 'Blocked Due to Content' – you guessed it – caught in a spam filter.  (Tip: Reduce Blocked Due to Content' errors by running your online email spam checker when editing your email campaign.)

If an email 'soft bounces' due to a temporary problem, most email servers will re-try the email every 10-15 minutes for a period of time.  The retry interval and timeout can be modified.  In Pinpointe, soft bounces are automatically re-tried up to 3 times over the next 4 days, per campaign. After 3 campaigns (a total of 9 retries), if an email is still undeliverable, it is then considered a hard bounce and the status in Pinpointe is changed to 'bounced'.

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