Email bounces are emails which could not be delivered, typically because the receiving server or mailbox (which was supposed to receive the email) encountered a problem with the email delivery mechanism.
How determination of “account reputation” and “email sending quota” carried out?
While you configure SMTP delivery server in your Operion MailBlast account, it automatically adds bounce and complaint files to your related SMTP delivery server account. After this, once you start sending emails through SMTP relay, it communicates the bounce and complaint information with your Operion MailBlast account list and campaign. At your SMTP relay server, based on your bounce and complaint, your account reputation is calculated.
How to build reputation and improve email sending quota?
After the removal of the bounced emails from the database and concrete steps taken towards preventing bounces, your account reputation will enhance and email sending quota will improve automatically based on the new content sending patterns at your SMTP delivery server.
If you have been directed to this article, the Operion MailBlast Application must have noticed that you have a bad “bounce rate” record and need assistance to improve the same. You need to ensure that you adherence with transactional or bulk email best practices. It is very important that you go through this guide so as to improve your account reputation and sending quota, and to ensure that the emails you send through Operion MailBlast Application conforms to the Operion MailBlast “Terms of Service”.
What are the normal bounce rates
Although bounces are an inevitable phenomena while sending emails over a period of time and is considered normal, industry standards state that the overall hard bounce rate should normally be below 3% of the total email volume. Over a period of time, some of the email receiving servers might start blocking delivery of your emails or otherwise can decrease the frequency with which they are willing to accept your email, resulting in delivery delays.
Your SMTP relay server actively monitors and manages the IP addresses being used for sending emails from the system. The relay application needs to send mail quickly, efficiently and with as little delay as possible from the receiving servers. The reputation of the IP addresses are of utmost importance for ensuring deliverability with high success rate for all of our users.
The bounce rate threshold keeps on fluctuating over time based on various factors, one of them is the incoming volume of emails to a particular ISP. Because of this reason, and to avoid providing any sort of a clue or an aid to the spammers in gaming their system, ISPs do not publicly release their threshold values as well as their schedules.
Bottom line: Aim for a bounce rate of less than 5% but keep in mind that this is just a rule of thumb and can vary based on ISPs and a multitude of other factors.
What causes a higher bounce rates
Old, nonfunctional recipient email addresses. Normally, an email address has a very short lifespan. Recipients keep on changing jobs, changing names, and creating newer email addresses and deleting the old ones at will. As a result, there is a high probability that an email address can become invalid over time. As a rule of thumb, the emails which were collected more than six (6) months ago should be considered stale by default and should not be used for sending bulk / mass emails.
Fake or wrong email addresses or email addresses that do not exist at all are also a source for a huge number of bounces.
Usage of unconfirmed or single opt-in lists while sending bulk emails. If the recipients are not required to confirm their email address, typos, old, fake, or stale email addresses can creep into your bulk email list.
How to prevent or at least reduce the bounced rate
Removal of stale or old email addresses – If you have been sending emails on a regular basis, over a period of time, and tracking emails opened and email links clicked, you may consider removing the inactive recipients from your bulk email list. Inactive recipients are those who have not opened the email or clicked on any links in your email in a number of months. This will help reduce bounces as well as ensure a high quality and responsive email list and high engagement with recipients. Higher engagement will help enhance your deliverability as many ISPs use engagement-based filtering. You will also ensure that you are only sending content to people who want it and who are more likely to engage with you and your company.
Cleaning email list prior to sending emails – Operion MailBlast application is not suited to cleaning an email list and hence should not be used to clean your email list. But there are a number of online services which are best suited for the purpose and should be used to clean your bulk email list prior to sending emails.
Operion MailBlast application is not suited to cleaning an email list and hence should not be used to clean your email list.
Validation of email addresses prior to adding it to the application or database. If users are providing their email addresses through an online form, a validation of the email address, using a bit of code, should be done to make sure that the email is technically sound (i.e. contains only one @ symbol, has a valid local and domain portion, etc.). One can also force the users to type the email address twice and make sure that both instances match exactly.
Be extra cautious with online contests or promotions. As an example, in an online contest with a requirement that users enter their own email address as well as refer a friend, the users may be inclined to enter a fake or non-existent email address for the ‘friend’, so as to bypass that requirement. The same goes if there is no verification of the existence of their email address before offering an incentive or reward. One will be left, then, with a large number of emails in their database that will eventually bounce.
If you are sending bulk emails, use a confirmed or double opt-in process. When you use the double opt-in method, you are targeting only those recipients who really want to hear from you. Double opted-in lists have much higher engagement levels over time which translates to more opens and clicks and fewer bounces and unsubscribes. When you use a double opt-in process, people would not be able to sign up with fake, non-existent, or stale email addresses. They need to have a valid email address to opt-in.