Is your email bounce rate better than average?

It’s essential for email marketers to pay attention to metrics.

These statistics help determine the success of your email campaigns. Marketers will commonly look at the average email click-through rate, open rate, and conversion rate as the most important metrics.

These are great indicators of how well your campaign is doing. However, there is one well-known metric that may be overlooked by marketers that can make a major difference in your email engagement.

This article will explain why tracking the average email bounce rate is so important for email marketing campaigns. We’ll also take a look at the acceptable email bounce rate and provide a few helpful tips about how you can improve this statistic in your campaigns.

What does your average email bounce mean?

Your average email bounce rate tells you the percentage of emails that were not delivered. Your undelivered emails can be grouped into two different categories—soft bounces and hard bounces.

Soft bounces are generally just a temporary issue. They can be caused by a full email inbox or a server issue. Contacts that send back a soft bounce should not be removed for your email list yet. But you should keep an eye on them for future deliverability problems.

Hard bounces are more of an issue for email marketers. Your message will hard bounce the email address or domain you are sending to does not exist. This can also indicate that your recipient’s server is automatically classifying your email as junk or spam.

If left untreated, hard bounces can have a serious impact on your future email marketing campaigns. Hard bounced email contacts should be removed from your contact list immediately and never sent to again.

What is an acceptable email bounce rate?

It’s very rare that you’ll have an email campaign that has a 100% deliverability rate. Even if you’ve taken all of the steps to ensure the credibility of your contact list, there are certain factors you simply can’t control.

The accepted benchmark for bounced emails is 2%. This means for every 100 emails you send, two will be returned to you. Often times, your bounce rate will be much lower.

Anything between 2% and 5% is worth noting. It might just be a temporary problem that resolves itself in your next email send. If you notice a bounce rate greater than 5%, you need to take immediate steps to determine the issue.

It’s also important to note that bounce rates may be slightly different based on industry. Just like how you saw different email open rates by industry in 2018, you’ll also notice different bounce rates.

Smart Insights compiled this helpful list of email marketing metrics by industry. It includes open and click-through rates, as well as information about hard and soft bounces. You’ll notice the construction industry tends to have higher bounce rates, while the coupons and daily deals industry bounce rates are very low.

Smart Insights email marketing metrics

Image Source: Smart Insights

Obviously, lower bounce rates are better for your email campaigns because more people will receive your messages. This could have a major impact on your overall email engagement.

How to improve your average email bounce rate

Some bounce rate issues can’t be controlled. However, there are a few big steps you can take to make sure your emails end up in your recipients’ inboxes.

Here are 5 ways to improve your average email bounce rate.

1. Require double opt-in for new contacts.

One of the best ways to confirm that you are receiving correct email addresses on your sign-up forms is to require a double opt-in.

Rather than allowing new leads to be added to your list by providing their email addresses, a double opt-in would require them to confirm the address that they submitted. This is commonly done through an automated email that is sent immediately after they provide their address.

Take a look at this double opt-in email example from Air Table.

AirTable double opt-in email example
Image Source: Really Good Emails

This email simply included a brief copy and a link to click that would confirm that customer’s email address. A CTA button would have also worked in this situation.

Some marketers will argue that double opt-in can harm your lead generation efforts. They aren’t entirely wrong, but the failure rate for double opt-in is about 27%. So, 1 in 4 people who submit their email addresses won’t confirm. That’s more than twice the failure rate for single opt-in.

However, double opt-in helps build a more engaged email list with contacts you know provided a real email address. A lead can easily misspell their email address on a single opt-in form, which would cause their email to bounce.

If you care about quality over quantity—and you should—then double opt-in is your best bet.

2. Regularly scrub your email list.

Just because you’re sending to a good email list right now doesn’t mean those contacts will still be active in a year.

As much as 30% of your list can change in one year. Your contacts could change or delete their email addresses. Or in the case of B2B customers, they could get a new job or move to a new company. If you try to send to one of these email addresses, you will get a hard bounce.

You can use a third-party source like NeverBounce to scrub your lists. These services generally integrate with many popular email providers. They will evaluate your lists to make sure your contacts are real and valid email addresses or domains.

3. Don’t make your email look like spam.

Even if you have a clean email list, your emails can still bounce if you end up in your contacts’ junk folders.

More than 53% of global emails sent are spam. And not all of these emails are from generous Nigerian princes who are willing to share their inheritance. So, email service providers are taking advanced steps to weed out these types of messages for their customers. These emails will generally end up in the junk or spam folder and will be hidden from the main inbox.

Here are a few ways you can make sure your emails get past these spam filters:

  • Make sure your email doesn’t have broken images or formatting issues.

  • Include your contact information and address in your footer.

  • Avoid words that are associated with spam.

When an email is not designed for the best user experience, it is more likely to be labeled as junk or spam and bounce.

4. Segment your email lists by engagement.

Some email service providers consider open and click-through rates of your emails as part of their spam filters. It isn’t a major influencer, but it does factor in. Consider segmenting your lists by engagement and sending to your most engaged customers first.

You should see improved statistics as a result of this tactic. This will help show email service providers that your messages pass the engagement test. Unless you are getting a higher than normal unsubscribe or spam rate, this should help reduce your bounces.

5. Avoid using a purchased email list.

Don’t even think about it. Using a purchased list is a surefire way to see a surge in bounced emails.

The contacts on a purchased list did not give you permission to send to them, so they might mark your emails as spam. If you receive too many spam complaints, that domain might block your emails for everyone.

You also risk violating CAN-SPAM laws by using purchased lists by sending to contacts who didn’t opt in. This could cause your emails to get blocklisted, which would have an immediate impact on your open, click-through, and conversion rates. Getting your IP off of the blocklist can be a frustrating process and may take some time. You could also face heavy fines—up to $41,000 per email that you sent.

Plus, most email software won’t allow you to send to purchased lists anyway, so you’re really just wasting your time and money.

Wrap up

Understanding your average email bounce rate is important for the success of your email marketing. It’s crucial to know why your messages are not being delivered and the overall impact it can have on your ROI.

If you are not seeing an acceptable email bounce rate in your campaign, you should immediately take steps to solve the problem. Consider using a double opt-in, scrubbing your contact list, and reevaluating your email design.

And remember, never send to a purchased list. It’s just not worth it.

Are you ready to get started building emails that will be successful? Request your free demo today and see how we can work together to analyze and improve your email statistics.

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