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Soft Bounce vs. Hard Bounce: What is the Difference?

If you’re organizing an email list, it’s essential to comprehend Soft bounce vs. Hard bounce. A soft bounce is when an email bounces back due to a temporary issue, such as a full mailbox or a down server. 

A hard bounce is when an email bounces back due to a permanent problem, such as an invalid email address. Hard bounces should be filtered out from your list, so you stop sending emails to addresses that never receive them.

What is a “bounce” in email marketing?

Regarding email marketing, a “bounce” is an automated response from the receiving server, implying that the message has been rejected or the recipient’s inbox is full. 

Usually, a bounced message will be returned to the original sender with further information about why the email could not be delivered. 

This type of issue can range in severity from a temporary technical issue to an out-of-date or invalid email address that needs to be updated. Therefore, comprehending how to address bounces and their causes is vital for successful email campaigns.

Soft bounce Vs. Hard bounce

Comprehending the differences between a “soft bounce” and a “hard bounce” is crucial to any email marketing campaign

A soft bounce is an email that has been temporarily rejected and can still be delivered later, while a hard bounce suggests that the email address is no longer valid. 

Soft bounces happen due to a mail server overload or an invalid recipient address, while hard bounces can indicate that the address is not in service, is misspelled, or is blocked by a spam filter. 

It’s essential to be aware of this distinction since tracking both bounces allows you to identify and address problems with your email list, ensuring maximum engagement with your target audience.

How to avoid bounces in your email campaigns?

Email bounces are a common issue for marketers looking to push engagement with their campaigns. Soft bounces occur when the recipient’s inbox is full, or their server is unavailable. 

On the other hand, hard bounces happen when an email address is invalid. Ensure your contact data is segmented and up-to-date to avoid bouncing back your emails. 

Email verification tools can help by sorting out invalid email addresses before they reach your audience and preventing any hard bounces.

 Keeping track of how many emails soft bounce at a time will also help you know when it might be time to pause any campaigns and clean up your lists.

What are the consequences of having too many bounces on your list?

The consequences of having too many bounces on your list can quickly lead to a major issue. 

Depending on the type of bounce, it can lead to emails not being received by the intended recipient, deteriorating deliverability rates, or even emails being blocked. 

For instance, if you experience a high rate of hard bounces in your list, this suggests to ISPs that the contacts you are trying to reach aren’t valid, harming future campaigns from reaching their desired inboxes. 

At best, it shows that your list is out-of-date; at worst, it means you are engaging in spam and misleading tactics. This can ultimately impact your reputation and trustworthiness as an email list sender, which is crucial for brands that rely on repeat business and customer loyalty.


Bounces can significantly affect email campaigns if not appropriately managed. Comprehending the Soft bounces vs. hard bounces is essential to respond to emails appropriately. 

Setting up an email list with correct information, using double opt-in settings, and regularly auditing your list are all strategies to lower the chances of getting bounces. 

Additionally, having a good understanding of your ESPs bounce management policies will be helpful. 

Having this knowledge under your belt will help you avoid any potential deliverability issues with your emails and ensure maximum success from your email campaigns!


Stella is a content writer at NotifyVisitors, a marketing automation software that helps businesses to expand their reach. Apart from writing, she enjoys reading and cooking.