Understanding email campaign bounces

Updated on 04-February-2021 at 3:39 PM

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This article provides an overview and explanation of how to troubleshoot bounced email recipients and other related factors.

Understanding why some email campaigns require approval

To see if your campaign requires approval, navigate to E-Mail Marketing > E-Mail Campaigns and hover over the name of your campaign. If it requires approval the text 'Campaign Awaiting Approval' will display, as per the screenshot below.

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If you find that your email campaign requires approval before sending this can occur due to multiple reasons.

All email campaigns sent from a trial site will require approval. This is because the email campaign feature on trial sites is intended to only be used for testing purposes only. If an email campaign on a trial site requires approval, the campaign itself will be manually checked by a member of the Business Catalyst support team, and if it can be verified that the campaign is intended to test the email campaign functionality, the campaign will be approved. However, if the email campaign is deemed to have an excessive amount of recipients, the campaign may be denied.

There may be rare instances where you find that although the site you are sending an email campaign from is a live site, the email campaign still requires approval before sending. This is usually the case because past email campaigns sent form that particular site have encountered a high bounce rate. A high bounce rate is classified as over 1% of the recipients on the associated mailing list. The reason as to why these email campaigns require approval is that due to the high bounce rates, when the email campaign is sent, these bounce rates can negatively affect our email servers sending reputation. Therefore, please remove any emails that have previously hard bounced from your mailing list before attempting to send any additional email campaigns

Otherwise, if you are sending an email campaign from a live site and do not have a high bounce rate, yet the campaign still requires approval, please reach out directly to the Business Catalyst support team.

How to check if an email address has bounced

In order to check which email addresses have bounced after an email campaign has completed sending, navigate to E-Mail Marketing > E-Mail Campaigns and click on your email campaign. On the Reports tab click Email addresses that bounced. A display box will appear which will allow you to view soft bounces and hard bounces in separate views.

Warning: the acceptable email campaign bounce rate should stay under 1%. Bounce rates over this limit are usually generated by sending campaigns to purchased mailing lists or to customers that haven?t gone through the double opt-in process and haven?t signed up to receive newsletters form your site.

In order to view the specific error message as to why the email address bounced, hover over the message under Bounce Type for a more detailed explanation.

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Soft bounces vs Hard bounces

A soft bounce will occur if an email campaign is sent as far as the recipients mail server however is unable to be delivered to the specific recipient. This can occur in situations where the recipient email address may have a full inbox or if the from-address of the email campaign is on the recipients block list. If you find that an email address continually soft bounces, then we recommend removing this recipient from your mailing list as this address may never not bounce.

A hard bounce will occur if the recipients email address is invalid or if the domain name does not exist. If an email address hard bounces it will be opted-out from any future email campaigns. If the email address bounced due to an issue that has since been fixed, it is possible to opt-them in again for future campaigns. To do this, look up their account within your CRM and navigate to the Subscriptions tab.

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Understanding Business Catalyst's Internal Blacklist

An email address will hard bounce after an email campaign has been sent if it cannot be reached. What occurs thereafter is that this email address will be unsubscribed from all mailing lists and added to Business Catalyst's internal blacklist - note this is different to the AWS suppression list. Everytime you send an email campaign our system will check the internal blacklist. If an email address is on that blacklist, our system will not attempt to send the email campaign to that address and it will appear as a hard bounce with a specific bounce type.

In order to remove an email address from the internal suppression list, you will need to force opt-in the CRM contact associated with this address. To do this, look up this email address within your CRM and navigate to the Subscriptions tab.

Understanding the AWS suppression list

If an email address is on the AWS suppression list, when a system email such as an email campaign is sent from your Business Catalyst site to that address, you will encounter the following bounce message:

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What has occurred here is that the recipient email address has a recent history of hard bounces. In order for AWS to protect their sending reputation, the offending email address is added to an internal list as to prevent any actual hard bounces from occurring. If the offending email address was previously having issues with their mailbox but has since been rectified, please reach out to the Business Catalyst support team and they can remove the email address from the suppression list. You can read more about this policy here .