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Act-On Software

Understanding Soft Bounces

AUDIENCE: Administrators, Marketing Users
OBJECTIVES:

  • Learn why email messages do not always reach a recipient's inbox
  • Understand the different reasons why an email would 'soft bounce'
  • Learn how to set a threshold of consecutive soft bounces before suppressing them from future email campaigns

Why email messages don't always reach the inbox

Most email messages sent via Act-On are delivered to the recipients as intended; however, there are instances where the message is not accepted by a recipient's remote server. When this occurs, these email addresses will be categorized as a 'soft bounce'. This means that the remote server did not take delivery of the message for one of the following common reasons:

  • Routing errors – The server could not route the message correctly to the proper inbox.The recipient's email host may be experiencing a temporary issue on their network which caused that message to not be received.
  • Policy-related – The recipient's mail server may have restrictions to not allow the delivery of that message. For instance, the recipient's incoming mail server thinks the message is spam, or the sender is not worthy of delivery.
  • Spam-related – The recipient's incoming mail server considers this message to be spam.
  • Message expired – The recipient's server provides no response when attempting to deliver the message. Quota issues - The recipient's mailbox has reached an internal storage limit and cannot accept any incoming messages.
  • Bad Connection - The recipient's mail server was unable to accept the message due to a time-out or inadequate connection quality.

The receiving server can assign a soft bounce error for any reason. For example, a soft bounce error 5.4.1 may be commonly called a 'routing error' as designated by the remote server. Act-On also matches the soft bounce code that we receive and we modify it to reflect a 'policy error'. Act-On continually updates these codes as we gather more information. In addition, Act-On will attempt to send each email for up to 36 hours if there is no response from the recipient’s server. After that time, we will classify this message as a soft bounce with the reason of 'message expired' or 'no answer from host'.

Setting a consecutive soft bounces threshold

Soft bounces are never suppressed unless the account uses the Inactive Soft Bounce functionality. Act-On does not convert a soft bounce to a hard bounce as the email address or domain is still valid. You can set up Act-On to automatically classify a soft bounced email address as inactive soft bounces.

  • Click Contacts Bounces and Opt-Outs.
  • Hover over the Soft Bounces list, and click Move to Inactive Soft Bounces after...
  • Choose how many consecutive soft bounces will be tolerated before moving from Soft Bounces to the Inactive Soft Bounces list.
  • Click Save.

Removing a Contact from the Inactive Soft Bounces List 

Follow the steps below to remove an address from the inactive soft bounce list:

  • Click Contacts, and then click Other Lists, followed by selecting Bounces & Opt-Outs. 
  • Hover over the Soft Bounce List and click on Move to Inactive Soft Bounces after…
  • Change your threshold to ∞ (infinity)
    • This will move all your inactive soft bounces to your Soft Bounce list
  • Now that your desired contacts are in the Soft Bounce list, Act-On will not automatically suppress them.

Once you successfully send a message to a contact in the Soft Bounce list, Act-On will automatically remove them from the Soft Bounce list. Then you can change your inactive threshold back to what it was originally, to move all of the other inactive soft bounces back in to the inactive soft bounce list.

It is recommended that you undertake this process just before sending out a message to the recipients that you want removed from the inactive soft bounce list, because sending to a soft bounce email address will count towards your Active Contacts Limit for the month as a unique email address until it becomes an inactive soft bounce. Inactive soft bounces are suppressed in the same way a hard bounce is suppressed. 

Note: Sending to a soft bounce email address will count towards your Active Contacts Limit for the month as a unique email address until it becomes an inactive soft bounce. Inactive soft bounces are suppressed in the same way a hard bounce is suppressed.
 

 
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