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Soft Bounce

Soft Bounce

Soft Bounce occurs when an email is temporarily undeliverable to the recipient’s inbox. Unlike a hard bounce, which is caused by permanent issues like an invalid email address, a soft bounce is often due to temporary problems such as a full inbox or a server issue. When an email soft bounces, it is usually reattempted for delivery over a certain period, typically within 24 to 72 hours, before being classified as a hard bounce.

TL;DR What is Soft Bounce?

Soft Bounce refers to the temporary failure of an email to be delivered to the recipient’s inbox, often due to issues like a full inbox or a temporary server problem. It differs from a hard bounce, which indicates a permanent delivery failure.


Understanding soft bounces is crucial in email marketing as it helps marketers distinguish between temporary and permanent delivery failures. By identifying soft bounces, marketers can take appropriate actions such as retrying delivery or updating recipient information. Ignoring soft bounces can lead to wasted resources and negatively impact email campaign performance.

Examples/Use Cases

  • A soft bounce occurs when a recipient’s inbox is full, preventing new emails from being delivered.
  • Temporary server issues on the recipient’s end can cause soft bounces, delaying email delivery until the issue is resolved.


  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Marketing
  • Communication
  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • Technology



  • Temporary bounce
  • Soft fail



Key Components/Features

  • Temporary delivery failure
  • Retry mechanism
  • Temporary nature

Related Terms

  • Hard Bounce
  • Email Deliverability
  • Inbox Placement
  • Email Validation

Tips/Best Practices:

  1. Keep your email list clean by regularly removing invalid or inactive email addresses to reduce the likelihood of soft bounces.
  2. Monitor your email delivery rates and investigate any sudden increases in soft bounces, as they could indicate underlying issues with your email infrastructure or recipient engagement.
  3. Implement email authentication protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC to improve email deliverability and reduce the chances of your emails bouncing.
  4. Personalize your email content and send relevant information to your subscribers to maintain their interest and engagement, reducing the likelihood of them marking your emails as spam or causing soft bounces.
  5. Use a reputable email service provider (ESP) that offers features like bounce management and delivery optimization to help minimize soft bounce rates and maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns.

Further Reading/Resources


What causes a soft bounce?

A soft bounce can be caused by various temporary issues such as a full recipient inbox, temporary server problems, or content filtering issues. These issues prevent the email from being delivered temporarily but do not indicate a permanent delivery failure.

How can I reduce the occurrence of soft bounces?

To reduce soft bounces, ensure that your email list is regularly updated to remove invalid or inactive addresses. Implement email authentication protocols, personalize your email content, and use a reputable email service provider to optimize deliverability.

Is a soft bounce the same as a hard bounce?

No, a soft bounce and a hard bounce are different. A soft bounce indicates a temporary delivery failure, often due to issues like a full inbox or temporary server problems, while a hard bounce indicates a permanent delivery failure, typically caused by an invalid or nonexistent email address.

What should I do if my emails consistently soft bounce?

If your emails consistently soft bounce, investigate the root cause by analyzing your email delivery metrics and recipient engagement. Address any underlying issues such as poor list hygiene, content quality, or technical problems with your email infrastructure.

Can a soft bounce affect my email deliverability?

Yes, ignoring soft bounces can negatively impact your email deliverability over time. High soft bounce rates can signal to email providers that your emails may not be reaching their intended recipients, potentially affecting your sender reputation and inbox placement.

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