September 8, 2018
An Email Marketing Glossary Entry

What is a Bounce?

A bounce is an auto-responder message delivered to the sender when an outbound mail could not be delivered to one or more of its recipient. Emails can bounce for a number of reasons, including:

  • the recipient's email address is incorrect
  • the recipient's email account has been closed
  • the recipient’s mailbox is full
  • the receiving mail server is down
  • the system detects spam or otherwise blocked content


  1. You send an email to and
  2. You receive a bounce message from the mail server at stating that y's account is not valid.
  3. x received the email message as intended; y (or whoever that person was supposed to own the account) didn't.

How to handle bounces in email marketing?

In most email marketing workflow, you will not directly receive bounce messages. Instead, because the messages are sent through an intermediate ESP, the latter will  report the bounce and it's reason to you as part of their reports.

Also Known as:

  • Bounced e-mail
  • Bounced mail
  • Bounce message

See Also:

  • Hard bounce
  • Soft bounce
The Mailman

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