Why do I experience higher email bounce rates around the holiday season?

As an email marketer, you may notice an increase in the amount of valid contacts that hard bounce during the holiday season. This increase can lead to several contacts with valid email addresses being listed as a hard bounce in your account when they should be listed as “Active.” 

There are a few reasons why this can happen:

  • Increased sending volume overall. With more emails being sent and more emails being received by email service providers, the more overloaded those email service providers become. This can cause services, such as Hotmail, to hard bounce contacts with a 5.7.1 (delivery not authorized, message refused) bounce code when they shouldn’t be.
  • Increased emails in an inbox may lead to more contacts marking emails as spam, even when they’re not. With contacts receiving more and more emails this time of year, they may mark emails as spam instead of clicking an unsubscribe link. This can cause email service providers to be extra vigilant with refusing emails.
  • Spammers increase the amount of emails they send around the holidays too. From black Friday through the New Year, spammers take advantage of the holidays (and bare-bone compliance teams) to get their messages sent.

What we’re doing on our end to help

We are implementing code on our end to help prevent this situation from happening to our customers. If we see valid contacts bouncing with a 5.7.1 code, won’t mark them as hard bounced so that they’ll continue to receive your emails.

We are also actively working with customers to de-bounce valid contacts so that any temporary blocks don’t cause your contacts to be permanently logged as bounced.

Best practices you can implement to help avoid high bounce rates during the holiday season:

  • Send to clean lists and engaged contacts. We also recommend not sending to new lists at this time.
  • Make sure your emails use consistent branding (design, name, sender information, etc.) so as to avoid confusing your subscribers as they scroll through their inbox.
  • Send targeted, triggered, personalized emails instead of larger, one-time campaigns. Large campaign sends are more likely to be identified as spam.
  • If you see a valid contact that hard bounced with a 5.7.1 code, reach out to us and we can resolve this issue for you.

For more information about bounces and how to prevent them, click here.

Click here to read our guide on best practices for email deliverability.

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