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Bounce Your Email Bounce Rate

Blog by Ian Luck
January 26, 2023

There are certain bouncing records that would be pretty cool to hold. For instance in 2015, Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Florida Southern College set a Guinness World Record after spending 48 hours straight in a bouncy castle. Or Kuo-Sheng Lin of Taiwan, who holds the record for most bounces of a soap bubble, with 195. However, a bounce record that nobody should want any part is the highest percentage of bounced emails in your customer retention surveying initiatives!

So let’s bring this full circle from “fun” bounces involving playhouses and soap bubbles to the real world of email bounces. I’ll start with some numbers because, well, everyone loves some fancy statistics*.

*All statistics based on CustomerGauge data for the 2016 calendar year.

Email Bounce Rates Differ Per Region

4.6% of all records uploaded into CustomerGauge end up bouncing. That number was slightly higher for US customers (6.8%), and slightly lower for EU customers (3.4%). AU customers were right around the average.


Why is the US higher? Well, non-US citizens often poke fun at us for being lazy and in this case, painful as it may be to admit, they could be onto something (which we’ll elaborate on in the next section).

If you thought this was going to be an entire post (or even section) on how to avoid high bounce rates, you might be slightly disappointed. Or, hopefully, actually happy to learn that it’s way simpler than you may have thought.

How to Avoid High Email Bounce Rates

They key to avoiding a high bounce rate is...drum roll your data! Overall, there are two main reasons an email bounces:

  • The email address is no longer active (i.e., the contact person no longer works there)
  • The email address was uploaded with an invalid format or a typo (contained a space, was missing the @ symbol, etc.)

In the case of scenario #1, you can reach out to the organization to see if the contact person is indeed no longer working there. If so, update the contact record in your CRM. In the case of scenario #2, just fix up your data and re-send the survey! It’s a shame to miss out on valuable survey response data because your data had instead of (can you tell this is something that has happened before?).

I wasn’t kidding when I said it’s that simple; this is not rocket science!

Typically, there’s an easy fix within your own system to help remedy the issue. For example, in CustomerGauge, individuals head over to their CustomerGauge-provided Data Transport Report, and pulls a list of all bounced emails so they can review their data (a perfect project for an intern!) and clean it up for next time. You can even use a tool to check emails to further improve your bounce rates.


Why It’s Good to Benchmark Email Bounce Rates

“Now, hold on a minute” you say. “Aren’t you the same Andrew who told us in a previous blog post that we shouldn’t waste our time with external benchmarks?” Yes, indeed I am. However, not all benchmarks are ill-advised, as that was in regards to benchmarks specifically on NPS score alone.

While those types of benchmarks are less valuable, benchmarks around email sending statistics like bounces, open rates, etc. are infinitely more insightful, and can even help you better align your procedures with best practices.

Stay tuned for some more statistical analysis posts from me, including survey completion & abandonment rates, as well as email open and click through rates.

Want to learn more about how to get customers to open your emails and take your surveys? Check out our Fine Art of Surveying eBook for all the details.

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