What Are Bounces and How Does CleverReach Handle Them?

When an email can’t be properly delivered to a recipient, this causes a bounce. In this post, we’ll tell you everything about bounces and how CleverReach handles bounced email addresses.  


What Are Bounces?

When sending an email to a recipient, it may happen that the receiving server doesn’t accept your email.  

Your email virtually bounces and can’t be delivered.

The receiving server then reports back that the email couldn’t be delivered. We automatically process this information for you. The bounced recipient is highlighted with a blue checkbox in your CleverReach account:  


What Types of Bounces Exist and How Does CleverReach Handle Them?

There are two types of bounces – 1) Soft bounces and 2) Hard bounces

  • Soft bounces are rejections for temporary reasons. The most common reason is a full inbox. We try to deliver a newsletter to these recipients several times before they get bounced for a month. After that month they will be reactivated automatically and receive your emails.
  • Hard bounces are rejections for permanent reasons. The most common reason is a no longer existing inbox. If you write to a mailbox that no longer exists, CleverReach automatically receives the information from the receiving server that your delivery to this recipient will no longer be possible permanently. The recipient is then immediately blocked by CleverReach for at least 1 year.

Summary Table

Bounce Type                                        Blocking Duration

Soft bounce                                         1 month

Hard bounce                                        at least 1 year

At the end of the blocking period the bounces are automatically reactivated, and you can contact them again.  

Where Do I Find the Bounce Reports in My Account and What Do They Show?

The best way to view a list of your bounces and their causes is to take a look at your [Reports].

Each time after you’ve sent out a newsletter, we give you a detailed bounce report listing all the email addresses your email couldn’t be delivered to.

Click on [Reports] and access the respective report. Click on [Bounces]. You can download a file under [Action] – [Export Bounce Report] that shows all bounced addresses and causes.  


Unfortunately, bounce messages are not standardized - that is, each receiving server has its very own wording. You can find a list of the most common bounce messages here.

When looking at the activities of your recipients, you can also view the bounce report, blocking duration and what caused the bounce. Go to [Recipients] in your CleverReach account and navigate to the recipient list and your recipient. If the bounce was caused by one of your emails, the [Activities] show you the cause.


If there is no activity listed concerning the bounce report, it was caused by a different email and has ended up on the bounce index. Our bounce index is managed globally, i.e. across all customers.

Are There Other Ways to View My Bounced Recipients?

You can also view your bounces directly in the recipient list. Navigate to [Recipients] in your recipient list. Now switch the filter from [All] to [Bounces] to view only the bounced recipients. Please note that you can’t see the bounce report at this point. Export the list by clicking on the top right button.   


The third way to see bounced recipients in your account is by directly navigating to [Recipients]. Click on the [Bounces] tab and on [Find and download bounces].


You get a list of all recipients that are bounced in your account - please note that only the list of email addresses will be exported.

Can Bounces Be Unblocked? If Yes, How?

Our service team can’t unblock correct soft and hard bounces before the blocking period has passed. Our bounce management ensures the best possible reputation for our servers and your emails.  

In case email addresses that are up-to-date and correct are reported back as bounces, please contact our service team. Contact them via our contact form or via email (support@cleverreach.com). Please give us your customer ID and a list of the bounced recipients (preferably in an excel sheet) for our team to respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible. Thank you in advance.

What Can I Do to Lower the Bounce Rate of My Newsletters?

Most bounces occur because some inboxes are full or no longer exist. It’s quite normal that each of your emails generates a couple of bounces. What number actually is „normal“ depends on the number of recipients you contact. There is no benchmark.

Bounces sometimes occur when receiving servers think your newsletters are spam. To increase the deliverability of your emails and minimize bounces due to spam suspicions, please follow these steps.

Why Do I Have Email Addresses Blocked and Bounced for 30 Years?

Some email providers like t-online demand a longer blocking duration for hard bounces. To ensure that our emails - your newsletters - reach all recipients in the best possible way, we comply with the wishes of the providers. At the moment, this concerns t-online addresses in particular.

I Can't Find a Bounce Reason for an Address - Why? / An Address is Already Marked as Bounce After Import, Although I Never Contacted it - Why?

CleverReach works with a global (across all customers) bounce index.

This means that if a newsletter recipient has been contacted by another customer - and the email is bounced - then we already know that this recipient is currently or permanently unavailable. These addresses are then also immediately marked as a bounce in your account.

With every import, a comparison is automatically made with our cross-customer bounce index. Therefore, it can happen that email addresses are already displayed as bounces during the import.

If you contacted inboxes that no longer exist, although there has already been a bounce report, this would have a negative impact on the reputation of your emails and those of all our customers.

All You Need at a Glance

  • Bounces emerge when a receiving server can’t or doesn’t accept your email
  • CleverReach doesn’t trigger bounces, the receiving servers inform us about bounces.
  • CleverReach doesn’t know which email addresses get bounced before sending out the newsletter.
  • Most bounces occur because inboxes are full or no longer exist.
  • We automatically manage all bounces for you – if possible, bounced recipients will be unblocked after a certain amount of time
  • To improve your deliverability and reduce the number of bounces, we have collected everything you need to know in this helpcenter post.
  • You can’t compare the numbers from the bounce report of an email with the ones in your recipient list. The bounces in the report only refer to that specific email, the bounces within a recipient list refer to all your emails.
  • The bounces are managed globally. It is possible that addresses are marked as bounces in your system although you haven’t contacted them yet. Our system recognizes these addresses that have already been contacted without success several times.
  • You can’t simply reactivate bounces, but our service team can. Please write an email with your customer ID and the bounced email addresses to support@cleverreach.com or use our contact form.

Help & Support

If you have questions or need additional details, please contact our service team at any time.