Maintaining a Directory of Leads Bouncing Emails

Document created by b314881cf2c6f34ff6c1ea07c3f07a199f877a57 Employee on Oct 6, 2015
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Maintaining an Active Directory of Bounces With Details


Bounce activities carry details for why the email was bounced, but it’s housed within the activity log entry, not in a field on the lead record, so it’s difficult to export that data. This article will show you how to extract that information to create a directory of leads bouncing emails and how to make the list automatically update. This will also create counters for bounces and successful redeliveries after bounces happen.


Data you’ll get from Bounce Details:

Bounce Categories. Bounces come in different types depending on why the email was bounced.


Hard Bounces come in two types, Category 1 and Category 2.

  • Category 1 bounces are emails that have been marked as spam by the recipient mail server. Many email servers monitor blacklists or spam traps, so after delisting with them, leads that have had a Category 1 bounce previously may be able to receive emails again.
  • Category 2 bounces occur due to an email address that is invalid or doesn’t exist.


Soft Bounces come in three different types, Categories 3, 4 or 9.

  • Category 3 bounces are usually temporary, caused by full mailboxes, timeouts, or throttling. After these bounces happen, delivery is retried for 36 hours, so the email may still be received.
  • Category 4 bounces are caused by technical problems, Transient Failures, Admin Failures, DNS Failures. Delivery is not reattempted.
  • Category 9 bounces are unknown, undetermined or gibberish details. Delivery isn’t reattempted


Bounce Details. When an email is bounced, the recipient mail server includes details of why it was bounced. These are created by the admin of the recipient mail server and vary greatly, but most will give some explanation that can give valuable information


1. Create 6 custom fields

You’ll need 6 custom fields, two DateTime fields, two Score fields, and two String fields

  • Name the DateTime fields “Bounce Date” and “Email Delivered After Bounce”.
  • Name the Score fields “Email Bounces” and “Deliveries After Bounces”
  • Name the String fields “Email Bounce Details” and “Email Bounce Category”


Directions for creating Custom Fields can be found here


2. Create a Static List and two Smart Campaigns

First create a Program to house everything, then create a Static List and two Smart Campaigns.


A. Your first Smart Campaign will be used to listen for any email bounces that occur. The campaign will populate the “Bounce Date”, “Email Bounce Category” and “Email Bounce Details” fields. It will then add one point to the “Email Bounces” score field which can be used to count how many bounces have occurred per lead. Lastly, the campaign will add the lead to the static list which will be an active directory of leads who are bouncing emails.


  • In the Smart List of the campaign, use the two triggers of “Email Bounces” and “Email Bounces Soft”. Set both triggers to “is any” so that they will fire whenever any email bounces for any reason.

Bounce Tokens.PNG


  • The Flow of the campaign will have 5 flow steps and will use a System Token and some Trigger Tokens, which can be used to pull details out of the action that activated the trigger.


Flow Step 1: Change Data Value

Attribute: “Bounce Date”

New Value: {{system.dateTime}}


Flow Step 2: Change Data Value.

Attribute: “Email Bounce Category”

New Value: {{trigger.category}}


Flow Step 3: Change Data Value

Attribute: “Email Bounce Details”

New Value: {{trigger.details}}


Flow Step 4: Change Score

Score Name: “Email Bounces”

Change: +1


Flow Step 5: Add to List

List Name: “Active Bounce List”


When finished, your Flow will look like this:

Bounce Tokens Flow campaign 1.PNG


B. Your second Smart Campaign will be listening for any leads who have had bounces in the past but were able to successfully receive a new email since the bounce occurred. The campaign will populate the “Email Delivered After Bounce” field with when email was delivered and then add one point to the “Deliveries After Bounces” score field so that you know how often this is happening. The campaign will then remove the lead from the Static List so that the list will only be showing leads actively bouncing emails.


  • The Smart List of the campaign will need a trigger for “Email is Delivered” set to “is any” and also a filter of “Member of List” looking just for leads that belong to your Static List. This way, the campaign will only apply to leads who have had a recent bounce and have then had an email delivered afterwards.

Bounce Tokens Flow campaign 2 SL.PNG


  • The Flow of the campaign will have 3 flow steps to mark when the email was delivered, add a point to the Score Field and then remove the lead from the Static List.


Flow Step 1: Change Data Value

Attribute: “Email Delivered After Bounce”

New Value: {{system.dateTime}}


Flow Step 2: Change Score

Score Name: “Deliveries After Bounces”

Change: +1


Flow Step 3: Remove from List

List Name: Operational.Active Bounce List


When finished, your Flow will look like this:

Bounce Tokens Flow campaign 2 flow.PNG


3. Create a custom view of the list to show the bounce details

The custom fields you’ve created for email bounce information won’t show automatically in the view of your list. You can create a new view of the list to show just this information so that when it is exported it will give you only the email bounce information you need.

Directions for creating Custom Views can be found here


Bounce list view.PNG


Once the list has the necessary details, it can be exported with those columns included so that you can work with it like to identify emerging trends and issues with your deliverability.