Talking Email Podcast: Why emails bounce and how to handle them responsibly?

Anna Ward, the Head of Deliverability at Postmark, gives us an in-depth look at bounces.
We discuss what bounces are, why they happen, and what can be done about them. If you’re looking for tips to improve bounce handling for your app be sure to tune in!

Listen or read full transcript here:

Sloppy senders just don’t get good inbox placement. They don’t get good deliverability and they don’t get good engagement. So if you’re not paying attention to bounces, you’re sending a message that you’re not a good sender and maybe what you’re sending isn’t really that important.

You really need an ESP that gives you visibility into every logged response to your mail, made human readable. So I know there’s a lot of ESPs that may just say, “Oh, the message bounced.” And it was a hard bounce and you don’t really get any indication about like, “Okay, what did they specifically say? Was it an NDR? Was it a failure during the transaction?” Like, give me some more details about what’s going on.

So try to find an ESP that gives you a lot of visibility into that. So that you can come back to them and say, “Hey, this doesn’t look right. Can you make adjustments?” And that’s really important to my job is feedback from our customers when they see something a little off. I think that empowering the customers of an ESP, you’re only going to make that ESP better and better because they’re kind of like your own little QA team.

So not only does Postmark show a general category and tries to make those categories useful for analytics — hard, soft, transient, autoresponder, like all these different types of bounce types that could happen — we’re trying to make them relevant. Anyone can log into their account and take a look at any one of those individual bounces and see the specific log of what exactly happened. And if it’s an NDR, they can see the entire message headers and all, where it came from. And so a lot of that is great for not only updating your bounce processing but also maybe taking it back to the recipient or the receiver to help them fix their issues too. I think having that visibility can improve the entire email landscape. There’s a lot of customers of ours who have gone back to their own mail servers or to their recipients’ mail servers, and we’ve seen improvements and changes in how they accept and deliver mail to their recipients. So it’s a really positive change. Just I like giving information.