A soft bounce will never affect the bounceback status of the client. Eloqua® will continue to attempt to send messages to these addresses.
Taken from here Joe
Chris is right,
Eloqua flag hard bounces as invalid emails. You have to define your own treshold for soft bounce.
In our company we set that treshold to 5 soft bounces. When an email bounces for the 6th time we apply the following rules.
If the domain is public (Gmail, Hotmail...) we will mark the address as a hard bounce (Invalid)
If the domain is private, we will attempt to reach these contacts via outlook. I we do not reach them we flag them as un reacheable and do not use them in our list until they perform an action that makes them reachabel again.
I hope this helps.
That's an Interesting approach Nadine. I imagine you do the marking of the public domains via filters and a program? I can see how valuable it can be to email each private domain via outlook, but that can be way too time consuming for companies within the B2B relm for example, who have a lot of private domains on their lists. I'm curious - how do you flag them as unreachable and then unflag them once they are reachable again?
We use a compination of filter and program to flag public domains. The main ones in the US are the easiest. It is more complicated in Europe and Asia. We do not reach out to each private domain individually. The program we have set up in Eloqua run continuously, we have 700K email address in our database. There is a step that generate a report for our data management specialist Every Friday. The list is just of the peolpe she has to reach manually. She has an email template she use and BCC all the contacts on the list 50 at the time (We will not split the email by diffent private domain, there are cases where we receive a domain change from the bounceback report, the process for that is different). On Monday during her normal data clean up she nornaly add the result back in Eloqua. This is a very tedious process and I really command her for that.
The win back rate is around 15% to 20%. About 80% are marked as Hard bonce at the end of the process. For us it is worth it because we are dealing with C-Level type B2B contacts.
Taking everything in account, between 78% to 93% of our soft bounceback end up being marked as Hard bounce back. Of them 12% have a duplicate active record.
I hope this will help putting this process in perspective.
This is really great information Nadine. Thank you. I'm curious how many other people are doing something like this. Until now, we've known Eloqua never hard bounce flags soft bounces and keeps trying for eternity. I guess i figured if that's how they set it up, we're good to go. Never thought of doing more on our end. Would be great to get some input from ddayman or sweeney on this. I don't think we're going to be able to do the manual private domain work like you do, but at least we can filter out the public domains and the like. Overall our bounces and deliverability are really good, and this can only improve things.
There are many reasons to audit soft bounces. They provide useful information about DNS issues, blocks, technical problems etc. We recommend that everyone audit their bounce reports at least every two weeks and take any required actions based on the data. Removing contacts that soft bounce x number of times is not explicitly required since they won't impact IP reputation and are good addresses, but this can be done at the discretion of the sender. Nadine's solution is a good approach for those who decide to go the removal route.
Thanks Sweeny. We already do the audits but not Nadine's approach - which I think is great and may be something we pursue.
I'm so glad I found this discussion! It's a very near and dear subject right now as we've just upgraded to Gold (finally) and are running an IPW project while still executing campaigns across the company (the first week is the hardest). I've been digging into our soft bounceback report and see many messages that include variations of "spam" in them.
Eloqua Support indicated that we should unsubscribe these soft bounceback records - I'm trying to figure out how we can do that w/out manually exporting/importing. Then I see Sweeney's reply above that "soft bounces won't impact IP reputation." So now I'm not sure of our next steps.
Prior to seeing this discussion, I built a program to add all "soft bounceback" status contact records to a contact group and added the contact group to the Master Exclude list. Except unfortunately, I can't see how we can filter based on the message in the soft bounceback report, so even the "mailbox is full" soft bounces are being excluded. While in IPW mode, this all works fine, but what should we do post-IPW?
Also, my deliverability dashboard includes a report that calls out "spam notification" bounceback records - which aren't automatically unsubscribed in Eloqua - so I've manually unsubscribed these contacts for now. After reviewing Eloqua's FAQ's, I'm not sure why this notification occurs vs. when a soft bounceback occurs with a variation of "spam" in the message.
Again, any advice on managing these items would be appreciated! BTW, I really like Nadine's idea above, I'm going to build it to see what the impact is on our contact management.
We are also on Gold, and the records on our spam report are unsubscribed automatically for us. I cannot remember for the life of me if we did anything different to get this set up, but you should reach out to Eloqua with that question, as well as your others. Regarding the difference between people on the spam report, and those in the bouceback records with 'spam' in the message - the people on the spam report have come via the ISP's that have feeback loops - i.e. someone clicks the spam button in their email client, and that gets reported back to Eloqua and logged in this report. The messages about spam in the bounceback report, are simply servers writing those messages - not part of the feedback loop.
I think there was some confusion and I can clear it up. You don't need to (and shouldn't) unsubscribe records that soft bounce. Those are temporary failures so there is no need to do a permanent exclude on them. You may at some point want to exclude some of them but this is not an inherent requirement. While some bounces that occur due to spam blocks will fall into the SPAM category in the bounce reporting, many will also fall into the regular Soft bounce categories.
As for the Spam Notification report in your dashboard, those are related to spam bounces, not spam complaints. The latter are the Feedback Loop (complaint) based records that Eloqua automatically excludes and reports for you in the SPAM Unsubscribe List folder.
Thank you SO MUCH for your response! Yes, I was drowning in the deliverability data available - and the word SPAM in the server messaging was sending my teams into panic attacks - but your response brought me back above water, so to speak - we now have mutliple sets of email deliverability and performance dashboards that my team monitors regularly.
Again, thank you!
Absolutely my pleasure Kristin. Glad to help.
Just wondering how you specifically counted the 5 softbounces? Are you using a cloudconnector to count to 5 or is there a counter functionality built into Eloqua I'm not aware of?
*I just wanted to close the loop on this thread as I was trying to automate what Nadine suggests and the original discussion question. I reached out to our Eloqua support manager, and this is what I got back based on our conversation.
- Create an Insight Report to look at total soft bouncebacks for a particular contact in the past year or six months
- Export the Insight Report
- If you want to set any records that have a soft bounceback of 2 times or more to hard bounceback, you can upload them with the purpose of “Mark as Hard Bounceback”
*I confirmed with him that the was the only way to do this, and he confirmed there is not a way to programatically or automatically perform this function. For us, it's not worth the effort to do a manual process, so we'll be forgoing the idea of setting soft bounces to hard bounces after a number of soft hits. He also included the information below, which provides greater details as to what Eloqua considers soft or hard bounced.
Eloqua’s Bounceback Handling Process:
Soft Bounces never convert to hard bounces. A contact will only be marked as a hard bounceback if they receive a bounceback message qualifying as a hard bounce. Overall bounceback classification works as follows:
- Eloqua checks the SMTP Reply code 421. Anything between 400 and 499 with the exception of 450 is soft.
- Eloqua Checks the error code 4.4.0. Anything with 4.*** is soft
- Eloqua checks message text against soft bounce keyword list. If a keyword is found, it's soft bounce. Everything else is hard bounce.
The only exception to this is that specific error codes generated by our mail severs will be treated as soft bounces 3 times and then the fourth occurrence will be a hard bounce. These errors usually deal with server to server connection issues and have [internal] at the beginning of the error message.