Bounce Management with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Editor’s note: The following post was written by Business Solutions MVP  Ramón Tébar Bueno as part of our Technical Tuesday series.

When your friend’s email address is not valid any more, you get an email back in your mailbox indicating the same. The same way, when you send an email campaign as part of your enterprise digital communications, you expect your marketing tool to provide you with a similar bounced response. This scenario is part of the bounce management mechanism implemented by email service providers and this article explains how Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM) handles these situations.

Bounce management is a fine art and it can get complicated. Email servers respond with various non-standard codes for why they won’t accept delivery. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing has got a large list of patterns to match against to determine what to do with a response. Microsoft has deliverability experts that regularly reviews received bounces and their classifications to keep those patterns matching up-to-date, so users of the application don’t have to worry about it.

Let’s say we have prepared an Email Marketing Message for 15k customers to be sent at 02.00 pm. Once we click the “Send” button, MDM syncs the data to the Email Marketing scale group which then sends the emails. Everything sent will have a timestamp around 02.00 pm (it could be a few minutes past depending on how big the list is). Now comes the variable part: delivery and bounce records.

Outbound servers are normally quite fast and anything immediately deliverable will be delivered (email arrives to destination mailbox) and have delivery timestamps close to the 02.00 pm timestamp. However, there are still 2 types of emails remaining that haven’t been yet delivered:

  • Hard bounces: permanent failures provoked by well-known errors such as no user at the domain, domain doesn't exist, the recipient email server has completely blocked delivery, etc. Most of these records will be timestamp close to 02.00 pm.
  • Soft bounces: temporary failures caused by different reasons such as mailbox full, routing issues, email servers are busy, block bounces (emails flagged as spam), etc. These emails will normally take between 1 and 24 hours to be delivered, or 48 hours after today in the worst case. During that period, MDM will continue to try every hour. If the record cannot be delivered, it will be marked as soft bounce. If the same record is classified as soft bounce 5 times in 6 months, then it is converted to hard bounce.

For more information related to this topic, you can read the next articles: Track email send status and Analyze the performance of email marketing Ramon

About the author

Ramon is a software engineer specialized on Microsoft Technologies with experience in large projects for different industrial sectors as developer, consultant and architect. He enjoys designing and developing software applications and is interested in design patterns, new technologies and best practices. Making those part of the ALM process is a great challenge. During the last years, he has specialized in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. He customizes and extends the platform to provide tailored solutions and integrations based on service-oriented architectures and messages queuing. Motivated by community events and a contributor in blogs, technical books, open source projects and forums, he’s been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) on Dynamics CRM since 2012.