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3 min read

📧Painful Email Lessons HubSpot Global Bounces

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A cornerstone of our business is enabling our customers by working side-by-side while they learn to take the wheels of their HubSpot implementation. Last week, the student became the teacher. One of my favorite client Marketing Ops Admins informed me that "HubSpot Global Bounces" are not included in the Email Hard Bounce field in Hubspot. I said, "Girl. No way." 

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Way. So, ignore this post for those who haven't been arm-wrestling with Google and Yahoo over email results for the last two months. But for any psycho emailers who want to understand every nuance of what is going on with email in your HubSpot, please read on. HubSpot email technical proficiency required to understand this post is HIGH.

First, why does it matter? In a way, it doesn't because HubSpot won't ever let you email to global bounces, unsubscribes or regular bounces, so you will always be safe. But global bounces will drive you crazy because they aren't called out as a field in HubSpot the way unsubscribes and bounces are. What is a HubSpot Global Bounce? Global bounces are contacts bounced with a permanent reason (such as an unknown user or mailbox full) across three or more HubSpot accounts. They cannot be unbounced and are excluded from future email sends in all HubSpot accounts.

In HubSpot, as a best practice, we automatically sweep, using a workflow, unsubscribes and bounces into a permanent "do not email list," which we use as a natural suppression list to pull emails out of our lists, so we know exactly how many good emails we have. Marketers ALWAYS want to know exactly how many good emails they have. 

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What drives us marketing ops admins a little batty (and we admit we are OCD as a group), is that when we use a perfect list that has been scrubbed of our bad emails, HubSpot will say it can only mail to a hypothetical 497 of the 500 on the list. We scratch our heads and move on. Or I have been doing that for six years. I have never considered what happened to the three missing emails. 

My marketing admin colleague decided that the theoretical THREE emails not mailed to was unacceptable and went deep into HubSpot to find out why. She discovered this LONG thread in HubSpot Communities where marketers BEG HubSpot to add a simple property called "HubSpot Global Bounce" to get those unmarketable emails off their lists. In the OLD days, when you paid for the number of contacts, this hidden global bounce group mattered. Now with HubSpot Marketing Contacts, it doesn't matter as much, but it could cost you money if you mistakenly classified your HubSpot Global Bounces as good marketing contacts because that is what they looked like to you.

HubSpot Global Bounce 1

I decided to test this for myself. Does HubSpot allow you to have contacts lying around that you can't select as being bad contacts because there is no field called HubSpot Global Bounce? Let me jump to the answer: um, yep.

I went into a client portal with over 500,000 contacts. I executed an export of the global bounces, a hidden HubSpot feature buried in the email functionality. Not obvious in the HubSpot navigation: Marketing | Email | Email tools | Export contacts who have unsubscribed or bounce | "check" Include global bounces and unsubscribes.

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After I exported the list, I had something like this:

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I created a property in HubSpot:

And then uploaded only the emails that had Global Bounce = TRUE into the checkbox property. Here are the results:

  • 517,273 contacts in this portal
  • 22,154 or 4% were HubSpot Global Bounces
  • 5.235 or 24% of the HubSpot Global Bounces appear to be "good records" in this portal and are part of their marketing contacts

Process change for Orange Marketing:

  1. From this point forward, in all new portals, when we migrate their existing email lists into HubSpot, we will create a property called "HubSpot Global Bounce" and then check the migrated email list for global bounces to populate the property and include in our email suppression list.
  2. We recommend that the customer run through the procedure in this blog post about once a quarter to move the HubSpot Global Bounces out of the way if they frequently bring in trade show lists and the like. 

Mind blown. 😡 Said the client, "Add it to the HubSpot list of shame improvements." I said, "This is gonna be a blog post."

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