Salesforce Marketing Cloud Bounces & Statuses

As you might expect, handling email bounces and subscriber statuses is a complicated balancing act undertaken by email service providers like Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Hard bounces, soft bounces, held status, unsubscribed, undeliverable — what do these really mean?

First of all, it means that subscriber statuses are not simply active or unsubscribed, which is sometimes difficult to explain to marketers — especially when they are scrutinizing subscriber reporting and statistics. There are a couple of pages that on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud help site that outline their bounce management process. The one that I’ve found most helpful is this one:


Keep in mind that there are different kinds of unsubscribes:

  • list unsubscribe
  • master unsubscribe
  • global unsubscribe

Here is more info on that.

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AshleyAdam SpriggsJanine Phillips Recent comment authors
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Janine Phillips
Janine Phillips

Just wondering; if a ‘held’/’bounced’ subscriber’s email address is updated does marketing cloud change the subscriber status back to active?


Hello – For the contacts that I’m receiving/have received hard bounces for, I want to automatically select “Email opt out” for them in SFMC. Would you know how to automate that process? Thanks!