How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Highlighted

How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

I recently started looking at bounced email addresses we have in our instance and have come across several email addresses that appear to be valid email addresses. I know the email addresses are valid because we have recruiters who have regular email interactions with these people using their own work email addresses. I also sent out an email to a handful of leads that have been marked invalid to see if any bounce back to me and got nothing, leading me to believe the email addresses are actually valid and accepting emails.

- How does Marketo decide when to mark an email invalid? Looking in the activity history of some of these, I'll see "Send Email" immediately followed by "Email Bounced" with Invalid Email switched to "True" shortly after that. In some of the cases there were previous emails that had been delivered and a week later a 2nd email bounced and the lead gets marked invalid.

My concern is that Marketo is marking valid email addresses as invalid. There are other post on this subject, but I wasn't able to find a good answer. Is this an issue others have faced, and, if so, how did you handle it?


JD

21 REPLIES 21
Highlighted
Level 8

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

An invalid email is one that received a 5XX bounce code, which usually means that the email is no longer valid. Yes, they look perfectly valid but let's say it's a work email address and the person left the company and now their email is disabled - it fits the schema of the email addresses but it'll get rejected. The company's email server will send back a special kind of machine-to-machine message stating the bounce code error.

One thing to remember is that bounce code reasons are set by the company, so while the number might be the same the reason syntax might be different.

If you look at this list: https://marketingtechblog.com/soft-hard-email-bounce-codes/   you'll see Hard and Soft bounces, the codes and a basic definition.

Highlighted

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Hey Robb

The email addresses I tested were personal emails, or at least '@gmail.com' and '@yahoo.com', and when I email them from a gmail account, I don't get any undeliverable messages. As far as I can tell, the email was successfully delivered. Yet, when I look in the Marketo record it says, "550 [internal] [oob] The recipient is invalid." Shouldn't I have received an undeliverable message if that were true?

Thanks for sending over that list. I've been trying to figure these out and having that makes it much easier!

JD

Highlighted

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Hi John,

Marketo determines an email is invalid in various ways:

  • When the lead is created, if the email format is not correct
  • When email is hard bounced, which is the case you are mentioning here.

But it can also come from smart campaigns that flag the "email invalid" field.

What is the email invalid cause"?

Please look at the activity log and provide the details (screenshot) of the "email Bounced" activity and that of the "email invalid"

-Greg

Highlighted
Level 8

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

(you forgot the screenshot)

Highlighted

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Hi Robb,

I am asking for it

-Greg

Highlighted

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Hi Greg

We don't have any smart campaigns that would flag that field.

When I look in the activity history of the majority of these leads, I do not see any activity for when Marketo marked the email invalid and provided the invalid cause. It just shows "Send Email" and "Email Bounced":

pastedImage_0.png

And then I can see Email Invalid and Cause under Lead Info:

pastedImage_1.png

Invalid cause says: 550-5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try 550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient's email address for typos or 550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces. Learn more at 550 5.1.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?answer=6

I am aware that company emails often become invalid when someone leaves, so I have strictly been looking at gmail and yahoo addresses. I see leads that have been receiving emails from us for months and all of the sudden one bounces and it becomes invalid.

Highlighted
Level 10 - Champion Alumni

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Marketo handles this in various scenarios. I wrote about this specific item in my Guide and I believe Marketo finally documented Email Suspended.

  • Some types of Bounces result in Email Suspended, which is a system field.
    • This holds the person's email for 24 hours with Email Suspended=T. This field does not revert even if the lead is released.
  • Some types of bounces result in Email Invalid=T
  • Many other types of bounces result in no action taken by Marketo
    • this is where you get to decide how to handle this. I've written about this a lot on the forum.
Highlighted
Level 8

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

I am aware that company emails often become invalid when someone leaves, so I have strictly been looking at gmail and yahoo addresses. I see leads that have been receiving emails from us for months and all of the sudden one bounces and it becomes invalid.

This is where having a non-identifiable email address comes in handy.  Send an email to that desired address from a personal email and see if it bounces or not.  I have about 10 email addresses....my wife was very curious about them at first until I explained that I work in email marketing and need them for numerous reasons, including testing (yeah.....testing.....).

There are a few things you can do to improve deliverability but at the end of the day every email system out there knows that the email came from Marketo, not you personally, and may have different ways of dealing with marketing automation tools. This is where DKIM / SPF / DMARC help you out a bit.  It's also possible that people gave you bogus email addresses by removing a character or two from their autofilled email address to eliminate spam. My email address is robb.barrett but I can remove one of any of my double consonants and the email looks valid but could fail.

In my opinion, you should be very conservative in who you email. If Marketo doesn't like the address for some reason or another I'd tend to believe what Marketo is suggesting unless you can prove there's a bug, in which case work through support.

Highlighted

Re: How does Marketo determine an email is invalid?

Robb hilarious!  Yeah...testing