Delete contacts who have unsubscribed or hard bounced

Last updated: June 28, 2019

To remove outdated and unengaged contacts, you'll first export contacts who have bounced, unsubscribed, or moved your emails to their junk folder. You can then review the export to make sure you're removing the correct contacts. Then import these contacts to create a static list of contacts to delete from your account. Learn more about how to keep your contact lists up to date based on their original source.

Export Bounced contacts and Contacts that reported spam

First, you'll export a list of contacts who hard bounced or marked one of your marketing emails as spam.

  • In your HubSpot account, navigate to Marketing > Email.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click the More tools dropdown menu and select Export unsubscribes and bounces.
  • Review the email address set to receive the export file.
  • To include global bounces (recommended), select the Include global bounce and unsubscribes checkbox.
  • In the dialog box, click X next to Unsubscribed contacts to remove them from your Included contacts.
  • Click Export.



Export Unsubscribed contacts separately

Next, export all contacts who have unsubscribed from emails. This export includes contacts who unsubscribed from any of your email subscription types, along with contacts who opted out of all email. Since some of these contacts could be eligible to receive other marketing emails in the future, you'll need to filter this list before deleting your ineligible contacts.

  • In the left sidebar menu, click the More tools dropdown menu and select Export unsubscribes and bounces.
  • Confirm the email address set to receive the export file.
  • In the dialog box, click X next to Bounced contacts and Contacts that reported spam to remove them from your Included contacts.
  • Click Export.


Review your Bounced contacts and Contacts that reported spam data

Columns in the export file

You'll receive an email with a download link to the export file. The following columns will be included in the export:

Review bounce reasons in your export file

Contacts who hard bounced will show one of the following bounce classifications in the Portal Bounce or Global Bounce columns. Learn more about hard bounces.

Please note: if you see a blank field in the Global Bounce or Portal Bounce column, this means the email address hard bounced for a permanent reason, but the categorization type is not available. 

  • UNKNOWN_USER: a server response indicating that the email address is currently a non-existent address. This happens when a contact leaves a company and their inbox is taken down or if there is a typo in the email address.
  • MAILBOX_FULL: if an inbox fills to capacity, it generally means this it's an abandoned email account that was never officially closed out.
  • CONTENT: something in the email body or subject triggered spam filters. Learn more about spam trigger words.
  • SPAM: something in the body, subject, or From address of the email that is classified as spam by the recipient’s email server. This category is different from CONTENT because there was something specific about the recipient's email filter or the From address that caused the server to categorize the message as SPAM.
  • POLICY: the email did not pass one of the security policies of the recipient's server, but it is not explicit about which one. This includes DMARC; DKIM, and SPF authentication failures.
  • ISP_CONFI: the email was rejected by the recipient's server for a permanent reason. This may be the result of an invalid recipient address or a very strict email security filter.
  • Missing category: the issue was not necessarily email bounces, but related to unsubscribe requests or spam reports. HubSpot will not send to these individuals again.
  • UNCATEGORIZED: the response from the recipient's email server wasn't specific enough to categorize the bounce.
  • HUBSPOT_GLOBAL_BOUNCE: an email hard bounced for permanent reasons across three or more HubSpot accounts.

Review your Unsubscribed contacts data

Contacts who have not opted out of all email are still eligible to receive future marketing emails from your account. These contacts will have a value of FALSE in the Portal Unsubscribe column.

Columns in the export file

The following columns will be included in the Unsubscribed contacts export:

Portal Unsubscribe: if a contact unsubscribed from all marketing emails sent from your account, you'll see a value of TRUE in this column. Contacts who opted out of a specific email subscription type but didn't opt out of all emails from you will have a value of FALSE in this column.

Email subscription types: if a contact opted out of a specific email subscription type, you'll see a value of TRUE in the corresponding column. By default, all accounts have a Marketing Information email subscription type and blog subscription emails for each blog in your account.

Filter your export data

In your excel spreadsheet, filter out any contacts who have a value of FALSE in the Portal Unsubscribe column and delete them from your spreadsheet. These are contacts who opted out of a specific email subscription type, but did not opt out of all marketing email.

  • In the upper left, click the cell in the header row to select all data.
  • In the toolbar across the top, click the filter icon. If you're not sure how to use filters in the software tool you're using to view the exported file, check out their support documentation.
  • Click the Portal Unsubscribes column header to apply a filter, then deselect the TRUE and blank values. This will filter out any contacts who opted out of all marketing emails.
  • Highlight the remaining eligible contacts to select them, then delete these rows from your spreadsheet.
  • Click the filter icon to remove all filters applied to your data. Now your spreadsheet only contains contacts who opted out of all your marketing emails.


Combine your exported data

Now that both your files only contain contacts you want to remove, you can combine them into one list to delete from your account.

  • Copy all the contacts remaining in your Unsubscribed contacts spreadsheet.
  • Paste these contacts at the bottom of your existing spreadsheet of contacts who hard bounced or reported spam.


Delete contacts who hard bounced, reported spam, or unsubscribed from all emails

Please note: importing a list with a large number of contacts that previously hard bounced may result in a warning email from the Email Deliverability team about the quality of these contacts. This is an automated process and will not have any negative impact on your account.

  • In the list, select the checkbox in the header row to select all of the contacts on the first page of your list.
  • Click Select all [number of contacts] to select all contacts in the list.


  • Click the More dropdown menu, then select Delete