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Double Opt-in Vs Single Opt-in: Which one is better?

If you are a marketer, there is no doubt in my mind that at some point in the past, you’ve compared single opt-in vs double opt-in. This is a dilemma that comes up more often than one might think.

But before we go forward with this discussion, it is good to point out that email marketing is not dead. In fact, it is still one of the most effective channels to get sales and engage with your prospects. They need to subscribe to your email list before you can engage with them and this is where double vs single opt-in comes into play.

Before we dive into the comparison of double and single opt-in email marketing, we want to give a heads up that you should use either of the process that makes sense for your business. Now let’s look at what each of these does.


What is Double Opt-in?

double opt-in vs single opt-in

Double opt-in is when subscribers sign up to your email list with a form, then get an email with a link they must click in order to confirm that they want to get emails from you.

This is a confirmation email. When double opt-in is enabled, subscribers must confirm, or they won’t get added to your mailing list. Once confirmed you can easily set up email automation for your subscribers to drive maximum results.

What is Single Opt-in?

Single opt-in is when users sign up via a form and are immediately added to your email list. There is no need for further verification, and they will start getting your emails right away.

But which one is better? There is much debate on this so let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of each.

According to a research study done by Litmus, this is what marketers think about this discussion.


double opt-in vs single opt-in

Benefits of Double Opt-in

  • Higher engagement: The largest benefit of double opt-in is that it results in higher engagement. If a user has to confirm twice before you put them on your list, they are more likely to engage with your content, and this will result in higher open and click rates in the future. Engagement is everything in today’s digital world.
  • Less likely to be marked spam: Since the user has to confirm to be on your list, they are also less likely to report your emails as spam in the future and therefore helping your deliverability.
  • Accurate subscriber data: Since you have a double opt-in, you have a more accurate count of interested subscribers which saves time and money by not sending to uninterested or even fake users.

Drawbacks of Double Opt-in

  • Longer sign up process: As with anything in the digital world, a longer flow lowers the chances of someone completing the sign-up process
  • Lost interested subscribers: Some people will simply forget to confirm the link in their email even if it interests them . So, this will result in lost subscribers.
  • Slow list growth: Double opt-in grows your list slower, but isn’t quality more important?

Benefits of Single Opt-in

  • Quick list growth - Since this only requires one sign up on the form, your list grows much quicker.
  • Less annoying for users - Since they only have to subscribe once, there is less garbage for them to plow through. Therefore, a genuinely interested person might prefer a single opt-in since there is less steps for them to take.

Drawbacks of Single Opt-in

  • Deliverability issues - There is a much higher risk of a user marking your email as spam and therefore it can hurt your email deliverability in the long run. It’s simpler to mark something as spam than to actually unsubscribe, in case they change their mind.
  • Mistyped email addresses - with single opt-in, a mistyped email address will end up in your list since they do not have to confirm, and this will result in higher bounce rate and deliverability issues, and therefore hurt you in the long run.
  • Higher costs - Email providers either charge you per email sent, the number of subscribers on your list, or both. This, in turn, results in higher costs for unwanted users.

In conclusion, which one is better?

double opt-in vs single opt-in
*image is taken from litmus.com

This is a question you need to ask yourself by weighing up the costs and benefits of each approach. One thing to mention is the legality of how you should be gathering your list and the kind of legal cushion you want to have. Some countries make it mandatory to use double opt-in, others do not.

In my opinion, the quality of your list matters the most and therefore, at Orion, we apply double opt-in structures for all of our event clients.

Manno Notermans

Manno is a wanderer of the world looking to make an impact and change the world for the better. He has over 10 years of experience working in various marketing positions. Manno’s main focus the past few years has been accelerating the growth of businesses, increasing revenue, and profit with out-of-box creative ideas and implementations.